1395160005Image © Michael Brandon
Posted by Saint John Walker Qualifications development | Animation | Games

No dummies here! The Tick is suddenly in Fashion

As Hannibal Heyes once opined, we love it when a plan comes together.

So when the Fashion Industry said they wanted to see the Tick (Creative Skillset’s course accreditation quality mark) applied to the best fashion courses in the country we jumped at the chance. This article is a reflection on how far we've come, from the floor of a special event we held this week to celebrate the emergence of the new Fashion Tick.

Examples of student work | Image: Michael Brandon

After all, we have now accredited 163 undergraduate and postgraduate courses ranging from animation, CGI, games, photo imaging, advertising, film, radio, media technology, post production, TV, video, publishing, broadcast, media business, interactive media and art and design. So why not signpost the best Fashion courses to both industry recruiters and prospective students alike?

Now, I’m no fashion expert (I base most of my fashion decisions on what doesn’t itch), but we leave the assessing to the experts. The Fashion Design Tick is led by fashion design industry panel-luminaries like Betty Jackson CBE and Anne Tyrrell MBE; Creative Director of MaxMara Eric Bremner; Iain Ewing, the Head of Design at John Lewis and Jo Hooper, Head of Buying Women’s wear, Creative Directors Sandy Verdon (Hobbs) and Gordon Richardson (Topman): Barbara Horspool, Product Director at Jigsaw; Daliah Simble, Head of Production and Sourcing at Roland Mouret, and the inimitable Nicole Farhi herself. If anyone can judge standards of excellence it’s them- and that’s what they did.

Image: Michael BrandonBetween March and December last year, 201 Industry days were spent on the pilot scheme. We had 17 applicant courses, and our industry assessors covered over 10,000 miles on visits to see the courses in action. That’s because like any course in any field that the Creative Skillset Tick operates in, it’s evidence-based. Industry needs to meet tutors and students alike. Assessors need to see the work in situ, and understand how the course tutors deal with the challenges of keeping up to date and getting industry support. Some people see this as a costly exercise, but our industry assessors all agree- and wouldn’t have it any other way- it’s the only way to really understand each course.

Elinor Renfrew of Kingston University

So after all the hard work seven courses were chosen based at; Birmingham City University, Kingston University, Manchester School of Art, Northbrook College, Nottingham Trent University, University of Huddersfield and the University of Westminster. We hope they’ll be the first wave of many - accreditation is open to all and we hope more of the 290 undergraduate fashion courses listed on UCAS will come forward for the tick soon. The great thing about applying is you get loads of advice from industry, and if you’re not ready you’ll get positive feedback on how to improve- all confidential and tailored to your course’s context.

For now though, we wanted to celebrate the achievement of those seven courses- and thank them for supplying the industry with great talent. The occasion to do that was at the Fashion Tick launch event at London’s Somerset House and over 100 industry names turned up. In her speech fashion doyenne Betty Jackson spoke of her admiration for the new wave of talent coming through these courses, and how thorough the visits had been.

Example of student work | Image: Michael BrandonShe reminded the audience how the industry panel had been looking for graduates who have a holistic approach to design and possess the essential triune skills of design, technical ability and commercial nous, or understanding their part in the full work flow process. The assessors had also looked for great communication and promotion skills on-screen and off. Lone genius is not enough- the need to speak to creative pattern cutters and other makers is at a premium. Also, it’s hard to predict the fashion industry of tomorrow, so innovative technique has to be blended with business ambition, ready to take advantage of new opportunities.

So let’s hear it for the Ticked Fashion courses. If you’re looking for a great place to study fashion, try these places- they’ve demonstrated to MaxMara, Roland Mouret, John Lewis, Topman and Jigsaw they can cut the mustard. If you’re recruiting, consider these courses in your milk round!

Check them out.

Birmingham City University BA (Hons) Fashion Design; Kingston University BA (Hons) Fashion Design; Manchester School of Art BA (Hons) Fashion Design; Northbrook College BA (Hons) Fashion; Nottingham Trent University BA (Hons) Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles; University of Huddersfield BA (Hons) Fashion Design; and the University of Westminster BA (Hons) Fashion Design. There'll be more to come. The Tick is part of this season's fashion.

From left to right; Joe McCullagh Manchester School of Art, Andrew Groves University of Westminster, Jo Jenkinson Manchester School of Art, Elinor Renfrew Kingston University, Gini Stirling Creative Skillset, Jane Grice Birmingham City University, Ian McInnes Nottingham Trent University, Claire Evans University of Huddersfield, Gordon Cooper Topman, Betty Jackson, Eric Bremner MaxMara, Daliah Simble Roland Mouret, Iain Ewing John Lewis, Theresa Parker Northbrook College, Sandy Verdon Hobbs, Kevin Almond University of Huddersfield
Whilst the event at Somerset House marked a celebration of the achievements of seven remarkable courses, and the closure of a huge amount of work, its also the start of a new future, as Eric Bremner of the MaxMara Group remarked:

The future success of the fashion industry depends on recruiting young designers whose talent and creativity has been nurtured and trained to the highest level. The Creative Skillset Tick  will provide prospective students with the assurance that those courses really will deliver the skills required by industry today.

The Fashion Tick is here to stay, it's not just a dummy run!

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