BA (Hons) Costume for Performance
|Study Mode||Full Time|
|Course Length||3 years|
|IELTS level||6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one skill|
£9,000 per year
£13,800 per year
|Autumn Term Dates||24 Sept - 07 Dec|
|Spring Term Dates||07 Jan - 15 March|
|Summer Term Dates||15 April - 21 June|
The BA Costume for Performance course is situated in the School of Media and Communication, and is for students who are interested in designing and making costume for performance. This includes the broad categories of theatre, film, music and television, as well as more specialised or multi-disciplinary performances where several elements are combined. The course integrates the intellectual demands of interpretation of the text or other written element within the performance context, with the specialised design and craft skills required for the realisation of original costumes. The cultural and historical context of the subject is explored, to enhance the design and realisation of the practical work. Working in performance is always a collaborative venture, where the success of the production depends upon the joint efforts of a number of creative and specialised designers and makers, who work together with the director and performers. Students on this course have the advantage of being able to work with students from the related disciplines of technical effects and make-up and prosthetics. Students have the opportunity to do a short work placement in the industry, and there are several industry-facing projects within the course. All the subject tutors teaching on the course are practitioners with extensive experience of the industry.
BA Costume for Performance is based at Lime Grove in Shepherd’s Bush, just west of Holland Park and Notting Hill. The area, which is rich in cultural influences from across the world, is home to Shepherd’s Bush Market and the many fabric shops lining the Goldhawk Road, which sell a good variety of fabrics, including silks, at extremely competitive prices. There are numerous restaurants, cafes, delis and food stores, as well as the market, which reflect the many cultures of the people living there. Nearby is the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, an excellent venue for live bands, and the Westfield Shopping Centre, one of the largest retail complexes in Europe that caters for the luxury market as well as the high street. Holland Park with its Orangery and Leighton House Museum are both worth visiting.
UAL statement on learning and teaching
Courses in UAL span a broad range of art, design, communication, business, media, science and communication subjects. So the ways in which you learn and how your time is used will vary according to the specific course you are studying; this may be in studios, labs, classes, involve working alone, learning from peers in pairs or groups, or with external partners. Most importantly, no matter which course you enrol on, you will learn not only about your subject but also about how you learn and how to increase your knowledge base.
Our courses will guide you to take increasing responsibility and ownership of your work and your learning. We do this so that you will be ready and able to take full advantage of the full range of opportunities offered by the creative industries in the global economy.
UAL statement on assessment methods
Assessment always sounds austere and foreboding, but it is not. We see assessment as a very real part of learning, rather than just a means of looking back at past work and measuring achievement; we believe that assessment helps you plan future work and develop new ideas.
Your work will be assessed through projects or portfolios, with written papers or research journals, and, on some courses, examinations. You will be graded according to a set of marking criteria that relate to such things as research, subject knowledge, methodology, and your capacity to analyse and reflect on your achievements. So don’t be afraid of assessment - it is the way to progress.
Year One Stage One Level 4 120 credits
Term One: Introduction to Study in Higher Education (20 credits); The Body: 3D and Costume Construction (20 credits);
Term Two: Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Modifying the Form (20 credits);
Term Three: Consolidation and Collaboration (40 credits);
Year Two Stage Two Level 5 120 credits
Term One: Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Period and Contemporary Menswear (20 credits);
Term Two: Industry Links (40 credits);
Term Three: Research Methods for Performance (20 credits); Film Unit (20 credits);
Third Year Stage Three Level 6 120 credits
Term One: Concept Development (20 credits);
Terms One and Two: Cultural and Historical Studies Dissertation (40 credits)
Term Two and Three: Final Major Project (60 credits);
In the first term you will study two units.
Introduction to Study in Higher Education gives you an understanding of your personal and professional development at university, with three core purposes: to introduce you to the necessary learning skills for undergraduate study; to show you where you are situated within the College and the University; and to help you understand what you will learn on your course and how you will develop your skills. The unit introduces you to script breakdown, character analysis and how to design for performance.
The Body: 3D and Costume Construction unit introduces you to the fundamental principles underlying the construction of costume for a performer that enhances or distorts the performer in order to create character. You will research and explore a number of techniques and approaches, and record this in a visually appropriate and informative way. You will learn the basic skills of design interpretation, costume cut and construction, and explore three-dimensional approaches to realising the shape of the performing body. You will develop an understanding of how basic techniques can be used creatively, and will be encouraged to work in an enquiring and innovative way.
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.
Modifying the Form gives you the opportunity to explore how the human body can be modified, adapted, extended and distorted through the use of additions to the body such as padding, frames and corsetry. You will learn how to translate 2D and 3D ideas, and you will extend your costume making techniques through a focussed design project. You will work with a set of characters from a given text, do research, develop design ideas and produce a set of final designs for a chosen performance context. You will develop characterisation principles, plan some aspects of the production, and develop ideas through experimentation, drawing, 2D exploration and storyboard creation.
In the third term you will do the Consolidation and Collaboration unit, which allows you to demonstrate your progress through a collaborative project with students from the other performance disciplines. You will undertake research, design development and presentation as part of a group, using 2D and 3D approaches to produce an innovative solution to the brief. You will use both experimental and traditional methods to realise your work in a contemporary live context, and the staging of the group work will be recorded. You will also undertake an individual project that extends your personal design approach and draws on what you have learnt from the group project.
In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies unit 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.
Also studied in the first term, the Period and Contemporary Menswear unit allows you to develop knowledge and skills for the design, pattern cutting and production of period and contemporary tailored garments for men. You will gain an increased understanding of the importance of research, design development, creative cutting and construction. Your knowledge of how techniques can be used creatively in the technical development of bespoke tailored garments will be developed.
In the second term the Industry Links unit gives you the opportunity to apply the skills you have learnt in a live professional environment and to undertake an industry-facing project. You will gain first hand experience of how professionals work together in the context of performance. This will develop your awareness of the realities of the profession and will provide you with a network of contacts for your future career. The work experience is sourced by each student, with support from the FBRS (Fashion Business Resource Studio). This is a valuable exercise in networking and preparing for future employment, and those students that understand this tend to get the placements with the most high profile companies. You will be expected to write an analytical and reflective report of your experience, and compile a presentation for staff and fellow students. Recent placements for students have included Home and Away, Opera Australia, BBC’s The Hour, Royal Opera House, V&A Museum, Savile Row tailors Gieves and Hawkes and Henry Poole, New York City Opera and a number of independent film companies.
In the third term you will do two units.
Research Methods for Performance introduces the research methods that you will employ for both your Cultural and Historical Studies Dissertation and your Final Major Project that you will undertake in the third year. You will start to consider the proposal for your dissertation, and you will learn about two key stages, the literature review and the research, how they relate to each other and how they relate in the wider context of Cultural and Historical Studies. You will look at the relationship between primary and secondary sources, ways of developing and originating research, and ways of realising the research appropriate to Cultural and Historical Studies. In parallel with this you will be starting to prepare for your Final Major Project by analysing your career direction and identifying an area of research and practice that you would like to pursue.
The Film Unit gives you the opportunity to experience the design and realisation of costume, make-up and technical effects for film. Working with students from the other performance disciplines, you will be able to appreciate that there is an overall design concept for film that encompasses all the practical specialist areas throughout the film making process. This project will encourage you to explore the various relationships and to analyse the different components of the visual dimension of film making. You will investigate how these vary according to genre, and your research and analysis will enrich your understanding of designing for film.
In the first term you will do the Concept Development unit. This develops the work done in Research Methods for Performance. You will be encouraged to prepare for your Final Major Project by exploring and considering the theoretical and professional contexts of your work through in-depth research, development and experimentation. You may work to a narrative and selected performance context and will develop an appropriate methodology, paying attention to narrative, audience and production values. You may explore several research avenues and methods, or produce a series of small test projects, or focus on a single line of enquiry.
In the first and second terms you will complete a major piece of written work for the Cultural and Historical Studies Dissertation unit. This allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the critical and analytical perspectives developed within cultural and historical theory, and how you can apply these theoretical perspectives in a specific study, which you will have already identified in the third term of the second year. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake primary and secondary research that examines in depth cultural issues relating to a particular aspect of fashion, lifestyle, the body, performance or the media, and to produce a written piece of work that reflects the critical debates around your chosen topic.
The Final Major Project, undertaken in the second and third term, gives you the opportunity to produce a coherent body of original, creative and fully resolved work that will support your entry into the industry. Through your research, design development and project proposal you will produce work that demonstrates innovation, design development, the application of advanced technical skills and a high level of understanding of design for performance through costume.
Learning and Teaching at UAL
Courses at UAL span a broad range of art, design, communication, business, media and science subjects. The ways in which you learn and how your time is used will vary according to the specific course you are studying; this may be in studios, labs or classes; involve working alone, learning from peers in pairs or groups, or with external partners. Most importantly, no matter which course you enrol on, you will learn not only about your subject but also about how you learn and how to increase your knowledge base. Our courses will guide you to take increasing responsibility and ownership of your work and your learning. We do this so that you will be ready and able to take full advantage of the range of opportunities offered by the creative industries in the global economy.
Assessment Methods at UAL
Assessment always sounds austere and foreboding, but it is not. We see assessment as a very real part of learning, rather than just a means of looking back at past work and measuring achievement; we believe that assessment helps you to plan future work and develop new ideas. Your work will be assessed through projects or portfolios, with written papers or research journals, and, on some courses, examinations. You will be graded according to a set of marking criteria that relate to such things as research, subject knowledge, methodology, and your capacity to analyse and reflect on your achievements. So don’t be afraid of assessment - it is the way to progress.
Developing your skills
All 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. PPD (Personal and Professional Development) 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. Where relevant, students have the chance to attend trade fairs, enter industry competitions, visit exhibitions and go on field trips and visits. The central position of our John Prince’s Street site in the West End affords students easy access to all sectors of the fashion retail market. In addition, our position as a constituent College in the University of the Arts London means that our students have access to the wide range of activities and events that occur in all the Colleges and at the University’s centre. Last but not least, being in London gives every student opportunities to explore and be inspired by the cultural, intellectual and social life of one of the great capital cities of the world.
Our excellent resources for educating our students are two-fold: people and premises. People includes everyone at the College who contributes directly in some way to your education, whether as a subject tutor, a technician, an Open Access Officer, a librarian or a study support tutor. Premises include the buildings and the facilities contained in them, such as specialist machinery, design studios and workshops, lecture and seminar rooms, and the library.
The Performance courses share an excellent range of facilities across the programmes, including several costume-making studios with pattern cutting tables, overlockers and industrial sewing machines, a suite of specialist rooms for casting and mould making, plaster, fibreglass, latex, silicones and other resins, a sculpting studio, a wig-making and hair styling studio, and prosthetics and make-up studios with live ‘camera to TV’ link. Students also have access to a large VAC former, laser cutter, print and dye room, a large spray booth, and additional access on site to design studios and IT suites.
Claire Christie is the Senior Lecturer for BA Costume for Performance. She has made costumes for Judi Dench, Helena Bonham-Carter, Angelina Jolie, Maggie Smith, Dawn French and many others. Film credits include Vera Drake (2004), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Elizabeth (1998), Tomb Raider (2003), Goldeneye (1995), Harry Potter (2005) and Easy Virtue (2008). Opera and theatre commissions include productions for English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Garsington Opera and the Chichester Festival.
Jessica Bugg has extensive research interests in conceptual and experimental fashion design, design for dance, and fashion communication. She is particularly engaged with interdisciplinary practice at the intersection of fashion with fine art and performance practice.
Natalie Brown is the Course Leader for this course and Programme Director for the group of performance courses within the School of Media and Communication. She has worked extensively in fashion, accessories and textile design, with a special interest in digital technologies.
Natalie Brown is the Programme Director for the Performance courses, which include BA Costume for Performance, BA Technical Effects for Performance, BA Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance, and FdA Hair and Make-up for Film and TV.
Tony Glenville is the Creative Director for the School of Media and Communication, and has done many jobs in fashion during his varied career. He has worked as a journalist on a number of publications, including Paris Vogue, the Financial Times, The Independent, the Evening Standard and Urban Junkies. He has styled Kate Winslet, is a familiar figure at the catwalk shows in the fashion capitals of the world, and has written Top to Toe: the Modern Man’s Guide to Grooming. His broadcast career has included the South Bank Show on John Galliano, and was seen on television commenting on the fashions at the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton.
Future Careers and Graduate Prospects
Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.
Many graduates prefer to seek employment as soon as they have completed their undergraduate studies. Recent Costume graduates from this course have gone on to work as designers, makers and supervisors, both contracted and freelance, in film, television, theatre, music promotions, opera and fashion. These jobs include designers at English National Opera and New York Met, ladies maker at Glyndebourne, marketing at Jasper Conran, wardrobe on Holby City, Head of Wardrobe on Lion King, menswear maker at RSC, menswear cutter at ENO, designer on BBC Vision, and fashion stylist.
Enterprise and Employability at UAL
We know what it takes to be successful in your chosen field. Your tutors are professionals in their own right and understand what you need to help you establish your career. Staff in our dedicated Centre for Student Enterprise and Employability Service (SEE) are specialists at supporting you onto the right career path and at helping you to build up work‐relevant skills, knowledge and experience throughout your time here. You will also benefit from our many relationships with industry, which give our students exclusive opportunities and access to networks and funding.
Artists and designers tell us they value UAL’s informed engagement with their career development concerns across a whole spectrum of activities and practice interests and our ability to offer them practical advice, guidance and opportunities across the possible pathways open to them - as entrepreneurs and employees. Staff value the resources and skills UAL makes available to help them deliver effective professional and career development through the curriculum.
Showing your work
All final year students are given the opportunity to profile their work online via Showtime. London College of Fashion can make no guarantee that your work (either in sum or in part) will be shown, exhibited or profiled in any way as part of your course. All student work appearing in College organised events, catwalk shows, exhibitions and other forms of showcase, is selected by a panel of senior staff and, in some instances, external industry judges.
For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers Support page.
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.
Course Entry Requirements
Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.
Two ‘A’ level passes at grade C or above (this course requires 240 UCAS tariff points) PLUS passes in three GCSE subjects at grade C or above
OR equivalent awards
Preferred subjects include Art, Design, English, Drama and Film Studies.
This course requires a minimum 240 UCAS tariff points.
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.
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 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one skill.
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 strong interest in design and performance
- The potential for creative problem solving
- An approach suited to the demands of the course and the projected career pathways in the chosen field of studies, i.e. Costume.
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 your portfolio should show evidence of: drawing skills; life drawing; research skills; process; 3D; photography; and vocational skills.
Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following at interview: an understanding of the performing arts; a cultural awareness; visual awareness evidenced through portfolio work; a motivation for working in the performance industry; a motivation to succeed on the course; and a vocational focus towards costume.
You apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) at http://www.ucas.com
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.
The University code is U65.
The UCAS code for this course is W451.
The deadline for equal consideration of your application is 15 January 2013.
Contact us on:
- Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7563 / 7582 / 7344
- Course enquiry form
For specific details on how to apply as an international applicant please click on the following link:
The International Recruitment Office at the London College of Fashion will help to guide you through the application process and answer any specific questions that you may have regarding our courses. This may include portfolio advice, 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. Please contact us for further information on this facility. We can also arrange a tour of our facilities if we are given prior notice.
Our contact details are: International Recruitment Office London College of Fashion 20 John Prince’s Street London W1G 0BJ.
- Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7656/7678/7629
- Course enquiry form
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.
What Happens Next?
All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed under What We Look For. You will be asked to upload ten images of your work online, including drawing, and examples from research, character design ideas, documented work placement, or 3D samples. If the course team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to an interview, with your portfolio, with the course team. If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not 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.
Applicants have the right to ask for feedback if their application is unsuccessful. Requests must be made in writing to the Student Administrator, and we will respond within 20 working days.
Some courses charge a fee for the bulk purchase of materials and/or equipment used on the course. Further details will be supplied at a later date.