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Art and Design

Welcome to the exciting world of Fashion and Textile design

The BVA Fashion and Textiles programme offers you the opportunity to explore specialised interest areas, including formal design and merchandising as it relates to the fashion, interiors and textile industry or technological innovation relating to hi-tech and natural fibres, printing, knitting and weaving systems.

This course is unique in South Africa, as a Mandela University Fashion and Textile student you will be exposed to the design and manufacture of both textile and fashion design in a single integrated programme. This means that it is possible for you to design and print a range of textiles, then create a range of fashion garments made from your own textiles. The Fashion and Textiles programme is housed in a large, single-building facility on the 2nd Avenue campus.

The NMU is currently the only South African university with a specific focus on mohair fibres. The Fashion and Textiles programme is extremely proud of our longstanding relationship with Mohair South Africa (MSA). MSA provides substantial student support in the form of bursaries and the provision of mohair textiles. The focus on mohair in aspects of our programme means that students are exposed to machine knitting processes in addition to traditional sewing-based manufacture. Students who excel in the mohair projects have the opportunity to show their ranges at various international shows in China, Japan and the United Kingdom.


How we teach Fashion and Textiles

Our teaching emphasis is on sound design processes. We will equip you with the ability to identify and structure an idea, and to translate your ideas into the design and then manufacture of a garment or textile range. The design process is supported by on-site sewing and knitting manufacturing facilities. Our dedicated computer lab offers students access to the very latest LECTRA (CAD/CAM) pattern-making and garment software. Photoshop supplements the LECTRA software and students are also exposed to digital drawing and related visualization techniques.

We also focus on student collaboration with other disciplines. Fashion and Textiles students do selected projects with Photography and Graphic Design students: the Graphic Design students are responsible for creating logo and brand identity systems, while Photography students shoot the fashion and textile ranges. Both the brand identity and photography are used by Fashion and Textiles students in marketing materials, such as business cards and social media. These real-life collaborations are an extremely valuable and exciting learning tool and are a hallmark of our BVA qualification.

All students are required to create a range of garments that will be shown and examined on the catwalk of the Collective Graduate Fashion Show. The annual Collective Graduate Fashion Show provides students with real-world experience of fashion shows: in addition to showing their ranges, students are involved in various aspects of fundraising, sponsorship and ticket sales. The best ranges on show are often invited to SA Fashion Week and other high profile showcase events.

The BVA Fashion and Textiles qualification aims to expose our students to sound theoretical knowledge as well as practical execution in studio. As a Fashion and Textiles student, you will be trained to:

  • identify and interpret fashion trends within a specific context or market area;
  • be informed on developments in textiles, colour and design processes;
  • analyse and evaluate historical and cultural influences in the course of clothing and fashion design development;
  • develop and prepare design solutions for the manufacture of garments for selected market sectors;
  • interpret fashion changes in the commercial environment with existing and related technology;
  • investigate the cost effectiveness of garments through innovative production technology methods, including (CAD/CAM);
  • apply practical skills in pattern adaptation and garment assembly by using appropriate materials, equipment and processes;
  • foster communication on all levels of production and management by written, verbal and visual methods;
  • acquire computer literacy skills for communication purposes;
  • apply the your managerial, marketing and costing skills to initiate self-employment.