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 Class Honours in your first degree in any subject, as well as a minimum of two years’ working experience in the fashion business or marketing. If English is your second language you should have an IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.0 in each element.
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 that will enable 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 1
Fashion Business and Supply Chain Management
The fashion business dynamics and its fast-shifting product sourcing require an adaptable attitude to spot business 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.
Creative Team Building
This course aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of managing 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 case studies and in class group work you 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 different cultures and management structures as well. Leadership in a diverse and multicultural environment provides a culturally- centred perspective that allows 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 in 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 2
Finance and Entrepreneurship
The Finance and Entrepreneurship module combines theory and practical knowledge of finance in the fashion industry. It also provides a practical, real-world approach that presents the common financial problems (and 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, use 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 with particular emphasis being placed upon their practical application in the international fashion industry.
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 you 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. The 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 is 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 much greater than 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 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 programme 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
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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.
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