Students will be able to take an A-level in Fashion for the first time ever under plans unveiled 19 May 2016 by exam board AQA with the first students taking the exam in 2019.


As a certified fashion educator, this is fantastic news; I’ve been waiting in anticipation for this standalone qualification for a very long time. In my needlework lesson, many moons ago we had to choose our favourite designer and complete a project about them. I choose Mary Quant because she was the only designer who sent me back lots of information bearing in mind I had sent off letters to lots of designers. If I can find the information she sent me I’ll post it on the blog.

As part of the new course, students will be studying the work of influential designers such as Chanel, Dior, Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Vivienne Westwood, Gaultier and Alexander McQueen with an in-depth look at and the impact they have had on fashion, textiles, design, and manufacture.

The new standalone qualification replaces the long-standing ‘Textiles’ course. Students will create their own designs, learning how to use a variety of textiles and new design technologies and they will study the commercial side of fashion, including branding and marketing.

The new qualifications place greater emphasis on understanding and applying iterative design processes. Students will use their creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

The plans for AQA’s new Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles A-level, which will be available to teach from September 2017.


You may ask why have I been waiting in anticipation for this A-level in Fashion standalone qualification. I remained in contact with my art and needlework school teachers who encouraged me to pursue my passion of designing and sewing until they both passed away, so often they would suggest I go into teaching which I always kept in the back of my mind. I graduated from London College of Fashion in 1985 after studying two courses in textile: machine embroidery and fashion design. I started out in the industry as a designer, pattern cutter, and maker and In 1986, I assisted Lindka Cierach to design and create Sarah Ferguson’s two royal wedding dresses for her marriage to HRH Prince Andrew. After a few years in the industry, I became a certified fashion educator in higher education. Click to learn more about me here.


Fast forward to last year, I was approached by several schools that came across 1st Class Patterns on the internet to mentor their students who were interested in a career as a fashion designer. Since then I’ve been creating and testing the “Taster Fashion Course” to assist pre-16-year old students, so far I’ve had an overwhelming response from teachers looking to help out students gain a real understanding of what it means to be a fashion designer in the industry.

This creative and thought-provoking four-module online course give your students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in the fashion industry. They will also receive the knowledge and skills sought by further, higher education and employers. The course includes pattern cutting, fashion draping, sewing skills and the crème de la crème fourth module is where I dive deep into the FE level fashion design project and break down the design brief and assignments with step-by-step instructions, video lessons, handy helpers and much more. Students study at their own pace with feedback from my team and me.

Students will be able to take an A-level in Fashion for the first time ever in September 2017. Our taster fashion course assists students to gain the skills and knowledge sought by FE/HE and employers.

What are your thoughts on the first ever Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles A-level course? I would love to know in the comments…