Stuck choosing between BA Textile Design and BA Fashion? Let Emily and Aurora help!

Stuck choosing between BA Textile Design and BA Fashion? Let Emily and Aurora help!

Meet Emily Shires, a second year BA (Hons) Textile Design student and Aurora Hampson, a second year BA (Hons) Fashion student.

Both Emily and Aurora were torn between pursuing Fashion and Textile Design at NUA. We spoke to them all about how they made their choice, and whether they’re happy with the route they’ve chosen.

BA Textile Design student Emily Shires on the left and BA Fashion student Aurora Hampson on the right
Emily, left, Aurora, right

Which course did you apply to NUA for and what did you study at college?

Emily: I applied for Textile Design at NUA and Interior Design. I quickly decided that I preferred Textiles, but wanted to keep my options open.

At college I did quite a traditional combination of three A-levels (History of Art, English Literature and Drama) as well as two creative AS’s (Photography and Textiles)

Aurora: I applied to study BA Fashion. At Sixth Form I studied A Level Fashion and Textiles, English Language and Literature, Fine Art and I also did an EPQ artefact project which focused on sustainable fashion.

Why were you torn between Fashion and Textile Design?

Emily: I wanted to know how to make a full garment and create a full aesthetic piece. But I also liked the idea of being able to develop my sewing skills.

I wanted to develop my understanding and use of colour/texture and I couldn’t do this without textile design. I wanted a broader view of design, for example designing for interiors.

Aurora: Throughout school I had always learnt both Fashion and Textiles together and initially I didn’t know the difference.

After researching, I thought about which areas I preferred when studying it for A Level and which course that would fit into. I decided I was more drawn to making clothes and sewing than the surface design/pattern on the clothing. 

Emily Shires, BA Textile Design
Emily Shires, BA Textile Design
Emily Shires, BA Textile Design
Emily Shires, BA Textile Design
Above: Emily’s Textile Design work

Are you happy with your decision?

Emily: Yes, textiles is so versatile. You can experiment with any medium and I find it easier in this way to develop my own practices, as the possibilities seem endless as to what kind of texture or print you can create.

Aurora: Yes, Fashion was the right decision for me. Especially as you can still incorporate elements of textiles into the Fashion course.

What’s been the best bit of the course so far?

Emily: learning to use the domestic and industrial (Dubied) knitting machines. This is something that I’d been wanting to do for a long time. Also, working with others on my course, sharing ideas and inspiring each other.

Aurora: Definitely the fashion history essay in first year, as I had no idea how intriguing fashion history was and how much it shapes fashion today.

We were taken to Shirehall in Norwich and visited one of Queen Victoria’s mourning dresses to study, we were even allowed to touch and examine the garment.

Have you been able to collaborate with the other course?

Emily: Yes we have. In first year we had a day to collaborate and produce a garment with clothes from charity shops, for cancer research UK’s new shop in Great Yarmouth. You can also collaborate individually with fashion students at any time you wish.

Aurora:Yes, the lecturers encourage it. This year, I have been using their sublimation and digital printing resources to create a checked fabric for my collection. 

Even though the textiles technicians are on a different course they are so lovely and welcoming you feel just as much at home there as in Fashion.

Aurora Hampson, BA Fashion
Aurora Hampson, BA Fashion
Aurora Hampson, BA Fashion
Above: Aurora’s Fashion work

What skills would you say are vital for your course?

Emily: I think a massive amount of enthusiasm and a willingness to try anything that you might want to do. 

Rory: Be open minded to new ideas to not restrict your designing, basically have happy accidents.

Also, problem solving, being inquisitive, ask questions, research, find answers or new ways of doing things. Always think why?

What do you want to do when you graduate?

Emily: I have different ideas everyday of what I want to do once I graduate!

The advantage of textile design is that it can take you down so many different avenues that you never even knew previously existed.

At the moment I am looking into doing further post-graduate study, if not I would like to be a children’s designer.

Aurora: So much! One option is to do a masters in fashion history or textiles conservation. I would love to work in museums or for the National Trust.

Another option is a masters in historic costume and making accurate historical costumes for films/TV. Or start up an antiques and vintage clothing shop. Who knows!