Fashion Design (BA Degree)


Fashion Design (BA Degree)

The term ‘Fashion Designer’ embodies a broad spectrum in the design arena. Studying fashion design not only equips learners with the knowledge and skills required to design and manufacture clothing, but also trains learners in the various fields associated with the fashion industry.  Career possibilities become endless once the student has completed the certificate, degree or diploma course in Fashion Design.  Fashion designers not only make beautiful garments but need to see themselves as the future of the design world. Fashion trends change and evolve at a rapid pace, developments take place every moment of everyday and for this reason students are taught how to research the latest trend and develop designs around these trends.  Creativity cannot be taught, it is nurtured and developed. It is important for our learners to believe in their designs and trust their natural design instincts.  Many of the great fashion designers were shunned for their outrageous creations at first, yet were recorded in history for being brave inventors. The SDC fashion design program focuses on development and guidance rather than instruction.  For this reason fashion design learners leave equipped to look at the world with a greater awareness and appreciation for detail. The program is structured to include all the vital skills learners need when they enter the world of fashion, from pattern making through to starting your their label. The program is structured as follows:



The design world is highly dependent on visual stimulants and inspirations – it is important to develop and awareness of one’s surroundings and being able to use elements from your direct environment to inspire beautiful creations.  For this reason, learners are taught vital artistic skills, namely:

1. Fashion Illustration Fashion illustration 1 is aimed at teaching the basics of drawing by focussing on form, shape, light, shadow, perspective and the human form.  It is vital for a designer to translate their designs onto paper, in order for the designer and client to visually agree on the same design goal.   Students learn various drawing techniques and experiment with different mediums. 

2. Creative Design Creative design 1 introduces the learner to the exciting world of design.  Students learn to appreciate the importance of colour in fashion and embark on trend research.  The fashion cycle, which influences the entire design world, is also outlined to the student.  Creative design involves the creation of a vital aspect of design – the story board. Learners will learn how aesthetics dictate the success of a story board, as well as composition.  

3. Technical Drawing As a fashion designer, you are not only required to dream up exotic designs, but it is also important to describe these designs to a manufacturer.  Technical drawing teaches learners to take their designs and illustrate them in a manner that is universally understood by manufacturers.


Fashion designers are not only artists; they also need to be scientists of their craft.  Pattern making, garment construction and textile theory equip learners with the knowledge to produce their designs. 

1. Pattern Making Pattern making 1 introduces students to basics blocks, dart manipulation and styling.  Basic pattern manipulation educates students in the movement of space and how that effects pattern construction.  By the end of first year, learners would have drafted all basic blocks required for future years in the industry. 

2. Garment Construction This is where the fun happens.  Learners can now take their designs and begin making garments.  The first year of garment construction involves the students creating basic tailored garments, skirts blouses, sleeves, cuffs, collars and corsets.  Styling possibilities of these basic blocks are endless and students learn that classic garments are always being re-invented and re-developed as a result of trend. 

3. Textile Theory In order to understand how to create garments, it is important to understand where fabrics originate from what they are made of.  Learners  will receive a general introduction to textiles, fibre classification and properties.  The learner should then:


The world is advancing on a daily basis.  Designs are no longer only drawn by hand – the world is going digital, and so should our students.  In the first year of digital design, students are introduced to the basics of rendering designs digitally.  Learners are given an introduction to Photoshop, Microsoft office and coral draw. Learners are encouraged to use the internet to research trends and discover various fashion websites. 


Understanding the past helps us understand the future.  In the fashion world, past trends almost always influence new designs.  For this reason it is important for students to delve into the fascinating study of the past.  History of clothing 1 highlights great historical events and how political, social, and cultural factors influenced clothing. 


Fashion means business! And being business minded and business savvy is an important skill to cultivate.  Being one step ahead of the competition and learning the tricks of the trade.  Industry practice 1 shows students the ins and outs of the fashion business.  They are introduced to merchandising, buying, running a business and even how to import and export products.  



Now that learners have completed their first level, the foundations have been laid.  It is now time to build on these foundations. 

Fashion Illustration

1. Students are encouraged to develop their own personal drawing style.  Fashion figures are tweaked and stretched versions of reality; each artist has their own unique drawing style and is becoming comfortable with their individuality.  Learners are encouraged to think out of the box and work in different mediums.  Styling of fashion figures is research and put into practise.  The second level of fashion design focuses mainly on menswear, and for this reason illustration follows suit. 

2. Creative Design Menswear is now introduced.  Learners are required to develop designs which reflect menswear trends, research is conducted through store visits, presentations are facilitated and storyboards produced.  Students are also are given a dye workshop and encouraged to explore the endless possibilities of dying. Not only is menswear covered in second  level, but also children's wear, swimwear and lingerie. 

Technical Drawing

3. Technical drawing 2 goes hand in hand with Creative design, and learners  are guided in the correct presentation of menswear, children's wear, swimwear and lingerie storyboards.


1. Pattern Making learners draft their menswear blocks, children's wear blocks and lingerie which will be used throughout their second level in garment construction. Styling of the various blocks are outlined and developed.  

2. Garment Construction for a Fashion competition is a major learning experience which is why SDC encourages learners of this level to enter as many fashion competitions as they can manage. Learners also construct their menswear, children's wear and lingerie collections. 

3. Textile Theory 2nd level Textile Theory builds on the foundations laid in 1st level.  Aspects which are covered include:


A recap on illustrator is completed, and an introduction to rendering technical drawings in a digital format.  Illustrations of the male figure with a background on photoshop is explored as well as a T shirt design using digital artwork. Learners also digitally design and create their own swing tag label.


In second level fashion history we examine the 1900’s and examine events in history and art that influenced fashion. We focus on the roaring twenties and discover the birth of cocktails, jazz and luxury, cubism and Bauhaus Influences, the Russian Ballet, the slender silhouette and the freedom of sexuality.  We examine the 1930's looking at the great depression and how this affected fashion. We move into the 1940's and see how the world war influenced fashion of that decade. With the 50's we see the interest of Paris fashion and research fabrics of the time. 60's take us throw us into the beetles and pop looks. When studying fashion of the 70's we enjoy the nostalgia of this era and have fun with the disco and trash culture. Our study into the 80's takes a turn for the bizarre and absurd as we move into the hip hop and retro looks.


Industry Practice 2 focuses on business skills, TAX, VAT, marketing your product and developing a corporate identity. 



1. Fashion Illustration - By now learners have developed a strong design identity. They are encouraged to create artworks rather than sketches.  A large portion of the level is spent on developing their portfolios.  The portfolios serve as a visual representation of their skills and capabilities. Students design business cards, packaging, labels, and all components needed to market themselves to the world. 

2. Creative Design - The third level of the fashion design program involves the development of a complete range.  In creative design, learners are guided in the design and development of their range ideas, fabrication and styles. Storyboards are created and presented to the academic board for approval.  Once approved, learners embark on the exciting task of creating their ranges. 

3. Technical Drawing - Learners work on the technical aspects of their ranges and Storyboard drafting.

4. Digital Design Digital design in the 3rd level involves students rendering their range designs onto digital story boards using advanced skills learnt through the level..


1. Pattern Making - Learners are assisted in the perfection of their patterns for their ranges.  Construction, fit and styling is perfected and tested.

2. Garment Construction - Learners construct their range garments throughout the level. 

3. Textile Theory - 3rd level Textile Theory covers the finishing processes fabrics undergo once they have been manufactured, namely: Organic fabrics; dyeing & Finishing. We also examine the the future of fabrics.


We study contemporary Fashion designers and discover how they were influenced and how they rose to the top of the design world.  Some of these include: Charles Frederick Worth; Callot Soeurs; Paul Poiret; Jeanne Lanvin; Gabrielle Chanel; Elsa Schiaparelli; Cristobal Balenciage; Christian Dior; Hubert de Givenchy; Pierre Cardin; Mary Quant; Yves Saint Laurent; Valentino; Karl Lagerfeld; Ralph Lauren; Calvin Klein; Giorgio Armani; Vivienne Westwood; Paul Smith; Gianni Versace; Jean Paul Gautier; John Galliano; Donna Karen; Miuccia Prada; Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford



In third level of fashion design, it is important for learners to get out there, get involved and get experience.  For this reason, students embark on an exciting venture of an internship at the design house of their choice.  They spend at least 3 weeks learning, observing and engaging in the world they are being prepared for. They return to their program with knowledge of the industry which cannot be taught, it needs to be experienced. 


For learners who wish to leave with a Degree, degree subjects are commenced in second level with design theory. Design Theory consists of structured tutorials, discussions, practical research and theory based research.  This subject aims to help learners formulate their perceptions, thoughts and opinions regarding certain topics and place them into an academic format i.e essays, presentations, debates etc.  This subject encourages learners to question their knowledge of design concepts in the design fields (Interior, graphics, photography, fashion).  Contemporary theories such as Art vs Science, Perception vs Design, Colour vs Placement, aesthetics vs functionality will be investigated and discussed.  Students will be encouraged to research certain topics and interact with one another in order to understand how individuals relate to information on different levels.This subject aims to demonstrate the importance of academic structure, and show learners the benefit of academic writing when they (the students) are placed in certain design fields. In the final stages of the subject, the learner will compile an academic research report, placing their ideas and opinions into an academic format which will include: literature reviews, empirical evidence, design methodologies and drawing conclusions and recommendations. Students will be guided into choosing topics which are not only relevant but can be investigated and argued from more than one side.  This in turn will aid them in compiling data from differing sources and drawing their own conclusions.   


In the third level, learners write an academic research report known as a dissertation.  They are encouraged to research a topic, which is relevant to their design discipline.  They are educated on how to formulate a research proposal, conduct a literature review and collect empirical evidence.  Students then take the gathered evidence and triangulate the results against the literature and draw conclusions.