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Fashion Design

Fashion Design aims to educate students to become professional practitioners in the field of fashion and related industries. Students are encouraged to have an awareness of fashion in its social and cultural context and to bring that understanding to their work. The department places great value on its industry and professional links that give students an insight into real-world commercial requirements. Emphasis is placed on developing informed, creative designers, who are prepared for the needs of industry.

What will I study?

As a Fashion Design student you will learn about the design process as it applies to the fashion industry. Elements covered include visual research, drawing, design process, fashion design, knitwear design, pattern cutting, garment construction, illustration presentation, manufacturing techniques and market research. There is a focus on understanding fashion in context and students will undertake field research, trend analysis, customer profiling and branding within a wide range of contexts for the fashion industry. There is opportunity to link with industry partners on live collaborative projects. Students will also be able to develop links with historical fashion and material culture through the practical application of visual culture research.

Year 1

The first year experience for BA students at NCAD begins with a foundational semester of interdisciplinary Art and Design creative practice and research. In the second semester all Design students undertake projects spent within selected design programmes. This is to give you a working taste of your chosen discipline and/or those that you are interested in and would benefit from experiencing. The second half of Semester 2 introduces students to key processes and practices in your chosen design discipline, encouraging the creative and critical development of a personal practice and introducing fundamental disciplinary design and technical methods.

Year 2

The focus in the second year is on developing a personal visual language and the skills necessary to translate this into successful fashion design practice. You will also focus on researching and defining a specific audience and developing a market understanding through professional practice.

Year 3: Studio+ & International

Studio+ is an optional year open to all Design students allowing you to engage with the world beyond NCAD by gaining practical work experience in the form of working within the NCAD Design Bureau on live commercial, social or community projects and/or undertaking approved internships and industry placements. Studio+ can also include a work placement abroad or a study abroad experience through the Erasmus programme with internationally recognised art and design faculties partnered with NCAD.

Students who choose Studio+ will complete a 4 year BA in Fashion Design or a 4 year BA Fashion Design (International).

Final Year

In the final year students are ready to develop their own programme of study which reflects each individual’s skills and interests within fashion design. This will culminate in a substantial body of work for assessment and display at the Graduate Showcase, exhibitions and events. Each year is supported by a series of lectures by leading creative practitioners and theorists, collaborative interdisciplinary opportunities, live industry projects, field trips and study visits.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment throughout the programme, in both your studio practice and in Critical Cultures, will be on a continuous basis, at the end of each completed module and at the end of each semester (half-year). Formal assessment results will be issued at the end of each academic year. Year 1 See page 36-38 for details on the first year curriculum. Year 2 The focus in the second year is on developing a personal visual language and the skills necessary to translate this into successful fashion design practice. You will also focus on researching and defining a specific audience and developing a market understanding through professional practice. Modes of assessment will include practical and written assignments, oral and visual presentations, portfolios and exhibitions.

Critical Cultures

A key component of your curriculum in every year is the study of Critical Cultures. This is where you study the connections between history, theory and practice in modern and contemporary contexts in order to become a critically engaged, reflective and effective practitioner.
Find out more

Opportunities after graduation

As a consequence of the range of skills acquired, Fashion Design graduates from NCAD can be found in all areas of the fashion industry. The programme provides graduates with the knowledge and skill to design and make collections, either independently or as part of a team in design studios. As well as designing in-house for international designer brands, graduates work globally at all levels of the industry, from performance sportswear to major international high-street brands. Some have set up their own design/manufacturing business. Others have diversified into specialist areas such as knitwear, illustration, menswear, children’s wear, millinery, footwear design, accessory design, design management, journalism, fashion teaching, fashion styling, retail, merchandising, buying, forecasting, and costume design for film, theatre and television. Increasingly, graduates progress to further study at postgraduate level to refine their creative abilities and approach. The School of Design offers a range of innovative masters programmes, as well as a practice-based PhD programme.

Fashion Design

BA Fashion Design
NFQ Level 8

3 or 4 Years


Course code/s:
A211 Fashion Design
AD101 First Year Art and Design (Common Entry)

Entry Requirements:
Leaving Cert: 6 subjects, 2xH5 and 4xO6/H7
Subjects must include Irish, English and one of the following: a third language or Art or Design & Communication Graphics (DCG)

QQI/FETAC: Level 5 or Level 6:
5 Distinctions, Full Award

A Level/GCSE: 2x A Levels at C+ and 4x GCSE Ordinary or AS level
Subjects to include English and Art or a second language

Portfolio Requirement:
Portfolio submission by Friday 7th February 2024 in line with NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines. For further details please go to:

Degree awarded:
BA Fashion Design/BA Fashion Design (with Critical Cultures)
BA Fashion Design (International)

Find out more on the Critical Cultures Pathway
Find out more about Studio+