Fashion Business Management MA
View course-specific entry requirements
Entry to the course is based on a combination of formal qualifications and significant industry experience. You should have a First or Upper Second in your first degree in any subject, as well as a minimum of two years' working experience in the fashion industry after graduation, although three years' experience is preferred.
This course will equip you with the strategic decision-making, leadership and problem-solving skills you will need to become an entrepreneurial and visionary fashion business leader of the future. It continues the University's fashion tradition of a commitment to excellence in developing highly effective, talented and committed professional fashion graduates.
Working closely with fashion industry professionals, role models and mentors, you will receive a relevant, well-grounded, high-quality education and skill base enabling you to have a wider, clearer understanding of the business you are already involved in. The course offers inside knowledge of industry strategies and cultures on a global basis, combined with key business skills and essential fashion industry management knowledge.
This course equips you for a business management career in the domestic or international fashion industry. Delivered by a teaching team with a wide range of experience both in industry and academia, the course offers an innovative and relevant fashion business curriculum that focuses on preparing your entry into senior roles in business and management within the industry.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Core modules, semester one
FASHION BUSINESS AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
The fashion business dynamics and its fast-shifting product sourcing require an adaptable attitude to spot opportunities emerging around the world. Building profitable relationships with partners and suppliers and balancing costs and risks are key challenges.
To transform an idea into a commercial product involves a complex route: this module is designed to provide an overall understanding of how to manage a fashion business from concept to customer. It will explore a variety of perspectives on global product sourcing and global supply chain issues with the aim of preparing you for the challenges of developing and maximising a strategy whilst still responding efficiently and effectively to constant changes in consumer demand.
Within the generic fashion business process developing, managing and sourcing fashion products from the right locations to ensure you can work to create an organisation that can deliver the right product in the right place at the right time. Building profitable relationships with partners and suppliers, balancing both cost and risk with lead times are key challenges facing the fashion industry. From the concept of an idea, making it commercial for a particular market and ensuring it reaches the customer when they want it, involves a complex route with a real understanding of the supply chain.
This module is designed to give an overall understanding of fashion business management process from concept to customer. It will explore a variety of perspectives on product sourcing and supply chain issues with the aim of preparing students for the challenges of developing and maximising product development with sourcing strategy whilst still responding efficiently and effectively to constant changes in consumer demand.
With global product sourcing dynamics shifting constantly and more business opportunities emerging around the world, sourcing fashion products from the right locations to ensure you create an organisation that can deliver the right product in the right place at the right time, whilst building profitable relationships with suppliers, balancing both cost and risk with lead times are the key challenges facing the global fashion industry.
CREATIVE TEAM BUILDING
This course aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of the management of creative people in organisations, at both strategic and operational levels. It also aims to develop an awareness of the major practical and theoretical dilemmas among individuals, groups and organisations, and to place managerial practices into an historical and international perspective, highlighting both traditional and emerging issues and their importance to develop a sustainable competitive advantage.
This module will acknowledge the challenge of managing creative individuals in the fashion business and managing diversity and conflict which may arise. Through cases studies and in class group work students will examine issues and challenges inherent in recruitment, placement and retention of creative teams and the growth and compensation via human resource management.
As organisations evolve globally, leaders face new opportunities, risks and demands that challenge and stretch their abilities in the context of leading, managing and communicating with people of both different cultures and management structures. Leadership in a diverse and multicultural environment provides a culturally-centred perspective allowing organisational leaders the opportunity to attend to the influence of culture. This module will help you find examples of how multicultural awareness can make your leadership task easier and promotes an organisational culture that is more satisfying to both individuals and their leaders by embracing and celebrating differences.
STRATEGIC FASHION BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
The module covers the theories, models, tools and methodologies used in the field of strategic management specifically within the fashion business.
It aims to enhance your ability to play an effective role in developing, implementing and monitoring strategy within a business within the fashion or fashion-related, industries. The module especially aims to help you develop a critical awareness of the management of creativity and design within a global context. Fashion enterprises at every level inherently enjoy advantages as well as face the vulnerabilities of the market conditions. This unit opens windows into strategic and creative thinking, analytical evaluation, and business strategy development as well as the decision-making process .The business environment is constantly changing and this affects the market condition, business structure, strategy and style.
Core modules, semester two
FINANCE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The Finance and Entrepreneurship module combines theory and practical knowledge of finance for those in the fashion industry. It also provides a practical, real-world approach to the finances of entrepreneurship by presenting the common financial problems (and their solutions) entrepreneurs often face especially in the fashion world.
With the increasingly critical role played by finance and financial management in the success of global business, a solid grounding in the principles and techniques of finance is essential for a successful business venture. The module is designed to develop your understanding of the core financial aspects of business as well as entrepreneurship through the preparation, interpretation, uses, and analysis of strategic financial information in the context of an understanding of the strategic need for the survival of global business.
This module represents a mixture of financial and management accounting, corporate finance and risk management. The principles and concepts underlying each of these subject areas are examined
FASHION MARKETING AND BRAND MANAGEMENT
With the competition in the fashion business at its fiercest, it is imperative that companies understand and develop successful and effective marketing strategies for product development and brands for the mass market as well as the luxury goods market.
This module will stimulate critical and intellectual skills and allow the student to explore the challenges of developing fashion marketing strategy, to include an understanding of the fashion market, the marketing mix, the consumer, how to make appropriate product adaptations to meet consumer demands, developing strategy to protect and ensure effective intellectual property protection for a brand.
This module also aims to help you effectively develop and overcome challenges in the marketing environment in order to successfully understand how to penetrate new markets and manage brands in order to balance a competitive advantage with profitability in the fashion business.
This module will include:
- an understanding of the global fashion market
- the global marketing mix
- the consumer
- how to make appropriate product adaptations to meet consumer demands
- developing the strategies to protect and ensure effective intellectual property protection for a brand
- ensuring and effectively developing and overcoming the challenges to successfully understand how to penetrate the market in order to balance a competitive advantage with profitability in the global fashion market.
MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION
One of the fundamental elements of the Fashion industry is that it is producing something new every season or reinventing itself. This is clearly evident in the constant change in the products produced. Change in the processes and organisation of the industry are also constantly occurring - they are less evident but are equally important.
Globalisation of the industry and significant technological advances has led to an increased variety and velocity of change greater than experienced in the past.
Managers in the industry today need to be alert to these changes and know how to manage them. These changes can be initiated by new product or process innovations or can be changes forced upon the industry by external factors. The effective management of any type of change is essential for a business to survive and requires deep understanding of the impact change can have on the people and processes within the business.
This module looks at how a fashion business can successfully innovate and how the changes need to be managed to be successful. This module will be discovering and then analysing the theory and practice of the management of change and Innovation.
MAJOR FASHION BUSINESS MANAGEMENT PROJECT
The Fashion Business Management Project builds on the skills and experience derived from the previous modules. You will be provided with the opportunity to apply all of the knowledge gained during the programmed into a major project to address fashion business issues and challenges while adding to the body of professional practice and theoretical literature.
Supervised by a faculty member in collaboration with yourself and a potential fashion industry representative, the Fashion Business Management project is recognised by graduates as one of the most rewarding and empowering experiences of the entire programme.
The idea of a Fashion Business Management MA was formulated in discussion with industry leaders. Building on the success of our Fashion Merchandise Management courses and in particular the close collaboration with industry we spoke extensively to senior fashion executives. Many felt that although doing an MA in Fashion Business Management would not ensure promotion, potential candidates who learn how to apply the knowledge they gain from the course can become leaders who can inspire others. Those candidates need to understand the values and culture of the industry and, most importantly, recognise the difference between information and knowledge and have clearly defined goals.
This support from industry is important both for you as a student and for the future development and relevance of the MA. We will continue to foster and maintain these important links with the fashion industry, and ensure that our Fashion Business Management MA stays at the forefront of education for the future leaders in the fashion industry. We will also continue to invite many prestigious and eminent guest speakers from the industry to participate on all the modules, ensuring that the course remains relevant, informed and up-to-date with current industry practice.
The course is designed to attract applicants with a recognised design, retail management or distribution/manufacturing background. With guidance from the academics and professionals in this field it is anticipated that you will go on to enter senior management positions and move up the career ladder.
Our alumni can be found working in senior positions all over the world in many fashion roles and include such well-known brands such as Aldo, Dior, Dunhill, Harrods, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Marks and Spencer, Nordstrom, Prada Hong Kong and many more.
Several of our alumni, have also gone on to study at PhD level and to further academic research. Others have set up their own business or successfully taken over a family run business.
Virginia Grose, Course Leader
Originally trained as a fashion designer, Virginia has worked in the fashion industry for over 25 years. Most of her experience is in the supply chain and product development sectors.
During her career, she has worked closely with clothing, yarn and textile manufacturers all over the world including China, Sri Lanka, North Africa, Italy, the Philippines as well as in the UK.
Virginia gained much of her professional experience with Courtaulds Textiles PLC, who supplied several major UK and international retailers, and has worked with a wide range of international clients such Marks & Spencer, Wal-Mart. Virginia managed many design teams in a variety of product areas and was part of the senior management team at Courtaulds.
She has also provided consultancy services to several luxury international cashmere knitwear brands. Virginia has been a visiting lecturer at the American Intercontinental University, London College of Fashion, and as Southampton University. She has also been an external advisor to the University of Liverpool and 'Domus' University, Milan on the collaborative MA Fashion Management Programme. In addition to her role as Course Leader at the University of Westminster, Virginia continues her consultancy work with several premium knitwear brands, and remains a non-executive director for a Chinese knitwear manufacturer.
Virginia gained her BA (Hons) degree in Fashion and Textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University.
She studied for her MBA at Stirling University, Scotland, by distance learning, specialising in international retailing and marketing for major fashion retailers.
Virginia is currently working on a PGCHE and towards her PhD topic proposal, which has the working title - 'Made in the UK'.
Her first book, 'The Basics of Fashion Business Volume One'- Concept to Customer' (2011), has just been published by AVA Publishing. ISBN-10: 2940411840/ISBN-13: 978-2940411849
Basics Fashion Management 01: Concept to Customer –Virginia Grose
This book examines the fashion business in detail. Aimed at fashion merchandising, buying and business undergraduates, this handbook is relevant to anyone interested in working in the fashion industry. And for more details about fashion design and the catwalk shows at Westminster see http://www.westminsterfashion.com
Graham Taylor, Module Leader for Managing Creative Team in the Fashion Business
Graham left his role as Business Process Manager for Nikon UK in 2010 to set up his own business. As managing director of boutique consultancy, Aspects Consulting he helps businesses to thrive by building their process, trust and innovation capabilities.
He gained most of his professional and commercial experience working for Nikon in the UK starting out in the logistics department, later moving into sales where he became department manager.
He held the role of Business Process Manager for almost a decade and was instrumental in developing all operational aspects of the business on a UK and European level. Before leaving the company he initiated and ran a major project to develop the capabilities of the senior management and leadership team, as well as co-developing the Imaging Division's strategy and structure.
In 2006 he became a certified management consultant with the Institute of Management Consultants, specialising in Organisation Development.
During his career he has been a partner in a couple of small businesses, manufacturing jewellery and selling antiques and collectibles.
Graham studied painting at Wimbledon School of Art and gained a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art. BA (Honours).
He has retained a passion for art and a sense of permanent curiosity about the interconnection and working of things, which feeds into both his consultancy and teaching work.
Alan David, Module Leader in Strategic Fashion Business Management
His teaching career has focussed on corporate strategy and strategy dynamics for executive programmes. After completing his MBA at Liverpool University Business School, Alan joined the head office of Courtaulds Plc in Hanover Square London working with the strategic planning and capital budgeting team.
Three years later he joined the management school in what is now the University of Westminster. Alan has also attended Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Programme. He is a member of the International System Dynamics Society. Alan's has published papers on scenario planning (Alan David, Brian Cox and Adrian Haberberg (1999) 'Measuring the Impact of Scenario Planning on Organizational Cognition'. (ISBN185919 108 8) The paper was delivered to 6th International Workshop on Managerial and Organizational Cognition. Colchester, U.K. June 1-3, 1999. His most recent publication examines the impact of diversity (Profiting from Diversity, 2009, Edited by Gloria Moss, Palgrave McMillan- 2 ISBN 978-0-230-51616-8)
Daliah Simble, Module Leader in Fashion Business & Supply Chain Management
Daliah is an experienced production and product development manager, specialising in the management of all processes from design concept stage to delivery.
Her professional background is in garment production and has included the role of product development manager. She is a specialist in critical path implementation and management. As well being a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster, Daliah is currently Head of Sourcing and Production at Roland Mouret.This includes overseeing collection development through to production and delivery, and managing a team of approximately 25-28 full time and freelance staff. Daliah was responsible for the restructure of these divisions and the company's sourcing strategy. Previous employment includes: Production and sourcing consultant at Illustrated People
- Product Development Manager Ben Sherman
- Merchandise Manager Frost French.
- French ConnectionHead of Merchandising for Nicole Farhi
- Production Manager at Monsoon for 10 years.
Additionally Daliah set up and ran Hadas- Hall - her own consultancy business.
She trained at London College of Fashion -UCA where she gained a BA in Fashion Management. She is currently involved in projects with Skill Set via the UKFT and 'Made in the UK'.
Dr Nnamdi Obiosa, Module Leader in Finance & Entrepreneurship
Dr Obiosa is a visiting lecturer role at the University of Westminster.
He is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy, and holds a Ph.D. in Banking and Finance from University of Nigeria; an MBA from University of Ilorin, Nigeria; PgCertHE from University of Westminster; and a B.Sc first class degree in Accountancy from University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
He is a seasoned financial practitioner and lecturer with many years' experience gained through working in consultancy services and lecturing. This has helped him to be success in undertaking leadership in academic modules as well as administrative responsibilities in the University. He has continued to engage in wider professional partnership with professional colleagues in the financial world which keeps him professionally current and at the cutting edge of his discipline.
He is also a lecturer and pathway leader on the RBS BA Global Management programme at Regent's College, a post he has held since 2008. He is also the module leader, Multinational Financial Management, Principles of Financial Management and Management Accounting modules. He is very conversant with subject quality benchmarks and standards and within these modules has ensured the currency of the curriculum with reference to developments of QAA subject bench marks.
Length of course
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
Our Alumni can be found working in senior positions all over the world and include such well known brands as:
- Louis Vuitton
- Marks & Spencer
- Li& Fung
- Arcadia Group
- Ernst& Young
- Saatchi& Saatchi
- Aurora Fashions
- Bottega Veneta
- Abercrombie& Fitch
Roles include product sourcing and development senior management, buying and merchandising, supply chain sales and marketing.
Additionally several of our alumni have gone on to study at PhD level and to further academic research. Others have set up their own business or successfully taken over a family run business.
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Career options in your subject area
Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.
Study in the city
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.
Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.
After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.
Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.
Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.
Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.
Personal advice and counselling
While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.
With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.
Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.
If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
Sport and recreation
The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.
University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.
The MA Fashion Business Management course works closely with industry through the use of Live Projects. Live Projects have been running for a number of years have successfully worked with fashion industry brands that are both small start ups or established and growing.
The intention is to develop an ‘incubator’ style semester two where students can either work with the selected British brands or if they have their own brand use these to develop their brand and businesses.
Previous Live Projects include collaborations with:
Students on the module Managing Change and Innovation in the Fashion Business have worked with:
Alice Borghesi, Italy
"This course covers so many things which I had not previously covered in my Fashion Marketing BA, so it feel like a step forward for me in my studies. My class was made up of people from lots of different nationalities and backgrounds, so learning about their cultures and the different types of jobs in other countries was invaluable."
Gunel Hasanova, Azerbaijan
"I decided to do a business management course because I studied Fashion Design as my undergraduate degree and whilst doing that I did some internships and figured out that business is a huge part of the fashion industry. We have lots of guest speakers during the course from very experienced industry professionals on top of our classes which was probably one of my favourite things about the course!"
Porschia Thomas, Canada
"The thing that really stands out about Westminster as a whole is the environment. The amount of effort the teachers show really gives you the nutrients and support to help you grow and I think that is really important at a masters level. The course is a really good mix of the fashion and the business side of things."