King James' School

Design & Technology: Fashion & Textiles

What’s it all about? 

Almost everything that we experience is affected by design: our environment, our homes, the products we use and wear. Good design is at the centre of our lives. Design Technology gives young people the opportunity to combine practical and technological skills with creative thinking to design and make real and useful products. And it’s the only part of the school curriculum that provides this opportunity.

 The study of fashion and textiles is exciting and challenging. Students work with a range of different materials and produce original, experimental work, whether sublimation printing or fabric manipulation. They are encouraged to look at textiles and fashions from different periods and cultures and interpret those designs using a repertoire of different techniques and processes. 

A level Fashion and Textiles offers the opportunity for talented students who can offer a combination of artistic, inventive and creative flair, the opportunity to express their ideas, technical knowledge and organisational skills. It is a multi-faceted course which especially needs interest, enthusiasm and determination. 

This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative Industries. They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing products of their choice. Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.

 This is arguably one of the most interesting times to study fashion and textiles.

 -   Consumers are no longer dictated to, nor slavishly follow, a handful of haute couture fashion figures. Today anything goes and emerging new talents are a constant feature of the London fashion world.

-   The industry’s impact on the environment is now well known; cotton manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries of all. The fashion industry’s efforts to minimise that damage have resulted in exciting new fabrics from new, man-made, “intelligent” fibres.

-   A global recession and an emphasis on recycling mean vintage clothing has been pushed to the forefront and with it a renewed appreciation for historical colours, prints and designs.

-   Globalisation, cheap travel and easy communication facilities mean the exchange of ideas and inspirations has never been easier or faster. The study of fashion and textiles is exciting and challenging.

Exam and Assessment Information:


Paper 1 - Written examination

What´s assessed - Core technical principles and core designing and making principles.

Written exam: 2 hours, 25% of A level

Paper 2 -Written examination

What´s assessed - Additional specialist knowledge, core technical and core designing and making principles.

Written exam: 2 hours, 25% of A level

Non-exam assessment (NEA)

What´s assessed - Practical application of core technical principles, core designing and making principles and additional specialist knowledge.

Evidence: Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

45 hours, 50% of A-level

To get started: 

A grade C or above in a GCSE Design and Technology subject is requisite to access the course fully.  You will also need to show commitment in meeting frequent deadlines to produce an extensive design portfolio and be willing to work beyond the four hours of lesson-time in order to fully access the facilities at your disposal.

What next? 

“The UK’s thriving fashion industry makes a huge contribution to the economy," AQA Qualifications Developer Ben Galvin said of the course, which will be available to teach from September 2017. "It employs hundreds of thousands of people and is one of our most sought-after exports. It’s important that we support the growth of this industry by developing young people with a solid understanding of the commercial, creative and technical sides of the trade. This new A-level will enable students to learn about some of the most influential and iconic designers and movements to demonstrate the history of the industry and its importance within our society.” 

Fashion and textiles is a major employer in the UK offering a highly diverse and exciting range of career opportunities: fashion designer, fabric designer, pattern cutter, interior design, textile art, fashion journalism, stylist, window dresser, buyer, merchandiser, fashion marketing, footwear design, fashion retailing, costume design for theatre and film and/or fashion illustration. 

All in all it’s an exciting, relevant, rigorous and challenging 21st century subject - which most young people know. It inspires students to follow careers in design and the creative industries - the careers of the 21st century. And it provides all students with an opportunity to develop creative and practical skills which will equip them for life in a modern, technological society.

Our students say … 

"If you enjoyed GCSE Textiles then you will love A Level! You get a lot more freedom, gain new skills and enjoy yourself at the same time. However you must be willing to work extremely hard and put in the hours!”  Georgia Ashworth 

"Textiles is an extremely enjoyable and creative subject where you have freedom to work independently whilst having the support available from teachers to ensure a unique and successful garment is made. You must be committed and work hard but it´s worth it to have your designs turned into an imaginative product that you are proud of."  Amanda Booley


Design & Technology: Fashion & Textiles

Design & Technology: Fashion & Textiles