module specification

SJ4008 - Fashion History and Concepts (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Fashion History and Concepts
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
90 hours Placement / study abroad
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 20%   10 minute group presentation on an emerging design talent
Group Coursework 20%   Group project: 1,000 words (per student),
Coursework 40%   1,500 word individual report
Coursework 20%   Class contribution online journal
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

 This module provides an introduction to the discipline of fashion/beauty through analysis and understanding of a range of social, practical and theoretical issues, studying how history has shaped today’s fashion & beauty media and marketing industry. It is suitable for those on all fashion-related courses.
Looking at fashion in a UK and international context, the module will outline the economic, social and historical significance of the fashion & beauty industry alongside an understanding of terminology, product life cycles and the industry’s seasons. The module aims to develop cultural and commercial understanding of the industry through exploration of case studies, trends, sustainability and global contexts. Students will be enabled to understand how fashion and beauty has evolved and how careers within it are constantly evolved.
Taught through a mixture of lectures, practical workshops, site visits and guest speakers
Assessment will be through multimedia group presentation, group coursework, individual coursework and tutor-moderated self-reflection.

Module aims



• The module will cover the following areas:
● Global overview of the fashion & beauty industry and associated lifestyle industries; LO1, LO2, LO5
● Core study of fashion/beauty through time – to develop a well-rounded, thorough and insightful understanding of fashion’s rich history; Designers of note within modern history (including key case studies); LO3, LO5
● Fashion seasons and cycles, from production to purchase; LO3, LO4
● Life cycle of a garment – from field to shop floor; LO3, LO4
● Trend spotting and forecasting in the fashion environment; LO1, LO3, LO4
● Key players in design, production, retailing, marketing, forecasting, media and public relations; LO3, LO4
● Understanding the context of the modern global fashion and beauty industry; LO2, LO3
● Economic significance of the industry (globally and within the UK); LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5
● Ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability; LO2, LO5
● World cities of fashion, their history and global trade; LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5
● Effect of political, economic, sociological and technological factors on global and local fashion/beauty; LO1, LO4, LO5
● Relationships between business environments and fashion cycles, zeitgeist and industry innovation. LO1, LO5
● Group work will foster social skills
● Individual assessments will develop writing skills.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching is through interactive workshops with a mix of teaching (with multimedia support), group work, case studies, field trips and individual learning. Weblearn is used, including discussion forums, to share ideas and information and assess class contribution via journals and discussion boards. Work can build up PDP. Journals contribute to self-reflection.
        Extensive personal reading is required to develop a thorough understanding of fashion history, trend terminology and pivotal developments in the industry.
One-to-one tutorials are held throughout the module, as well as small group-based shared learning/exchange of ideas/critique of texts, building social skills and presentations.
Regular debate and presentations thus develop confidence and social/audience skills, crucial to the industry.

Learning outcomes

students attend all the sessions and work through all the assessments, they should be able to:
1. Demonstrate how key points in fashion history relate to contemporary fashion and beauty trends and business;
2. Be able to use knowledge and critical understanding of the industry’s significance in a broader professional and academic context;
3. Be able to identify trends and concepts within the industry and within society;
4. Demonstrate a good working knowledge of major case studies, products, brands and trends within an academic and professional context;
5. Be able to use historical context when analysing day-to-day challenges within the industry workplace.

Assessment strategy

 To increase confidence, professionalism, teamwork and employability, students will engage in assessed group presentation, a group project including multimedia elements, a detailed individual report and self reflection on participation and engagement across the module, moderated through an online journal.
This is in line with professional practice, which calls for teamwork and individual, self-starting capacities. Prompt feedback on journals (within one week) builds formative assessment. First formative assessment is marked within one week. Subsequent assignments within two weeks.
Students will receive individual tutorials throughout the course and group/peer-to-peer feedback during workshops, alongside detailed feedback on assignments in tutorials and via weblearn.
Class engagement will be assessed through contribution to an online journal.
Assessments are timed to spread the loads across the year.
Learning outcomes build within each assessment.


          No core text, but books in bold especially useful
● Beckert, S (2015). Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism. Penguin Books Ltd. London.
● DK (no named author) (2012). Fashion. Dorling Kindersley. London.
● Eco, U (2010). On Beauty: A History of a Western Idea. MacLehose Press. London.
● Eldridge, L (2015). Face Paint: The Story of Makeup. Abrams.
● Fukai, A (2006). Fashion. A History from the 18th to the 20th century. Taschen. Germany.
● Hughes, S (2014). Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion. Fourth Estate. UK.
● Hughes, S (2016). Pretty Iconic: A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World. Fourth Estate. UK.
● Karekar, R (2014). Fashion Ethics and Sustainability: Bringing Change from High Street to Luxury. Lap Lambert Academic Publishing. Germany.
● Kelly, I and Westwood, V (2015). Vivienne Westwood. Reprints edition. Picador. London.
● Lavergne, M (2015). Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes. New Society Publishers. Canada.
● Watt, J (2013). Alexander McQueen: The Life and Legacy. Harper Design. New York.
● Wilson, E (2009). Revised edition. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. London.
● Young, L (2017). Timeless: A Century of Iconic Looks. Mitchell Beazley.

     Ethical Fashion Forum:

     V&A Home Page - Victoria and Albert Museum: