Textiles is an increasingly popular area of Art & Design. This two year course encourages a creative approach to textile design with some emphasis on Fashion, covering the creative, commercial and technical aspects of the industry.
Many former students have gone on to build successful careers in the Fashion industry and this A Level is designed to give students a head start.
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Some students might opt to combine the Textiles A Level with courses such as A Level/BTEC Business or A Level Economics and move into a business field with a fashion element. Other students select subjects such as English and Media with the aim of pursuing a career in journalism or creative media.
All students enjoy the hands-on nature of the course and appreciate the contrast to more academic subjects.
Students can use their portfolio of work developed during the course to assist them in applying for Art Foundation Courses or for Fashion related degrees such as:
- Textile Design
- Fashion Design
- Fashion Buying
- Interior Design
- Fashion Management, Marketing & Communication
Apprenticeships are also a popular route for those students not wanting to go to university. In previous years, Reigate College Textiles students have successfully applied to the Arcadia Group to work as Merchandisers (while gaining retail-related qualifications at the Fashion Retail Academy).
This course encourages a creative approach to Textile Design with some emphasis on Fashion. During the first year students will work on between three and five assignments, each one exploring a different aspect of Textiles, including:
- Working in 2D and 3D media
- Mastering practical skills such as pattern cutting, garment design and construction, drawing, photography and illustration. Fabric printing is taught alongside creative explorative workshops in traditional and new technologies
- Working with media and materials, learning textile techniques and processes
- Understanding elements of textile design such as shape, line, scale, pattern and composition
- Exploring other designers’ work and ideas
- Examining major historical design styles and movements
- Looking at the socio-economic influences on fashion, such as street culture and social media
- Considering textiles from a commercial perspective
Students are expected to evaluate and assess their own work throughout the course.
In the spring of the second year, students will focus on a specialist area. This could be as broad-ranging as Textile Design, Menswear Design, Womenswear, Millinery, Contour Design, Costume Design, Fine Art Textiles or Surface Pattern Design, Interior Design, Fashion Illustration and Photography. All of these specialisms will need to have a strong focus and connection with textile design.
One of the best outcomes of this course is the rich and varied portfolio of work that students will have to show at interview.
See some of our students’ recent work in the photo gallery.
Textiles students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In recent years, these have included:
- Trips to art and fashion exhibitions in London, Brighton and Graduate Fashion week
- Residential Art and Media trips to New York, Paris, Florence and Venice
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
The course is assessed by coursework (60%) and an externally set and marked project-based exam (40%), which students have seven weeks to prepare for.
The exam board for this course is Eduqas.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum requirements:
- Grade 5 in GCSE Art, Textiles or Graphic Design (if taken)
Students can still apply for a place on this course without a ‘creative’ GCSE but they will need to create and present a portfolio of work that demonstrates drawing, construction and creative skills that relate to the Fashion & Textiles course.
What subject combination would you recommend to go with this course?
It very much depends on your career goals for the future.
- Business goes well with Textiles A Level if you would like to take a more commercial route and are considering career roles such as a fashion buyer, merchandiser, visual merchandiser or management.
- English would be beneficial if you would like to pursue a career in fashion journalism.
- Media is a good option for students considering working in publishing such as fashion magazines or online platforms.
- Travel and Tourism can support international work with the fashion industry.
Can I study two creative subjects?
Yes, but be mindful that this will involve a considerable amount of work. Creative subjects have a strong coursework element that is time consuming. In addition, you would need to be efficient at time management and organisation as coursework deadlines often coincide.
What can I do after college with Textiles?
There is a vast choice of creative degrees and career options open to A Level Textiles students. Many decide to study for an Art Foundation Diploma course at Art College. This free one year course allows students to explore their creative abilities, prepare a portfolio and decide which creative area interests them most.
You could also apply for an apprenticeship, go straight into employment or apply directly for a University degree course.
What university courses do students study after taking Fashion and Textiles at Reigate College?
There are a wide variety of fashion-related university courses available. In recent years students have been offered places at UAL, UCA, Southampton Solent, Kingston and Nottingham Trent Universities.
As an example, 2020 graduates took up places to study the following degree courses:
- Costume with Fashion – University of Huddersfield
- Fashion Marketing & Branding – Nottingham Trent University
- Fashion Promotion & Imaging – University of the Creative Arts (UCA)
- Fashion Business & Management – University of the Creative Arts (UCA)
Is there a lot of drawing on the course?
Yes, drawing is integral to the course.
Do I need a sewing machine at home?
No, as we have a large number of machines in the department. However it would be useful to have access to one at home, a second-hand machine would be fine.
I haven’t done textiles before as I did another creative GCSE, will this be a problem?
No, as the first year includes different workshops that teach all the basic techniques and processes associated with textiles.
I have not studied a creative GCSE/ I don’t meet the entry requirements – can I still join the course?
You will need to create a portfolio of work prior to your application that demonstrates drawing, construction and creative skills relevant for the Textiles course. The Course Leader will then view your portfolio and decide on your suitability for the course. You can contact the course leader Clairiscia Callanan, via email to email@example.com if you would like more guidance.
What are the class sizes?
Historically the classes for Textiles have been small, however the course is growing in popularity.
Will there be a lot of making on the course?
Yes, the course is very practical and you will be expected to be working with media and materials using specialist equipment.