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Education: First ever fashion A Level launched

Lauretta Roberts
19 May 2016

Schools will be able to begin teaching the first ever fashion A Level course from September next year with the first students taking the exam in 2019. The new course aims to give students a firm grounding in fashion design, history and business to prepare them for jobs in the growing sector.

Exam board AQA announced the news today and revealed the qualification will contain an "in-depth look at the work of influential designers such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen and the impact they have had on fashion, textiles, design and manufacture."

Officially called Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles, the new A Level replaces the old Textiles course, which is part of the Product Design A Level.  As well as examining the work of influential designers it will also cover the "major historical design styles" and movements including Punk, Pop Art, Art Nouveau and Minimalism. In addition students will analyse socio-economic influences on fashion such as street culture, social media, the role of women in society, music, World War II and the rise of youth culture.

The course will combine the creative (students will create their own designs using new techniques and technologies) and the commercial side of fashion, including branding and marketing and also includes elements of maths and science. For example, students will learn equations to calculate how much material is required for a particular design.

"The UK's thriving fashion industry makes a huge contribution to the economy," said AQA qualifications developer Ben Galvin, "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."

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