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 2020 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 2D and 3D 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:

  • Effective communication skills encompassing performative, oral, visual and written forms (C.2)
  • Ability to respond to constructive criticism and feedback (C.3)
  • Development of an original aesthetic sensibility (I.1)
  • Ability to speculate, experiment, challenge boundaries and take risks (I.2)
  • Demonstrated self-directed learning and self-initiated problem-solving (P.1)
  • Ability to utilise effective time management (P.4)
  • Accuracy, rigour and care (P.5)
  • Ability to undertake in-depth research, including both visual and written forms (R.1)
  • Capacity to interpret complex ideas (R.4)

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.

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject involves weekly sessions including a 1-hour Interactive Lecture Session and a 2.5 hour Design Studio. Lectures are configured to rely upon students completing preparation tasks in advance of the lectures including readings, or viewing short videos, or website links, or briefly researching key terms or topics. This preparation work will enable student to contribute to group discussions or participate in activities and build on their initial understanding of the subject matter during the interactive lecture session. This subject is studio based. In each studio session students receive feedback from design lecturers and peers whilst continuing to work on projects they are preparing and completing outside studio session times.

A range of teaching and learning strategies are implemented including: lectures; discussions; studio activities; group work; and student presentations. These are complemented by independent student reading, reflection on studio work, and individual project work and collaborative activities. The program responds to current opportunities to invite occasional guest lecturers and for additional student participation.

In the Design Studio, students collaborate with a partner on tasks that generate design ideas and perspectives on the design process. Regular collaborative feedback and critique sessions are integrated into weekly design studios. Formative feedback will be given to students weekly in the studio sessions by the Design lecturer which will help students' progress within the subject. Lecture and studio activities include preparatory work involving; undertaking readings; visual and conceptual research; web research; illustration and photographic work.

For Assessment Task 1: Design studio folder, students will prepare a weekly record of design activities in an A4 journal. Further documentation of their work process, visual and written research and design development is the focus of Assessment Task 2. Assessment Task 3 involves a design project, parts of which are undertaken in collaboration with Fashion communication subject (83622 Studio: Fashion Illustration Fundamentals 1).

Assessments are project based, combining supervised in-class work and individual learning. These are complemented by independent student reading, engagement with interactive lecture content, reflection on work completed in studio and individual project work alongside collaborative strategies on multimedia platforms including UTSOnline. Students are provided with weekly in class feedback in this studio-based subject.

This subject is offered in face-to-face studio sessions that incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies, in-class presentations by tutors, discussions, in-class design critiques, combining design thinking and making, and student presentations. Prior reading, research and reflection on the collaborative and individual tasks complement each studio.


Your Design Tutors will offer feedback weekly in your Design Studio class. Students will receive on the spot instruction and support from their Design Tutors as well as having many opportunities 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; UTSOnline 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 or A3 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 Design Portfolio


This assessment is designed to allow students an opportunity to incrementally develop design skills in response to conceptual ideas in creative and exploratory ways. Students will undertake individual research and design in response to their research. Weekly design tasks will be set to introduce students to a range of ideas, design methods and conceptual design challenges. A variety of active analogue methods will be explored including collage, sketching, photography and image manipulation - some of these tasks will use a fashion template and others will be more free-form design exercises. Students will develop a portfolio of sequential design tasks where they will have the opportunity to experiment with the manipulation and re-interpretation of visual material into fashion designs.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3, 4 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.4

Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Process Journal shows an experimental and exploratory approach to design tasks. 17 2 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. 17 3 P.1
Process Journal shows proficiency in ability to undertake written and visual research, with a variety of visual and written methods used. 17 1 R.1
Design Portfolio shows strong and clear communication skills; layouts are clean and professionally presented with appropriate visual and written representation of conceptual and physical outcomes 17 4 C.2
Design Portfolio 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. 17 3 R.4
Student has been engaged in studio and consistent in development of weekly work. 15 7 P.4
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Design Research


This assessment task is designed to develop skills in visual research and design development methods. In this task students’ will document their research, a unique design development process and undertake reflective writing in a design journal. The aim of this journal is to capture design research, experiment and develop new ideas in response to the research for a fashion collection through a series of incremental thumbnail sketches that explore a range of different design outcomes throughout the whole design process. The journal can clearly document the incremental and often non-linear nature of design thinking and provides students with an opportunity to reflect upon their design practice through a series of written reflections about their design process in relation to the conceptual and visual research that they have identified. Students’ will undertake self-directed visual and conceptual research into Architecture and consider how their research might be interpreted and developed into a key design concept and applied within a variety of ways in a fashion range of dresses. The journal is used here as a research and design development tool in parallel with Task 3, the Fashion Design project. Students will consider how architects work with ideas and consider how they might work in a similar way as they develop their own self-directed design work. Students’ will develop a unique fashion design collection of dresses that are influenced by the physical and conceptual elements of architecture that they have identified through their research.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 5, 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.3, I.2, P.1, P.5 and R.1

Type: Journal
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
1. Process Journal shows exploratory and inventive approaches to the design tasks with additional self-directed work well chosen and relevant. 17 2 P.1
2. ‘Written Research’ and ‘Anecdotal/’qualitative’ research shown in the presentation shows relevant and high quality material and ability to undertake in depth written analysis and relevant interpretive language skills. 17 5 R.1
3. ‘2D and 3D Collage’ shown in the presentation shows strong experimental and exploratory approach in developing visual and three-dimensional material, strong visual skills shown. 17 3 I.2
Fabric Experimentation’ shown in the presentation shows experimental approach with care and rigour shown in working with textile relevant materials. 17 6 P.5
5. New ‘Fashion Body’ Garment shown in the presentation is completed to a high standard and shows a strong ability to work in an experimental way in manipulation of fabrics into novel forms. 17 3 I.2
6. Student has been engaged in studio and consistent in development of weekly work, responding well to feedback and constructive criticism. 15 7 C.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Collection Design


This assessment task is a Fashion Design Project and provides an opportunity for you to showcase your design skills in a professional presentation format. The task requires students to present and professionally communicate a final developed range of 6 dresses inspired by visual and conceptual research into Architecture. The dress designs should work as a cohesive fashion range. Task 2 and Task 3 are to be developed in parallel as one supports the development of the other, evidence of clearly established links between the tasks will be an important factor in assessment. In Thinking Fashion students’ will be assessed on their ability to interpret a key visual design concept and develop this into a unique fashion range, and on the overall integration of their conceptual and visual (image-based) research, evidence of an innovative iterative design development, the successful indication of how manipulated textiles can be applied into the range and creative conceptual (ideas-based) design thinking. Students should aim to indicate in their journal how and why they made particular design decisions: What particular aspects of their research influenced them? How were these influenced applied within the range? Why were they applied in that particular way? How was this testing through experimentation (including sequential thumbnail sketches, image manipulation and textile manipulations)?

The dress designs should have clearly evolved from both Task 1 – the design portfolio (innovative design methods like those introduced in Task 1 should be used to develop original dress designs) and Task 2 – the design journal (the fashion range should clearly have evolved from and mirror the design development documented in the research journal) – this should be shown in Task 2, The Journal through:

  • a series of sequential developed thumbnail sketches which clearly indicate incremental design development;
  • experimental image manipulation that shows how the designs have evolved through creative application of design elements including silhouette, line, shape, structure, colour, texture and pattern;
  • experimental application of design principles for fashion;
  • written reflective statements that indicate how and why the designs have evolved in specific ways in response to both design development and research;
  • written reflective statements about how the designs have evolved in response to the students’ visual and conceptual research into Architecture;
  • and include details of experimentation into textile manipulations and reflective comments about how and why these have been applied in the final fashion range.

The Fashion Design Project Task 3 and The Journal Task 2 are to be submitted together. They should clearly be linked as described above, Task 2 should clearly how the Task 3 outcomes developed and indicate why certain design decisions were made.

To help students understand the context of illustration, digital design and presentation, students will be undertaking components of Task 3 within Studio: Fashion Illustration Fundamentals 1 (83622) Assessment Task 3.

While the subject is linked through this work to Studio: Fashion Illustration Fundamentals 1 (83622), the subject focussed work will be assessed separately.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

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, P.5 and R.4

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Fabrications and manipulations developed are relevant to fashion and the body, and show a balanced and fashion relevant palette, integrated well into the designed collection. 15 6 I.1
Conceptual development of the collection is derived from the student’s body of research and utilises strong and clear interpretive skills in developing a clear, thoughtful and complex design strategy for their fashion collection. 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 shows care and rigor, with fashion bodies relevant to the sector and concepts of the collection. 15 4 C.2
Communication of the collection in technical sketches shows care, rigor and a strong technical sensibility and construction knowledge. All relevant and essential details shown with correct, industry standard illustrative practices. 15 4 P.5
Student has been engaged in studio and consistent in development of weekly work, showing self-directed learning, problem solving and responsive to constructive criticismStudent has been engaged in studio and consistent in development of weekly work, showing self-directed learning, problem solving and responsive to constructive criticism. 10 7 C.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The minimum class attendance requirement is 80%.
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

Please refer to Assessment Handout and UTS online for recommended texts

Recommended texts

Please refer to Assessment Handout and UTS online for recommended texts


Please refer to Assessment Handout and UTS online for recommended texts

Other resources

Please refer to Assessment Handout and UTS online for recommended texts