Training and Education in Fashion and Design

Educational opportunities in Belfast

The Northern Ireland Textile and Clothing Training Council
The Northern Ireland Textile and Clothing Training Council was formed to ensure the quality and effectiveness of education and training in the textile sector. The council, which is supported by the Training and Employment Agency, has 17 members drawn from industry trade unions, educationalists, and the sector trade association. It is also one of the major partners of the National Textile Training Organisation.

The Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education
Belfast Institute is the largest educational establishment in Northern Ireland. Its centre for fashion and textiles is part of the department of creative and health studies. The staff has industrial expertise in a broad range of areas including textile production, textile design, clothing production, retail management and marketing. The centre offers full and part time courses, and caters for both vocational and leisure studies. The premises include well equipped sewing rooms, large pattern construction practical workshops, and lecture theatres. A wide range of textile and fashion information is available in the college.

BIFHE’s Higher National Diploma in fashion management offers the following modules: Clothing Technology, Textile Materials in Context, Textile Quality Assessment, Technical Studies, Production Management, Quality Management, Business Practice, Computer Aided Design, Garment Making, Pattern Design, Fashion Environment, Finance, Professional Development and Design Studies. These modules also include practical workshops, talks from visiting designers, and work experience with leading textile and clothing manufacturers, fashion designers and retailers.

One of the highlights of the year is the Belfast Institute’s student fashion show. It is unique, because it is entirely devised, managed and marketed by students of the HND design (fashion management) and BSc fashion management courses. Last year’s show, sponsored by Matalan and entitled ‘vintage rock’, took place on March 8, 2005, at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, and was an exciting mix of retro, urban, ethno and punk styles. Guest designer was Siobhan Smith, who exhibited some of her latest designs. The SDC (Society of Dyers and Colourists) Award for the best use of colour went to Agnes Ewedeyi for her ‘Heat of Africa’ collection.

BA Hons Textiles and Fashion Design at the Art College, University of Ulster
The Arts College’s BA Honours degree in textiles and fashion design aims to develop the creative ability and technical skills of the student, and to prepare them for work in the fashion industry. The college maintains close links to design, promotion, and business agencies working in the international marketplace. The course involves visits to design studios, manufacturing companies and retail outlets. Students gain practical experience through live projects supported by local industries. An optional placement year is also available.

The course content is very diverse and covers history and theory of design, printed and woven textiles, knitwear, designing for fashion fabrics, fashion garments and accessories, and fabrics and surfaces for interiors. There is also a comprehensive business and marketing seminar programme and practical technical studies.

At the public final year degree show, graduating students from the fine and applied arts, textiles and fashion design, visual communication and masters courses display their work. It gives the students an opportunity to show off their creative talents to the textiles and fashion industry and to the wider public. The annual event has become an important date in collectors’ diaries, with many students selling their entire collections throughout the week. There is also a presentation of awards to outstanding students.