The fashion industry is the largest creative industry in the UK and it is growing. Textiles is a broad and varied art and design subject that will appeal to those who are creative, inventive, and enjoy designing and making textile products, or those who are interested in fashion, interior design, costume or theatre design.
Textiles is a practical subject that gives students the opportunity to tackle and solve problems creatively, to think critically and confidently, and to express opinions, whilst offering a wealth of opportunities for the future. At all key stages, students are encouraged to think about and address ethical, moral, cultural and social issues in textiles industry and reflect on these when producing their own work. We encourage students to explore their own individual textiles heritage and express themselves using a range of media, techniques, processes and materials.
Textiles at Key Stage 3
Students complete two textiles projects in KS3. In Year 7 the project is called Pugglies: Mini-monster toy project – Students will be introduced to basic design concepts, carrying out primary and secondary research, analysing existing toys and textiles products. Students are introduced to a range of textile fibres and materials, learning about their sources and properties. They will learn how fibres are turned into fabrics and what these can be used for. Students will study the environmental impact of a range of materials and process completing a lifecycle analysis of the product that they create. They will learn a variety of textiles decorative and construction skills and techniques and will work with acrylic felt to design and make a soft toy.
In Year 8 the project is called African Bags for Life. This project will focus on the basics of tie dyeing and block printing to create a reusable shopping bag inspired by traditional African textiles. We will look at the negative impact single use plastics have on the environment, discuss and propose solutions. We will analyse a range of traditional African print fabrics and learn a range of decorative skills including tie dye, block printing and machine embroidery.
Students will learn to use a sewing machine to sew hems, seams and complete basic machine embroidery.
Students will learn about cotton production and learn about the benefits of Fairtrade and organic farming methods.
Textiles at Key Stage 4
GCSE Art and Design: Textiles Exam board: AQA
This is an exciting and creative course that involves the creation of designs and products for woven, knitted, stitched, printed or decorative textiles that might have a functional or non-functional purpose. Students are required to work in one or more area(s) of textile design, art textiles
- fashion design and illustration
- costume design
- constructed textiles
- printed and dyed textiles
- surface pattern
- stitched and/or embellished textiles
- soft furnishings and/or textiles for interiors
- digital textiles
- installed textiles.
Students will study a range of artists, designers, art and design movements, and design history and respond to these in their own work. Students are taught through practical skills, in a series of small projects ranging from interior design, costume design, fashion and accessories design. Students are taught fashion illustration and textiles design techniques using a range of design tools including computer aided design.
Students learn how to add colour and pattern to a variety of fabrics using a range of printing processes, dyeing, and embroidery and embellishment techniques, using a range of equipment and technology. Students will also learn basic pattern block making and pattern cutting, as well as a variety of construction techniques, so they develop the skills to both design and make garments or products.
Students also learn about the design and manufacturing industry, technological developments, environmental issues and sustainability in relation to manufacture and use of a range of products, processes and materials.
Textiles at Key Stage 5
A level Art and Design: Textiles Exam board: AQA
Students will be introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of textile media, techniques and processes.
They will learn about both traditional and new technologies in textiles and fashion design.
This will include investigation of a range of resources relating to textiles from the past and from recent times.
Students are required to work in one or more areas of textile design, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas:
- fashion design
- fashion textiles
- costume design
- digital textiles
- printed and/or dyed fabric and materials
- domestic textiles and wallpaper
- interior design
- constructed textiles
- art textiles
- Installed textiles.
Students will learn a variety of skills in all the following: awareness of the elements of textile design, such as shape, line, scale, colour, texture, pattern, contrast and/or repetition in relation to the chosen areas of textile design. Students will develop:
- ability to respond to an issue, concept or idea, working to a brief or answering a need in the chosen area(s) of textile design
- appreciation of the relationship of form and function and, where applicable, the constraints of working to a brief
- understanding of a variety of textile methods, such as: fabric printing, mono-printing, relief printing, screen printing and laser printing; tie-dye and batik; spraying and transfer; fabric construction; stitching, appliqué, patchwork, padding, quilting and embroidery as well as a variety of CAD/CAM methods
Students will develop knowledge and understanding of:
- relevant materials, processes, technologies and resources
- how ideas, feelings and meanings can be conveyed and interpreted in images and artefacts created in the chosen area(s) of textile design
- historical and contemporary developments and different styles and genres
- how images and artefacts relate to social, environmental, cultural and/or ethical contexts, and to the time and place in which they were created
- continuity and change in different styles, genres and traditions relevant to textile design
- a working vocabulary and specialist terminology
Textiles has excellent work-related learning links. We have connections with industry professionals, designers and illustrators and offer a supportive range of trips for enrichment, to the V&A, William Morris Museum, and the Fashion and Textiles museum. There are also opportunities to attend summer schools and workshops delivered by outside agencies such as University of the Arts, London, FAD and TRAID. These often provide a platform for showcasing designs and creations.
Career and future pathways
The fashion and textiles industry is a growing industry with many career opportunities in design, styling, marketing and management. A qualification in Textiles Design will support applications to higher education, university and art college foundation/degree courses, including fashion design, textile design, costume design, interior design, fine art, fashion business, fashion marketing and fashion management, and apprenticeships. Graduates from these courses enjoy careers in the textiles industry as designers, stylists, pattern cutters, product developers, buyers, merchandisers/marketers, journalists, retail managers and consultants.