Kingston University is the largest higher education provider in southwest London. Their BA Fashion course has long been an international benchmark for fashion education and regularly listed among the top 10 courses in prestigious rankings. FashionUnited recently spoke to David Stirling Frizzell, Course Leader BA (hons) Fashion at Kingston to discuss the impact of Covid-19, the type of courses the college offers, and the future plans of the institute.
How has the transition from in-house to remote learning been for the school and students?
The course has blended its teaching and learning strategy delivery and content, across physical and digital platforms. We strongly protect and value our studio and 3D practice while responding to and embracing new digital communication and design development.
Digital portfolio and 3D design realisation have equal academic and creative value at Kingston and are given equal study time either online or in the studio. The students have benefitted from online lectures, briefings, and tutorials as well as receiving more traditional technical practice education in silhouette, cut, and manufacturing in our workshops and socially distanced studio situations.
Staff and students have adapted to new environments and demanding new circumstances with flexibility and ingenuity.
How would you describe the Kingston student community?
The Kingston School of Art student community has passion and soul. They are concerned about their environment and experience. They are responsible thinkers and see their course as a place to question influence and relevance. They are constantly in dialogue with each other and the world around them.
Lockdown has diminished their socialisation –but they are bouncing back, dedicated to their opportunity. Kingston student ambition remains passionate, intent on achieving their goals, reaching their targets and realising outcomes. They are driven, highly inventive and determined to succeed.
What kind of courses does Kingston offer? What is the focus area?
Kingston offers a 3-4 year BA (Hons) Fashion Design course, focussing on 2D and 3D fashion design. We teach a variety of skills essential to the foundation of a successful career in the fashion industry – research, experiment, innovation, function, translation and professionalism. The course is industry-linked, resolved, coherent and contributory.
Fashion is very much about social history and creating context. Re-interpretation and Re-invention – using it creatively and making it relevant. That's a skill that needs to be taught. Our course introduces students to the processes and skills necessary to pursue a career in the fashion design industry. Our students graduate equipped to compete with the best.
What do we need to know about Kingston?
Kingston has always led in the field of fashion education. It is renowned for it. Our BA Fashion course has long been an international benchmark for fashion education, regularly listed among the top 10 courses in prestigious rankings.
Kingston has a long-established reputation for producing highly-skilled, competitive, industry-ready, design students. Our graduates are recruited and employed by a global network of brands. Our alumni populate the design rooms of the most influential and leading fashion companies.
Our students progress to the most prestigious Fashion MA courses (CSM; RCA).
Our students are competition winners.
Our position on national and international league tables is consistently high.
Our year out offers students the chance to study abroad in comparable institutions in Europe; Asia and North America and intern for a long list of exciting industry partners and sponsors globally.
What are the plans for this year? Any new things coming up?
We constantly review and modernise our content and connectivity. We are supporting large cohorts with a broad range of abilities and interests, differences and points of view. We are responding to shifting industry needs and requirements.
Our global culture and society must be reflected in our education and opportunities. We are providing a safe place for young people to express themselves, be themselves and feel included. We are protecting and encouraging personal stories, experiences and heritage to inform research and narrative. We champion individual and independent thinking.
Goals are to inspire trust, confidence and participation. To nurture self-belief and to inspire making things happen. Thinking through making. Our focus on responsible design leads to a new discussion, new experiment and design innovation as our students bring their concerns, new observations and issues.
Looking ahead as fashion does, by constantly asking 'what's next?' We renew and invigorate our philosophy. Introducing new software and renewed subject expertise as we move forward.
Do you have any tips for future students who want to study at Kingston?
Be ready. Do your research. Bring questions. Deconstruct design. What inspires you? Can you be inspired? Question Why? How? When? and Who?
Images: Kingston, by Philip Vile