• CollegeLCF
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)
  • UCAS codeW233

BA (Hons) Fashion Contour

BA (Hons) Fashion Contour is concerned with the design, pattern cutting and making of bras, lingerie, intimate apparel, underwear, swimwear and structured bodywear.

About this course

BA (Hons) Fashion Contour nurtures creativity, embraces technology, celebrates innovative approaches to contour design and ensures that after completing the course, graduates can continue to pursue their own entrepreneurial aspirations and engage in an increasing variety of graduate destinations within the contour and wider fashion industries.

The course covers the design, pattern cutting, fitting, grading and making of bras, lingerie, intimate apparel, underwear, swimwear and structured bodywear and shapewear. Fashion Contour is one of a group of fashion product courses, all of which are designed and delivered with employment, in the relevant industry, in mind. To this end, you will study a range of units that will equip you with the relevant professional, research, communication and business skills, and undertake live projects set by industry where there will be presentations to and from the companies involved.

Watch the BA17 catwalk film, featuring work by students from across our fashion design courses.

Model in white corset in front of window
Contour garments by Amelia Firth-Waugh

Amelia Firth-Waugh, BA Fashion Contour 2015

Model with orange hair in corset
Work by Sarah Vyse, BA Contour 2015

Sarah Vyse, BA Fashion Contour 2015

Model facing away from camera holding her hair up, wearing blue silk lingerie camisole.

Ffion Way, BA Fashion Contour 2015

Model with horse

Sian O'Neill, BA Fashion Contour 2015

Contour class at Curtain Road

Facilities

Course detail

This course is subject to revalidation. Revalidation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During revalidation there may be some changes to course content. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

Recently students in the second year have worked on a variety of projects with leading contour designers including Fleur of England, La Perla, Coco de Mer, Chromat NY and leading French lace manufacturer Sophie Hallette. Students but also work with leading high street brands including Debenhams, H&M, Victoria's Secret, Triumph International and Speedo. You will have the option of doing a placement year between the second and final year of the course. Successful completion of this year will give you an additional qualification, and you will have the opportunity to make contacts and build relationships within the industry before the end of your studies. Students undertake placements in the UK with companies including Agent Provocateur, Bordelle, Fleur of England, Lascivious, Pistol Panties, Paulita, Jenny Packham, Marks and Spencer, Aura, Debenhams, Ace Style, AJM Sewing, ELai, Reckless Wolf, Playful Promises, Olivia Van Halle, Nicole de Carle, Sweaty Betty, Vollers Corsets, Harlow and Fox, and Holloway Smith Noir, as well as placements with International brands including Tommy Hilfiger, La Perla, Chromat, Lulu Lemon, and Lambert and Partners.

This course focuses on producing graduates who are encouraged to make an innovative and visionary contribution to the fashion contour sector of the fashion industry, and you will acquire the creative, strategic and practical skills to succeed. Students also have the opportunity to take part in a variety of external competitions including The Link Award at MarediModa in Cannes, the ASOS print design competition, ASBCI Student Innovation Award, SET Enterprise Challenge and Playful Promises Lingerie Design Competition.

Course structure

Year one  -  stage one  -  level 4  -  120 credits 

Term one: Introduction to Fashion Contour (20 credits); Product Technologies (20 credits)

Term two: Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies Options (20 credits);Product Creativity and Communication (20 credits)

Term three: Product Design and Development (40 credits);

 

Year two  -  Stage two  -  level 5  -  120 credits

Term one: Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Creative Professional Practice (20 credits)

Term two: Research Methods (20 credits); Creative Industry Practice (20 credits)

Term three: Industry Project (40 credits)

 

Professional placement year (optional)

Diploma in Professional Studies

 

Final year  -  stage three  -  level 6  -  120 credits

Term one: Concept Development (40 credits)

Terms one, two and three: Contextualising Your Practice (20 credits)

Terms two and three: Product Design and Realisation (60 credits)

Students on this course might be invited to participate in study trips. This may involve, for example, visits to key areas of capital cities, factories, stores and museums. Attendance on these trips is not compulsory but recommended. Details regarding timings and costs will be issued closer to the relevant trips.

Course units

Year one

In the first term you will study two units.

Introduction to Fashion Contour has three core purposes:

  • to introduce you to learning at undergraduate level;
  • to orientate you within your course, the College and the University;
  • to induct you into the specific practices and knowledge base of your discipline.

The unit will enable you to acquire and improve your skills, understanding and approaches to learning that underpin your studies in Stage 1, in your course as a whole, and beyond. Emphasis is placed on the skills needed to locate, navigate and communicate information effectively and appropriately. You will be introduced to resources that support your studies.

Product Technologies will introduce you to the essential skills required for the development and production of fashion contour products. You will learn about materials, pattern cutting, construction methods, production techniques and prototyping skills, as well as the essential knowledge regarding health and safety requirements.

In the second term you will study two units.

Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces you to key concepts and ways of thinking about fashion and its context in society and culture. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops, and do a significant amount of reading of academic texts in order to complete a formal academic essay for assessment.  Completion of this unit will allow you to make an informed choice of subject for study in the second year Cultural and Historical Studies unit.

Product Creativity and Communication explores the creative design process and introduces a series of practical skills including research, finding inspiration, initial ideas, design development of fashion contour ideas, design development, design finalisation, drawing skills and presentation skills. You will learn the essential skills of visually and verbally communicating your work to others. 

In the third term you will bring all your learning and developed skills so far, to answering a complete research, design, development and making brief for fashion contour. Through the Product Design and Development unit you will begin to develop your understanding of the industry, fashion trends, fabrics for fashion contour, market levels, consumer behaviour, competitors and relevant ethical issues. Some of your research will be undertaken in small groups, as successful team working skills are essential for working in industry. You will also be developing one 2D design into a final 3D prototype.

Year two

In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies option of your choice that will broaden or deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.

The Creative Professional Practice unit introduces you to the wider context of the fashion industry and the study of design and development for a specified market. It explores areas that affect the development of a product, such as sustainable and ethical sourcing, costing and the environments in which the product will be consumed. You will have the opportunity to engage within an industrial context through forward thinking creative responses to the project brief.

In the second term the Research Methods unit allows you to explore and experiment with different critical and methodological approaches to research, as well as looking at the range of established research methods and research within design and technology. You will learn more about primary and secondary sources and how they relate, ways of originating and developing research, and appropriate methodologies for your discipline. You will also become aware of any limitations, and this will enable you to choose the most appropriate research method for a particular project. This prepares you for later projects where research skills are needed by helping you explore what research you need to do, how you will be doing it and how you will manage and evaluate the process.

The Creative Industry Practice unit tests your critical thinking and broadens your professional skills set. You will develop your creative, strategic and practical skills through traditional and IT based development with visual and written work. Your critical judgement will be used to develop appropriate solutions to the brief and you will be expected to evaluate and justify your decisions as you develop your outcomes.

In the third term the Industry Project unit gives you the opportunity to consolidate your understanding of the research methods you have learnt by responding to live or simulated industry-set challenges. Your knowledge and professional understanding of the product design and development process will be enhanced, and you will combine creative, practical, intellectual and entrepreneurial skills within an industrial context to answer the brief.

The work throughout the second year is focussed on live projects with national and international companies and brands, and you may have the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Triumph Inspiration Awards, and the Lingerie Insight/Lingerie Collective competition. Recent industry collaborations have included the V&A and English National Ballet, Speedo, Ellesse, Gilly Hicks, a division of Abercrombie and Fitch, and Sophie Hallett, the French company that supplied the lace for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. In 12-13, student projects included shapewear with Marks and Spencer, ‘contour for couture’ with Sophie Hallett, and maternity bras with Debenhams.

Professional placement year

This year is optional. If you take up this opportunity you will undertake a 30-week industrial placement, where you get to experience the atmosphere, pace and discipline of working within the fashion contour industry by total involvement in the day to day activities of a company. You will be required to write a report on your placement, which will develop your study skills and allow you to demonstrate your research, analytical and evaluative skills. Successful completion of the year will give you the additional qualification of a Diploma in Professional Studies. LCF Careers will run a preparatory programme before your placement, and you will be expected to be involved in securing a suitable placement for your own personal development, skill set and career aspirations.

Students undertake placements in the UK with companies including: Agent Provocateur, Myla, Bordelle, Fleur of England, Lascivious, Pistol Panties, Paolita, Jenny Packham, Marks & Spencer, Aura, Debenhams, Ace Style, AJM Sewing, eLai, Reckless Wolf, Playful Promises, Olivia Van Halle, Nicole de Carle, Sweaty Betty, Vollers Corsets, Harlow and Fox, Holloway Smith Noir.

Final year

In the first term you will undertake the Concept Development unit which provides the foundation from which you will be able to formulate your own innovative and enterprising project and strategy for the major piece of fashion contour product design and development work that you will do in the final two terms. This work will be industrially relevant and informed by appropriate research. This unit allows you to explore and justify the means by which this work can be realised, and will demonstrate to the industry your direction and potential career path.

Contextualising Your Practice in the first and second term affords you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the critical and analytical perspectives developed within cultural and historical theory and your ability to apply these in a specific study. You will research the topic you identified in the Research Methods unit, which will lead to the production of an extended essay. It is the opportunity for you to undertake a substantial piece of structured research that examines in depth practical and theoretical issues related to your field of practice; it will build on the critical debates and concerns raised throughout your course.

In terms two and three the Product Design and Realisation unit is the culmination of your study through an extended negotiated project. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to utilise concept development outcomes through using research and experimentation to achieve the design development, experimentation, rationale and production of your own range of fashion contour garments. You will evidence full engagement with your responsibilities as a designer/product developer, together with an understanding of where your work will best fit within the fashion contour industry.

Showing your work

All students are advised to set up a profile on portfolio.arts.ac.uk, UAL’s new portfolio platform, which can be done at any point during your time at LCF and will last for up to 12 months after graduation. This platform is often used to source student work for promotional use on the website, social media and for print and can be a great way of getting your work seen. You may also be asked to have a portfolio profile for the selection process when it comes to degree shows.

Staff

Catherine Fuller, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Contour

We are all passionate about Contour and our enthusiasm for what we teach is one of the nicest things that our students say about us. Contour is a specialist industry sector, and over the past three years we have built up some fantastic contacts within the industry.

Catherine Fuller, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Contour

Catherine Fuller is the joint Course Leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Contour and is a graduate of LCF. She returned to the College after a varied career in contour, lingerie and fashion design. She has worked for Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom and Macy’s in the US, and for several leading lingerie labels in the UK, specialising in design, brand development, sourcing, buying and technical development. Her own brand Outrageous Fortune was stocked Internationally. Catherine also developed specialist ranges of corsetry, plus size lingerie, swimwear and also post mastectomy lingerie and nightwear. Catherine is currently working on her MA In Learning and Teaching in Art and Design at the Learning and Teaching Exchange at University of the Arts London and has varied research interests.

Nicola Johnson joined LCF as joint Course Leader for Fashion Contour after a successful high profile career working in design, brand development and trend forecasting in the intimates industry. After graduating from Nottingham Trent University, Nicola worked for Corah, Delta and, most recently, as Intimates Design Director for Courtaulds UK where she managed the lingerie team working on the M&S account.

Claudine Rousseau is the Programme Director and a graduate of LCF. She has worked in the fashion industry for over twenty years, initially as a womenswear designer overseas and then as a design interpreter, both for an innovative design consultancy and as a freelancer. Brands she has worked with include PUMA, Hussein Chalayan, Adidas, Levi’s, Nike ACG. Claudine currently collaborates on projects with Rapha Cycling and Christopher Raeburn. Her research interests encompass how clothing can enhance performance, both professionally and recreationally, from both physiological and psychological perspectives.

Linda Wing, Year One Technical Tutor and Senior Contour Technician, has been a key member of the Contour teaching team since the launch of the course seven years ago. Another LCF graduate, Linda has had a career in the contour, nightwear and swimwear industries, and continues to work in the industry as a designer and technician.

Linda Taylor is Year Two Technical Tutor. After graduating from LCF, Linda embarked on a varied career in the contour industry working for brands including Gossard and Shock Absorber and has also had her own company supplying leading high street retailers. She continues to work as a contour designer and technician and has taught on the course for seven years.

Eva Lai is Design Tutor and Contour Specialist Technician. After graduating from BA (Hons) Fashion Contour at LCF in 2012, Eva launched her own brand eLai, and continues to work with a variety of clients as a freelance designer and technician. She works on the course as a design tutor and specialist contour technician.

Lynsey Allison is Design and Technical Tutor. After graduating from De Montfort University, Lynsey worked as Brand Manager for Elomi swimwear. Lynsey works with students across all year groups and is a specialist in grading for contour and plus size lingerie and swimwear.

Jasbinder Jhumat is Specialist Contour Technician and Technical Tutor After working for Courtaulds Lingerie as a sample room technician for several years, Jas joined the Contour team and works with all years in sample room and technical development sessions.

Rob Phillips is the Creative Director for the School of Design and Technology. Trained in fashion womenswear, surface textiles: print, menswear and illustration Rob went on to become the Fashion Editor for International Textiles magazine and consultant for fashion brands. Rob's broad skill set of fashion design, process, graphics, presentation, typography, advertising and communication led to his appointment as Creative Director of Fashion Forecast magazine, where his progressive work promoting young fashion talent garnered him much acclaim from industry. Rob continues to nurture talent at LCF across all courses within the School, teaching holistically about fashion, developing the students’ full potential so they can make their unique contribution to the fashion industry. He furthers the work of the College through many routes, including industry projects, collaborations and competitions. He also curates and directs the School’s events including fashion shows, films, photoshoots, publications and exhibitions. Rob continues to contribute to industry as a fashion commentator (BBC, The Guardian, SHOWstudio and more) and as creative consultant for fashion brands.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

Home / EU applicants

This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.

Applications are now open for 2018/19 entry.

You must apply through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • UCAS code: W233

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS home page, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.

Contact us on: 

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7344

Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form

Please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.

International applicants

This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.

Applications are now open for 2018/19 entry.

International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:

Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.

If applying through UCAS, you will need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • UCAS code: W233

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.

We continue to accept applications throughout the year, but please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page or contact the UAL admissions team who can answer any specific questions that you may have regarding LCF's courses tailored for international students. This can include guidance for your portfolio, advice on the application process and fee advice. We offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for applicants who may be in London and wish to obtain further course and admissions information. 

Entry requirements

Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • Two A Level Passes at Grade C or above; preferred subjects include English, Maths, Art, Design, Textiles and Science;
  • or a Pass Foundation Diploma in Art and Design;
  • or a Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma Art & Design;
  • or a Pass at UAL Extended Diploma;
  • or Access Diploma or ’64 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma;
  • or 64 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 160 old UCAS tariff points) from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification;
  • or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications;
  • And three GCSE passes at grade A*-C.

Exceptionally, applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

This course requires portfolio evidence, and you will be asked to complete a short written answer to a question relating to issues in the fashion industry if you are selected to attend an interview.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill.

Please visit the UAL Language Requirements page. Read carefully and look at the relevant documents.                          

Student selection criteria

What we look for

The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:

  • A current awareness of fashion contour in terms of material developments, new designers and fashion trends
  • A potential to achieve a high standard of technical manufacture
  • An ability to record and develop design ideas through the vehicle of drawing
  • The ability to work as a member of a team
  • The ability to work independently to develop your own knowledge and skills acquired on the course

This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement, a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

Portfolio and interview advice

For this course you will be required to upload a mini portfolio. Further instructions will be sent by the course administrator after application submission. International students should contact the International Office at lcf.international@arts.ac.uk to find out about the portfolio application process.

For this course your portfolio should show evidence of: ability to present ideas through visual communication; a level of research, experimentation and development; technical and practical abilities; and effective presentation techniques.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following at interview: an awareness of contemporary fashion and culture; an understanding of research, design, design development and product realisation; a motivation for working in the fashion contour industry; and a motivation to succeed on the course.

What happens next

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and What we look for sections.

Depending on the quality of your application, you may be asked to submit a number of images of your work. If the course team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to an interview where the course team will look at your portfolio and ask you questions to establish your suitability for the course. If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to upload work, nor are they guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend, the College may not be able to re-schedule.

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through ucastrack. You will only receive further communication directly from the College if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry is normally only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before you submit your application if you are considering applying for deferred entry.

Interview week

Applicants on some courses may be invited to attend an Interview. Further details will be sent to you with your interview letter, confirming location and date. International applicants should contact the Admission Office by emailing lcf.international@arts.ac.uk about portfolio requirements (if applicable), interview times and dates.

Potential changes to course structure

Please note: the information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course. Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year. In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please use the enquiry form above.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250

This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£19,350

This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Developing your skills

All of our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry.

Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.

Career paths

Many graduates prefer to seek employment as soon as they have completed their undergraduate studies. For the last three years our graduates have been awarded postgraduate placements at La Perla in Bologna. Graduates from this course are working for a number of prestigious companies, including Playful Promises, Best Pacific ( China) Concepts Paris, Tesco, F&F and Agent Provocateur.