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A student stood up working at a desk in a fashion studio with mannequins nearby Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch


Fashion - BA (Hons)

BA (Hons)


4 years
Study abroad


Teaching the fashion innovators of the future

ECA is known for cutting-edge fashion teaching that emphasises personal creative freedom and design innovation while giving you more tutor time than in most other Fashion programmes.

Our annual show is a highlight of Scotland’s fashion calendar.

Our students have won many leading awards, including the GFW George Gold Award for Best Collection (Lauren Smith, 2013), GFW Womenswear Collection of the Year (Melissa Villevieille, 2015), GFW Menswear Collection of the Year (Shauni Douglas and Olivia Creber, 2013), the Christopher Bailey Collection of the Year, the Considered Design Award and the Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award (Brian Mc Lysaght, 2019), David Band Textiles Award (Alexander Fan, 2019), George Catwalk to Store Award (Rosie Baird, 2019).

Together with the fashion industry group, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, we co-founded The Diversity Network exploring emotionally considerate design and social responsibility. Working closely with the National Galleries of Scotland, we integrate our research on body image, self-esteem and identity into all our teaching, helping you build your skills in responding with empathy to consumers and their diverse needs.

Learning keeping pace with industry

Fashion is multifaceted and ever-evolving. Our programme reflects this.

As shown in our annual DesignBook portfolio-building projects, we are renowned for upholding high standards of fashion drawing and presentation skills, helping you with understanding brand development and what it takes to shine in a creative business.

You will also develop a variety of technical and pattern-cutting skills - including creative cutting, small-scale cutting, tailoring and outerwear - and encouraged to develop innovations in fabrics, garment manufacture and finishings.

Ultimately, the final year offers you the opportunity to fully incorporate your design strengths into your graduate fashion collection, which can be explored through perspectives of accessory-led design, menswear, womenswear, knitwear and surface-led design. 


Your employment and career development are our priorities. We bring our industry experience and connections to each project, with opportunities to participate in competitions and lives briefs set by H&M, Dr Martens, Mackintosh, Sophie Halette and more. Our graduates have gone on to work for top design brands, including Balenciaga, H&M, Reiss, Cos, Warehouse, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Gucci, to name but a few.

Why you should choose this programme


Our graduates are employed by leading fashion houses around the world and are highly influential in all aspects of the industry.


We will nurture your individual design identity, enabling you to be expressive, visionary and provocative with a broad range of abilities.


We emphasise emotionally considerate design, inclusion, diversity and an empathic understanding of users' needs.


We collaborate with other disciplines across the School of Design and ECA and a range of external bodies, including leading designers.


In your graduate year, you may showcase your work at our annual ECA Fashion Show in Edinburgh and at Graduate Fashion Week in London.

Widening Participation

ECA works with the University of Edinburgh Widening Participation (WP) team.

Widening Participation for undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh

Find out about Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES), a Widening Participation programme for eligible S4 to S6 students at state secondary schools in the south-east of Scotland.

ACES website

How to apply & entry requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder, where you'll also be able to

  • see the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about fees
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

If you have any questions about the application process, your qualifications or deadlines, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:

Application process

Portfolio guidance

As part of your application, you are required to submit a portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply.

Assessors are not necessarily expecting a showcase of final work, but rather an indication of work in progress showing how you approach an idea or subject and develop the work from initial thought, through experimentation and enquiry, to resolved work. 


Portfolios are assessed by a team of academic staff who are particularly interested in how you research and develop ideas in a visual way and how you engage with your chosen discipline. This is broken down into four main areas of assessment, briefly summarised as follows:

  • Visual Research and Enquiry shows the level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.
  • Idea Development shows your ability to appropriately explore and develop ideas, and your level of skills in the use of materials or techniques.
  • Selection and Resolution shows how well you judge which ideas have the most appropriate potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.
  • Contextual Awareness shows the extent of your knowledge of the subject you have applied for and how your work relates to it.

How the content of a portfolio provides evidence for the above categories will vary enormously depending on the person and the subject being applied to, and no two portfolios will be the same.

Planning and presentation

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together. This means that your portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented.

Assessors will be judging your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic in your choice of material.

Aim to show a clear narrative or sense of the themes in your work, as well as the connections between the pieces.

If you have lots of high quality work, include it. It can show that you have talent in breadth and are hardworking and committed. If you haven’t, select your best: these key gems can show us that you know what you are good at, and how to show it. There is no need to pad out your portfolio with work you’re not happy with.

Each image can be accompanied by a small amount of text, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity. You should avoid including titles or descriptions of the work and instead explain the ideas behind the work, the challenge undertaken or any other significant factors.

It may also be useful to explain why you have included the image in its particular category (development work, resolved work or influences). Consideration should also be given to the graphical layout of the portfolio. Remember that assessors will be looking at your work on a screen so the digital image you present to them is what they assess, so be aware of the quality of photographs and scans. It is worth the time and effort to make your work look as good as possible.

The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your work e.g. people working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past; people interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past; natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places or events which have inspired or provoked a response.

A strong portfolio is likely to display the following:

  • Excellent drawing skills (e.g. creative fashion illustrations, life drawing, drawing clothes on people, still life) in a range of media with evidence of a personal illustration style.
  • An awareness of contemporary art, design and fashion.
  • Strong research skills from primary and secondary sources.
  • A good understanding of the development process through to final piece.
  • Consideration of professional presentation and styling of finished work.

In addition, applicants to 2nd year should be displaying:

  • Evidence of experimental 3D creative pattern-cutting.
  • Sewing skills and ability at garment manufacture.
What happens next?

We will contact you with our decision by mid-May. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Day.

Offer Holder Days typically take place in April and are opportunities for successful applicants to learn more about their subject areas and life as a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Whether you visit us in person or attend a virtual Offer Holder Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with academic staff and current students from your programme, tour the studios and other facilities and attend general information sessions.

Portfolio advice video

Design portfolio guidance

Join Interior Design lecturer Gillian Treacy who will talk you through how to put together a competitive portfolio for our Design programmes, and what our academics look for when assessing your work.

Get in touch

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
+44 (0)131 650 3565

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