A / AS Level
2 years

What is Textiles?

Textiles as a subject embraces fashion, printed and constructed textiles and illustrated design. It will give you a thorough grounding in a broad range of skills which play an important role in today’s design world and can aid you in accessing a wide variety of very exciting and varied career opportunities.

The Textiles course will give you the chance to explore embellishment and construction techniques even if you have never studied them before. You will find inspiration from a wide range of design specialisms such as product and greeting card design, haute couture, fashion illustration and interior design. If you are interested in this or any form of fashion or textiles and wish to develop your skills through practical, hands-on experience, then this course could be for you.

Is Textiles suitable for me?

This course requires enthusiasm and ideas, drawing ability and an interest in extending your knowledge of fashion and textile designers are also helpful. To succeed you need to be good at working independently, managing your time and meeting deadlines.

You will not only develop those skills you already have but also find the opportunity to explore new areas and techniques. The course allows you to explore ideas in illustrated design and fashion drawing, printed and constructed textiles and all forms of mixed media surface pattern. Some students choose to specialise in one area, but many enjoy the opportunity to try many things. Current students have found that computer software opens up a fascinating range of possibilities for producing a high level of professional finish in their fashion design work. Other students have preferred to work in more extravagant mixed media or even 3 dimensional constructed textiles.

Whatever your interest all students enjoy the more personal project work in specialist, well equipped art and design studios.

How will I learn?

You will work on a series of projects, typically lasting for 6 weeks. You will be encouraged to explore your own responses to a fashion or textile design brief, researching and developing your ideas by means of considered drawing and photographs, investigating form and tone in particular, within sketchbooks, mood boards and design sheets before moving on to more resolved final pieces. You will have access to many materials and tools and will be shown different processes through workshop and studio activities. You will be encouraged to explore the work of other artists, designers, and cultures. Alton is not the centre of the art world so we regularly organise visits to art galleries, exhibitions and design studios and each February we take a party of students to an overseas city. In recent years we have visited New York, San Francisco, St Petersburg and Beijing.

4 to 5 hours private study per week is expected at AS.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework: Year 1 - 50%; Year 2 - 60%.

AS Year 1

Component 1: Personal Investigation (50%)

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment with 10 hours controlled test (50%)

A2 Year 2

Component 1: Personal Investigation (60%)

Part 1 – practical work:  From personal starting points students submit: supporting studies and practical outcome(s).

Part 2 – personal study:  Students submit a piece of continuous prose of a minimum of 1000 words.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment with 15 hour controlled test (40%)

Each unit will include development studies and research in a work journal or sketchbook together with finished pieces of work.


While many students go on to follow art and design courses in higher education, this course is by no means only for future fashion or textile designers. A Level Textiles is accepted by all universities for almost all courses. It offers a broad and valuable education developing aesthetic awareness and judgement together with creative thinking.

Alternatively you may choose to move directly into employment in one of the careers associated with fashion and textiles such as promotion, advertising, buying or marketing.

Many students make successful applications for higher education places on specialist art and design/textiles courses at art colleges and universities. It is possible to take a wide range of degrees, in subjects as diverse as printed and woven textiles, fashion design, contour fashion design, fashion illustration, interior design, furnishing, fashion marketing and promotion, fashion technology, costume design, and many more! Most students wishing to pursue a degree in fashion and textiles will initially choose a place on a one-year Art Foundation course. Successful Alton College A level Textiles students have the opportunity to stay on to complete an Art Foundation course here.

Entry requirements

Students studying toward an A level programme should normally have achieved a GCSE grade profile of A-C. For GCSE Maths and English where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively, students with an A-C grade profile may take a full BTEC/Cambridge Technical programme or mixed A level and BTEC/Cambridge Technical programme. You will be able to discuss course ideas and preferences during your College Guidance Interview. Final decisions will be made when you enrol after your GCSE results.

Please note some courses will have specific GCSE entry requirements. Further details will be available at Open Evenings.  

The most important qualification for success is enthusiasm for, and interest in, the subject. You must have an open mind and enjoy the challenge of exploring new ideas and ways of working.

You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

The most important qualification for success is enthusiasm for, and interest in, the subject. We will normally expect you to have achieved a C at GCSE in Art or Textiles, although we do consider students without an art/textiles qualification. You must have an open mind and enjoy the challenge of exploring new ideas and ways of working.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).

Essential: Approximately £10-£15 for sketchbooks and materials per project.   

Optional: £50 for trips and additional materials. A sewing machine is useful but not essential as students are able to use the department machines during and outside lesson times.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code