Three Years On A Fashion Course: First year

fashion first year
Written by Laura Brandon

I decided to put the year overviews into 3 separate posts, as putting them all in one post would make for a very long reading! But this is a general overview of the way my course was structured, however, different unis will do things differently, but the basis will still be the same.

This is part of the “The Life and Times of a Fashion Student” Series

fashion first year

First Year

I think with most courses, the first year is all about going back to basics and getting all the students learning at the same pace. My class had a lot of mixed ability in it, with some beginners and some experienced sewers. I found my first week to be quite daunting, there was so much information to take in all at once, so here are a few tips to hopefully make it a bit easier for you:

  • Take a diary and write down everything; you will get so many dates, etc. thrown at you, that it will be impossible to remember them all.
  • If possible, try and email ahead to find out exactly what equipment you will need to bring during the first week. Chances are that you won’t need anything more than a notebook, pen and diary, but it’s best to be sure. Trust me, it is not fun when you bring all your stuff in to find you don’t need it!
  • Speaking of equipment, get into the habit of packing everything the night before, because everything seems to conveniently disappear when you are in a rush the next morning.
  • Make friends and chat to everybody! Don’t be shy, just get stuck in.

In terms of course content, we learnt a variety of things with different projects. Basic sewing and pattern cutting skills were learnt by using calico (cheap canvas-type material) and making things in miniature, and towards the end of the year we moved on to making more challenging items, like a man’s shirt and an outfit of our choice.In terms of design, the first couple of weeks were spent improving our drawing skills and focusing on how to develop a style and draw models. After that we moved on to themed work and learnt research techniques and how to source fabrics. This was actually one of my favourite lessons, and it made a nice change from the technical side of things. We also took 2 specialised subjects for a term each, knit and millinery which I think was quite unusual for a university to do. We learnt the very basics in these subjects and made a hat in each, to give us a taster and then went on to choose the one we wanted to specialise in in second year.  We also had a contextual studies lesson once a week, which was basically about refining our writing skills by doing catwalk reports and group presentations.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is just a brief overview of what I experienced over the first year; it will obviously vary depending on your course and university. I also feel it’s worth mentioning that during my first year I didn’t get on very well with a certain lesson, due to not having a lot of experience in that area, and comments were made by a member of staff which made me feel stupid and inadequate. This used to upset me to the point of wanting to drop out. If any of you ever feel this way, then talk to someone like your student reps, union or anybody from the university. I wish I had, because I would have been a lot happier. There’s a lot of support out there, especially within the SU, and it’s not worth feeling crappy and having your confidence knocked out because of a bad experience.

I hope you all enjoyed this and, as always, please feel free to email me any feedback at, tweet me @misslaurameow and visit my Facebook page at

Read More of the “The Life and Times of a Fashion Student” Series 

About Author: Laura Brandon is a 22-years old Fashion graduate currently living in London. She blogs about being a Fashion student, fashion brands/trends/looks and beauty products, etc. She’s just started up a jewellery/craft business (check it out on Facebook) and she’s also looking for fashion/writing related jobs. She’s hoping to publish a book based on this series one day. See more of her work on her blog here.

 Photo credit: FUNKYAH via photopin cc

About the author

Laura Brandon

Laura is a 24 year old Fashion Studies graduate, currently running a small fashion illustration business. Check it out here - . She also has a life style blog talking about everything from beauty and fashion, to relationships and life in general. Visit the blog here -