University of Technology Sydney

83119 Thinking Fashion

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides a foundation to fashion design practice. Through a series of lectures and design studio tutorials, students gain knowledge and design skills to enable them to undertake practical and theoretical investigation into the area of fashion practice.

The lecture series introduces students to key theories of fashion on the cultural, political and social significance of the dressed body. Topics include the fashion system, semiotics of fashion, introduction to fashion history, fashion as art and conceptual approaches to fashion.

Design studios provide a practical context to examine the relationships between a range of media, creative exploration and conceptual development. The subject culminates in the creation of an original fashion design project utilising conceptual approaches and practical investigation.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Develop proficiency in primary and secondary visual research methods to inform design development and expand avenues of personal research.
2. Be adept in design development skills for fashion through active analogue methods including sketching and collage.
3. Demonstrate an increased capacity to apply design thinking in a conceptually informed design process and develop the capacity to explore a creative interpretation of conceptual and physical ideas into individual design solutions.
4. Develop communication skills for appropriate visual and written representation of conceptual and physical design ideas in fashion and textiles.
5. Develop proficiency in design language and concepts, and acquire an understanding of the elements and principles of design and their potential for creative applications in fashion and textile design.
6. Acquire capability in the material knowledge of textiles for fashion, and an understanding of how the unique properties and performance of textiles influence fashion design applications.
7. Develop a capacity for reflective thinking and writing alongside a process of design development through journal keeping and a reflective writing practice.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Effectively communicate concepts in fashion and textiles in performative, oral, visual and written forms (C.2)
  • Respond to constructive criticism and feedback (C.3)
  • Develop an original aesthetic sensibility (I.1)
  • Demonstrate an ability to speculate, experiment, challenge boundaries and take risks (I.2)
  • Demonstrate self-directed learning and self-initiated problem-solving (P.1)
  • Effectively manage time to complete projects with accuracy, rigour and care (P.4)
  • Analyse and synthesise knowledge in both visual and written forms to undertake in-depth research. (R.1)
  • Interpret complex ideas and connect them to fashion and textile practice. (R.4)
  • Ability to apply ethical Indigenous practices and critically reflect on how this will influence future professional practice to work for and with Indigenous Australians across fashion and textile projects and industry (R.5)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject contributes to the course educational aims to produce graduates with high levels of:

  • creativity and innovation
  • communication and interpersonal skills, practical and professional skills
  • critical thinking and research skills
  • professional and personal attitudes and values.

The term CAPRI is used for the five Design, Architecture and Building faculty graduate attribute categories where:

C = communication and groupwork

A = attitudes and values

P = practical and professional

R = research and critique

I = innovation and creativity.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs) are linked to these categories using codes (e.g. C-1, A-3, P-4, etc.).

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject involves weekly Lectures and a 2 hour Design Studio. This subject is offered in face-to-face studio sessions and online sessions for remote students.


Your Design Tutors will offer feedback weekly in your Design Studio class. Students will receive instruction and support from their Design Tutors and will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with their peers and engage in self-evaluation.

Student’s will be able to self-assess their work in the ReVIEW platform and formal written (or recorded oral) feedback will be provided for each of the assessment tasks and will be available from ReVIEW.

Preparatory activities:

Preparation activities for interactive lectures and studio’s will vary week-to-week. Some weeks will involve engaging with resources such as videos, websites, readings or self-directed learning or design exercises. As the students’ progress through the subject, preparatory activities may include fabric sourcing, designing in response to briefs, research etc. prior to class. Preparatory activities will be listed in the subject outline; Canvas or they will be emailed to you the week prior. To make the most of your studio time and feedback session with the Design Tutors, it is important that preparatory activities and weekly design tasks are completed prior to class.

Engaging in Tutorials:

Students are encouraged to prepare themselves each week by addressing the preparatory activities or researching the topic. Studio classes will involve meeting with the Design Tutors weekly to discuss your research, concepts and design progress and weekly feedback will be discussed with students and documented. There will be opportunities for students to ask questions, clarify issues, explore ideas and create discussion.

Independent and self-managed learning:

There is ongoing encouragement for students to learn from each other as well as reflect on their experiences within the tutorial sessions. The requirement for self-directed learning and time-management (in and out of class) mirrors the requirements of professional practice. Self-management strategies and independent learning are crucial to continuing development as a design practitioner. The subject outline will provide you with a guide regarding weekly requirements; it will be up to students to adhere to the week-by-week program.

Collaborative opportunities:

Collaborative tasks involve students working within small groups in workshops that will involve offering and receiving feedback and constructive criticism related to design development.

The format of the collaboration will be documented within your journal each week. Informal feedback will be given to students weekly in Design Studio classes by Design Mentor staff, which will help student’s progress within the subject. Workshop activities include: visual and research, image manipulation, primary research through photography, drape, and fabric manipulation. Students will prepare an A4 journal to document their work process, visual and written research and design development of their Assessment tasks.

*Where relevant, design projects from the core study subjects of fashion are used as the basis for projects and exercises in these studios.

Content (topics)

  • Introduction to Fashion studies
  • Exploration of design process through creative problem solving
  • Process journals and process documentation
  • Design concepts and conceptual design
  • Design principles and elements
  • Introduction to research for fashion design
  • Conceptualising and designing fashion ranges
  • Introduction to fabric technology


Assessment task 1: Fashion Research


This assessment is designed to allow students an opportunity to incrementally develop design research skills and an individual creative practice for fashion. Weekly design tasks are set to introduce students to a range of research practices for fashion including, readings, working with images, collaborative design methods and conceptual design challenges that they are to complete. From a rich body of this experimental process work, students will curate a portfolio of completed design tasks for presentation.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.2, I.2, P.1, P.4, R.1 and R.5

Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Process Journal shows an experimental and exploratory approach to design tasks. 15 5 I.2
Process Journal shows evidence of weekly progress and increased proficiency in individual self-directed learning, design thinking and understanding of fashion design practice. 15 3 P.1
Process Journal shows proficiency in ability to undertake written and visual research, with a variety of visual and written methods used. 15 1 R.1
Process Journal shows strong and clear communication skills; layouts are clean and professionally presented with appropriate visual and written representation of conceptual and physical outcomes 15 4 C.2
Process Journal showcases a strong body of work, with tasks showing a strong capacity to interpret and comprehend complex conceptual and visual ideas in completion of all design tasks. 15 3 R.5
Student has been engaged in studio and consistent in development of weekly work. 15 7 P.4
Process Journal shows sensitivity and understanding of indigenous ethical concerns for fashion practitioners 10 7 R.5
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Fashion Body of Work


The task brings together skills and knowledge acquired through previous assessment tasks in a final body of work. Students have been introduced to the way fashion designers research and develop a ‘creative practice’ drawing on a vast range of practices (working with fabrics, mark making, draping on the stand etc), discourses / written research (concepts, ideas, articles, etc) and visual research (collage, image-making etc). Students have explored sketch, collage, exploratory drape and image manipulation. For this assessment you will put these skills into practice towards a self-directed body of work. You will use your research skills to create a rich body of research towards a final fashion outcome.

For this Assessment Task you will undertake your own self-directed research and experimentation for a chosen concept. You will be using this body of work to directly inform a final fashion outcome. This is a speculative project meaning that designs will be illustrated - you will not be required to construct all items. It is important to be decisive and move through a variety of different experimental exploratory tasks, avoid laboring over single tasks and aim for a diverse approach to research. The focus here is to create rich body of work that you can then draw from for your Fashion Series.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.2, C.3, I.1, I.2, R.1 and R.4

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Research presents a thorough investigation and intellectual discourse around chosen theme. 15 1 R.1
Conceptual development of the work is derived from the studentís body of research and utilises strong and clear interpretive skills in developing a clear, thoughtful and complex design strategy for their fashion work. 15 3 R.4
Development of garment designs has been undertaken to a high standard with different forms and mediums explored in the generation of design ideas, maintaining an exploratory and experimental approach to fashion. 15 2 I.2
Innovative approaches to design thinking including conceptual and practical design development demonstrating originality and creativity are evident in the design project. 15 3 I.2
Communication of the collection in Fashion Illustrations and technical sketches shows care and rigor, with fashion bodies relevant to the sector and a strong technical sensibility and construction knowledge. All relevant and essential details shown with correct, industry standard illustrative practices. 15 4 C.2
Fabrications and/or manipulations developed are relevant to fashion and the body, and show an attention to fabrication, aesthetics and sustainable practice, integrated well into the designed collection. 15 6 I.1
Student has been engaged in studio and consistent in the development of weekly work showing self-directed learning, problem solving and responsive to feedback. 10 7 C.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.

Please note students are expected to attend their allocated studio on Friday plus a lecture. Students are expected to attend for all contact hours. Attendence is recorded in lectures and studio. Week to week attendence and particiation for all studios will be recorded and is an assessable component of the subject.

Required texts

Textilepedia, The Complete Fabric Guide (2021) Fashionary, HK

Recommended texts

The Denim Manual, A Complete Visual Guide for the Denim Industry (2022) Fashionary HK

Please refer to Assessment Handout and Canvas for recommended texts


Please refer to Assessment Handout and Canvas for recommended texts

Other resources

Please refer to Assessment Handout and Canvas for recommended texts