Fashion Textiles - Key Stage 5

Pic 6The Fashion and Textiles A Level is a creative and thought provoking qualification which gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers related to the Fashion and Textiles sector and other creative industries.

Our teachers are highly skilled, well-informed, industry specialists with a wide range of experience working in the Fashion and Textiles Industries in the UK and overseas.

This department is very successful nationally with students consistently achieving top awards and had been described as ‘leading edge’. Students studying this A Level have gone on to be very successful within higher education and employment, securing excellent jobs within the industry.

Examination Board/Qualification:   AQA  A Level Fashion and Textiles
Specification:                                    7562

Key Stage 5

Course Content

Fashion and Textiles requires students to engage in both practical and theoretical study.

During the course of study, students will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology within textiles and fashion, while gaining an understanding of how textile products are processed and manufactured, developing and applying their maths and science skills.

Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer. They will have the opportunity to explore innovation and adapt ideas to a commercial need and specified target market, enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing products of their choice.


Over a fortnightly timetable, students receive: 

  • 8 hours of guided classroom learning 
  • 8 hours of guided independent homework 
  • 2 hours of guided independent study 


Theory knowledge is assessed through external examination and accounts for 50% of the A Level qualification. The Non Exam Assessed component (NEA) makes up the remaining 50% and is marked internally with external moderation by AQA.
The NEA is devised by the students, focusing on a problem that they have identified within Fashion and Textiles which they will investigate in a very creative way. Using an iterative design process a final solution will be developed from a design brief they will have written as a result of their investigations.
The examinations are split across two papers in the summer of Year 13 following the completion on the NEA. The first paper focuses on technical principles and the second paper focuses on designing and making principles.  

Enrichment and Extra Curricular

Students are given the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of enrichment and extra curricular activities. Frequent research study trips, including trips overseas and regular visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum help to inform decision making. In the past we have taken students to the Musée de la Mode in Paris and the Armani Silos Museum in Milan. Links with London College of Fashion the University of Oxford have provided Masterclass workshops and immersive experiences to enrich the learning experience.
EPQ and Arts Award Gold offer A Level students the opportunity to extend their creative studies, rewarded with certified qualifications, while the weekly Fashion and Textiles Discussion Hub encourages intellectual debate over industry related issues.
The department also has ongoing participation and success in a number of national competitions including the Wool 4 School Competition, Glove Design Competition and Knitting and Stitching Show Competition.

To Read


  • AQA AS/A-Level Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles, 23 Feb 2018, Treuherz, Dick et al
  • ​My Revision Notes: AQA A-Level Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles, 29 Mar 2019, Bush & Drake
  • Clothing Technology: from Fibre to Fashion, 15 Oct 2013, Hannelore, Hermeling, Hornberger & Kilgus
  • The Fashion Resource Book: Research for Design, 6 Aug 2012, R. Leach
  • Fashion Design, 3rd edition (Portfolio), 24 Mar 2011, Jenkyn Jones
  • Technology of Textile Properties, 1991, Taylor
  • Techno Textiles: Revolutionary Fabrics for Fashion and Design, 1999, Braddock & O’Mahony
  • Fashionpedia: The Visual Dictionary of Fashion Design, 6 Jan 2016 by Fashionary
  • The Fashion Book, 2001, Buttolph, Braun & Chapius
  • Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear by Winifred Aldrich, sixth edition, 2015, Wiley


Fashion and Textile industry news, trends and analysis:

To Watch

  • Documentary – McQueen (surrounding the life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen – one of the designers we study). https://www.amazon.co.uk/McQueen-Lee-Alexander/dp/B07D6SGRM8
  • Documentary – The First Monday in May (The film follows the creation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's most attended fashion exhibit in history: the 2015 art exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass by curator Andrew Bolton at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art). http://www.firstmondayinmay.com/
  • Documentary – Dries (Portrait of the Fashion Designer Dries Van Noten who, for more than 25 years, has remained independent in a landscape of fashion consolidation and globalization). https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dries-Reiner-Holzemer/dp/B073X4YTXS
  • Documentary – Westwood.Punk.Icon.Activity (2018) - detailing Vivienne Westwood’s career and how she is moving the brand forward – another designer we study. http://www.viviennewestwoodfilm.com/
  • Documentary – Dior & I (2014) - Raf Simmons first collection at Dior – lots of use of the archive at Dior looking at the ‘New Look’ which is a design period we study. http://www.diorandimovie.com/
  • Documentary Series – Alexa Chung: The future of fashion (2016) - continuation of the first documentary, looking deeper at ‘behind the scenes’ roles, and what the fashion landscape looks like in terms of the future, sustainability and the environment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u0KzfgVn1I
  • Documentary – Alexa Chung: Fashion Industry Secrets (2015) covers a lot of the different jobs and opportunities you can be faced with through fashion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi2nc_xxnvs
  • Documentary – The True Cost (2014) - covering the ethical and environmental issues surrounding fast fashion. https://truecostmovie.com/
  • Documentary – Stacey Dooley: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (2018) - covering environmental issues. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n27x3
  • Documentary Series – Secrets of the Museum BBC (2021) - information about the V&A, the episodes focus on a variety of artefacts but also have fashion references. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m000f1xt/secrets-of-the-museum
  • Film –
    • Yves Saint Laurent (2014)
    • Funny Face (1957) fashion/costume by Givenchy
    • Coco Before Chanel (2009)
    • Phantom Thread (2017) - won Oscar for Best Costume

To Listen

  • Podcast – Dressed: The History of Fashion – explores not only the history in terms of style and examining certain products/pieces, but also a deeper look into some cultural aspects e.g. interviews with specialists in traditional Arab dress and Black dandyism.
  • Podcast – In Vogue: 1990s - exploring fashion’s seismic shifts throughout the 1990s
  • Podcast – The Business of Fashion Podcast – up-to-date fashion news and information about the industry (BoF is also a good website for people to read, with news, careers, information about brands etc).

To Research

  • How key historical design styles, design movements and influential designers have helped to shape fashion design and manufacture, including: Paul Poiret, Chanel, Dior, Mary Quant, Yves St Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Vivienne Westwood, McQueen.
  • https://www.vam.ac.uk/ - Victoria and Albert Museum Website
  • https://museeyslparis.com/en/biography - Yves Saint Laurent Museum Website
  • How socioeconomic influences have helped to shape product design and manufacture including: street culture, music and media, world events, the rise of youth culture, the role of women in society, sport and leisure, technological developments, film, royalty and celebrities.
  • How major developments in technology are shaping product design and manufacture including: the development of fabric finishes, smart, technical and e-textiles.
  • Social, moral, ethical and environmental issues surrounding product design and manufacture.

To Visit

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London - https://www.vam.ac.uk/
The Fashion and Textile Museum, London - https://www.ftmlondon.org/
The Maidstone Museum, Maidstone - https://museum.maidstone.gov.uk/
Selfridges Department Store, London - https://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/
Harvey Nichols Department Store, London - https://www.harveynichols.com/
Liberty Department Store, London - https://www.libertylondon.com/


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