Bachelor of Design (Fashion)

Become a skilled, industry-ready fashion professional with this globally recognised degree. You’ll develop your individual style and identity as a designer and prepare for the realities of the fashion world. Sewing skills aren't essential as long as you're into fashion and creativity, and you love to work hard and take risks.

About the programme

Become a fashion designer or skilled, industry-ready fashion professional with this internationally recognised qualification. 

Sewing skills aren't essential, as long as you're into fashion, you're creative, a hard worker and a risk taker. Our graduates have gone on to work for internationally acclaimed designers such as NOM*d, and to create successful labels such as Maaike and twenty-seven names.

This leading fashion degree is recognised for its international opportunities, industry connections and the chance to develop your style and identity as a designer.

The programme is hands on and reflects current industry practice. You'll develop your advanced design and technical skills, extend your market knowledge and explore enterprise opportunities.

Want your existing skills recognised?

If you have work experience and skills in this area, you may be able to complete an independent learning pathway to achieve this qualification in a shorter timeframe.

Our assessment of prior learning centre, Capable NZ, offers a 10 month full-time / 18-20 month part-time, work-based learning option.

Find out more 

What you'll study

This degree allows you to develop specialist and transferable skills that are sought after by employers but also well-suited to entrepreneurship and self-employment. 

You'll graduate as a work-ready designer. You'll also have an understanding of your responsibilities as a designer, learning to design better experiences, create more responsive products and services and consider people, planet and place in the process. 

Throughout your degree, you'll have the opportunities to work with design students from other disciplines and develop communication, organisation and collaboration skills through electives, and through interdisciplinary, individual and team-based projects.

Benefits of this fashion degree 
  • We offer a boutique learning environment – small classes mean your lecturers know you by name and can support you to develop your own ‘design identity’.
  • Studio-based learning with access to specialised equipment and spaces.
  • Exchange and study abroad opportunities in Europe and Asia.
  • Strong international fashion connections.
  • Individual, team and interdisciplinary learning opportunities.
  • Exhibitions and international competitions to showcase your creativity and talent.
  • Client projects, industry placements and internships which help you to become a work-ready graduate.
  • Employers love our fashion design graduates because they’re innovative, hard-working, solution-focused and well prepared for the realities of the fashion world.

Course overview

Year one 

The focus is on developing skills and techniques that allow you to practice as a fashion designer. These include an introduction to fashion design; drawing and communication skills; research and reflective practice; fabrics and textile development; manual and digital patternmaking; and industrial garment construction techniques. In design studios, you'll respond to a project brief, drawing on all your learning to design and create your own patterns and garments. 

Year two 

In your second year, you'll learn more advanced patternmaking and garment construction methods such as drape, grading and tailoring along with materials exploration and collection development. You'll become more critical in your thinking and designing, and learn more about your responsibilities as a designer. Your first design studio project will involve designing and making a small collection and later in the year you'll work in a team with an external fashion retail client to design, produce and market a commercial range for a target market.

Year three 

By this stage of your degree, you'll be starting to refine your own style and direction as a designer, as well as identifying your strengths and where you best fit in the creative industries. Through larger design projects, you can really extend your design and technical skills and develop a portfolio that will take you on to the next step in your fashion career. 

Further study options

Advance your design skills with our graduate or postgraduate qualifications in Design or Art, or expand your career prospects with a graduate teacher training programme. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.