The Fashion & Textiles course begins with the Bachelor of Visual Arts First Year.
Click here for more information about the First Year.

The Bachelor of Visual Arts in Fashion and Textile programme offers you the opportunity to explore your interest in these specialist areas. These areas include formal design and business skills relating to the fashion, interiors and textile industry or technological innovation relating to high-technology and natural fibres, printing, knitting and weaving systems.

The Fashion programme as well as the Fashion and Textiles programme (2 different qualifications) are housed in a large, single-building facility on the 2nd Avenue campus in Port Elizabeth. As a Fashion and/or Textile student at Nelson Mandela University, you will be exposed to both textile and fashion design processes in a single integrated programme. This renders our programme unique in that is makes it possible for you to design and print a range of textiles; create a range of fashion garments or interior related furnishings and products made from your own textiles.

In addition to our students being exposed to sewing machinery, they are also exposed to the rare crafts of knitwear, crochet, weaving, embroidery and other surface embellishments.

Our teaching emphasis is on sound design processes, which will equip you with the ability to identify and structure an idea, translate your ideas into the design and then manufacture of a garment or textile range. The design process is supported by on-site sewing and knitting production facilities. Our dedicated computer lab offers students access to the very latest LECTRA (CAD/CAM) textile design, pattern-making and garment software. Photoshop software supplements the LECTRA software. In addition, students are also exposed to digital drawing and related visualisation techniques.

Student Fashion Range Photo by Jenna Finkelstein ©2015

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our programmes, Fashion and Textile students do selected collaborative projects with Photography and Graphic Design students. Graphic Design students are responsible for creating logo and brand identity systems, while Photography students shoot the fashion and textile ranges. Both the brand identity and photography are used by Fashion and Textiles students in marketing materials, such as business cards and social media. These real-life collaborations are an extremely valuable and exciting learning tool and are a hallmark of our Bachelor of Visual Arts qualification.

All students are required to create a range of garments and/or interior-related products that will be showcased and examined either on the catwalk of the annual Graduate Fashion Show, or at an exhibition. This showcase provides students with real-world experience of fashion shows/exhibitions. In addition to showing their ranges, students are involved in the organisational aspects thereof. This experience creates the potential of submitting their final ranges onto national design platforms such as Africa Fashion Week, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and Design Indaba.

The Bachelor of Visual Arts Fashion and Textiles qualifications expose our students to sound theoretical knowledge as well as studio-based practical execution. As a Fashion and Textiles student, you will be trained to:

  • identify and interpret fashion trends within a specific context or market area;
  • be informed on developments in textiles, colour and design processes;
  • analyse and evaluate historical and cultural influences in the course of clothing and fashion design development;
  • develop and prepare design solutions for the manufacture of garments for selected market sectors;
  • interpret fashion changes in the commercial environment with existing and related technology;
  • investigate the cost effectiveness of garments through innovative production technology methods, including (CAD/CAM);
  • apply practical skills in pattern adaptation and garment assembly by using appropriate materials, equipment and processes;
  • foster communication on all levels of production and management by written, verbal and visual methods;
  • acquire computer literacy skills for communication purposes;
  • apply the your managerial, marketing and costing skills to initiate self-employment.

After the completion of the programme, the graduate may venture into these possible career paths:

Garment Technologist
Fashion Designers
Retail Buyer
Fashion Illustrator
Fashion Stylist
Personal Stylist
Fashion Public Relations
Fashion Writer
Textile Designers and related fields, among others.


Thandazani Nofingxana, graduate textile designer.Video by graduate photographer Shane van Heerden © 2018


Nelson Mandela University Fashion and Textile Graduate Alumni Links:

Fashion Designers

Thabo Mahketha

Tina Somikazi Ngxokolo

Hoiden Fashion

Braemore Lundall-Sauls

Busisiwe Sobopha

Textile Designers

Laduma Ngxokolo

Thandazani Nofingxana

Siphelele Ntombela

Michelle Durbano

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Contact information
Mr Tyrone James
Lecturer: Applied Design (Fashion Design)
Tel: 27 41 5043717

Miss Raquel Adriaan
Tel: 27 41 504 3716

Mrs Mieke Janse van Rensburg
Tel: 041 504 3929