My journey into the field of Fashion Psychology officially began when I was accepted onto the Masters programme at University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion (LCF) in 2014. Since graduating and founding The Psychology of Fashion Blog™, I have been inundated with questions about the course, mostly from people who are unsure if they have the right background to be accepted. Luckily, LCF have since created an undergraduate version of the degree and I spoke to the course leader Dr Aurora Paillard who revealed how the course is going from strength to strength and how you can get a BSc in Psychology of Fashion
Shakaila: What inspired you to join London College of Fashion as the BSc Psychology for Fashion Professionals course leader?
Dr Aurora Paillard: I have always been fascinated by Psychology and intrigued by the mysterious world of Fashion. Working at London College of Fashion was a dream for me as I’ve been able to learn and observe Fashion in one of the best Fashion universities, while being able of using my knowledge in Psychology. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to work in an amazing subject, surrounded by successful colleagues and in such great institution. I particularly like the idea of becoming the Course Leader of the first and unique undergraduate course of Psychology of Fashion.
What can potential students gain from a bachelor’s degree in Psychology for Fashion Professionals that they couldn’t from a pure Psychology degree?
At the end of the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion, the students will have gained the same knowledge and skills that bachelors from a pure Psychology degree. On top of these Psychology skills, they will know how to applied these skills to the fascinating word of Fashion and would have spent three years evolving as a Psychology student in one of the most amazing Fashion nest, London College of Fashion.
What type of research are current students producing?
Students (and staff) are producing a very large panel of research where we apply any Psychology concept (Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Mental Health) to Fashion. As an example, we’ve been running these projects since this September:
– Are people ready for Unisex clothing?
– The digital coming out: can Fashion and Social media help people with their coming out?
– Sensory integration in store: is there a link between brand equity and the use of senses in Fashion stores.
– Body image in people over 60 years old
– Well-being in Fashion students
What type of career can a degree in Psychology for Fashion lead to?
It is envisaged that graduates from this course and those who continue onto the MSc, will be highly sought across the fashion industry. They will possess the skills, knowledge and, moreover, the aptitude demanded by employers. Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour so it can be applied in all contexts across the fashion industries and beyond. Some examples of potential graduate destinations are:
– a creative service-based industry which may be physical or virtual, start up or mature
– an entrepreneurial role in an existing organisation
– a business development role using in retail, design, production or media
– working in Research and Development in a leadership/management role within service and design-led industries
– a leadership/management role within an existing business or group
– establishing a new business venture
As the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion is accredited by the British Psychology Society as an undergraduate course, the bachelor will be eligible (if they obtained a 2.1) to the Graduate Basis Charter Membership, which is the first step in becoming a Chartered member (i.e. a Psychologist). The BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion would be the most suitable undergraduate qualification in order to apply for a MSc related to Consumer Psychology and then become a Consumer Psychologist. Like any other BSc Psychology course, the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion bachelors would be able to apply to any MSc Psychology in order to become Psychologist.
Can you give us a breakdown of what the course consists of?
The BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion breaks new ground. Students will learn how to apply psychological science in the context of fashion to enable an evidence-based understanding of human behaviour across the broad spectrum of the fashion industry. The scientific discipline of Psychology equips graduates with an extremely rich and diverse portfolio of skills and knowledge that gives them a distinct edge in the employment and entrepreneurial markets of the fashion and related industries. The curriculum sits at the forefront of knowledge demanded by the fashion industry, which is increasingly concerned with enhancing the human aspects of its provision. The BSc is a three-year course:
Year 1 (level 4)
The Introduction to Psychology of Fashion unit aims to introduce you to your course and its subject specialism, as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge base needed to understand your discipline. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.
The Applications of Psychology in Fashion unit will consider how the application of psychology can make a positive difference in the fashion industries in general and in fashion business in particular. You will study theories and concepts from the core areas of psychology including individual differences, biological, cognitive, emotional, social, lifespan psychology, and discuss their application to develop solutions to real life issues in fashion.
Philosophy and Ethics in Research unit acknowledges the study and application of ethics is a fundamental component of any psychology programme. You will learn the fundamental elements of conducting research with human participants from philosophical and ethical perspectives. In doing so, you will understand how to adopt an ethical approach to conducting research in fashion business, and why a particular method of data analysis is preferable to another as a tool to interpret your results.
Introduction to Cultural & Historical Studies unit introduces the Cultural and Historical Studies approach to fashion and related areas. The unit provides a broad overview of the subject and introduces key concepts and ways of thinking that will form the basis of subsequent study. It will also inform decisions regarding the Cultural and Historical Studies unit that is chosen for future study.
The Collaborative Project unit introduces you to the research skills needed to understand human behaviour within the context of fashion and business. This unit will give you the opportunity to work collaboratively to identify an area of fashion business that interests you, and to investigate the links between your chosen topic and psychology. This will allow you to consolidate the knowledge and skills that you have already acquired, give you the opportunity to conduct research, and develop working relationships that are essential for employability.
Year 2 (level 5)
Cognition in Design and Innovation unit looks at cognitive psychology, which is concerned with how we make sense of the world from sensation, through perception, emotion, creativity, memory, thinking and reasoning, and communication. In this unit you will learn about the influence of cognitive processes on design and innovation using the concept of design thinking, which applies empathy and creativity to generate potential solutions to a given problem. You will gain understanding of how the processes and methods used in design to solve problems can lead to enhanced design practice and improved communication with designers.
The Fashion and Wellbeing unit is concerned with the concepts and theories of psychological wellbeing as applied in the context of fashion. It explores individual, societal and global issues including identity and body image, appearance and judgement, fashion and the environment, and the impact of technology. You will develop a strategy for enhancing your own wellbeing.
The Cultural & Historical Studies Option will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies option of your choice that will broaden and deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.
The Consumer Psychology unit introduces you to concepts of consumer behaviour and psychology through investigation of how and why we buy fashion goods and services. You will investigate how consumer identity is formed, and develop your understanding of fashion psychographics and cross-cultural values and how these may inform fashion marketing practices. You will apply market research methods and evaluate consumer behaviour in different parts of the world.
In the Consultancy Project you will learn how to make effective decisions regarding which research methodologies are most appropriate given a particular research question. You will develop practical analysis skills through designing an investigation, collecting, exploring, analysing and interpreting data appropriately using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), or qualitative methods of analysis and interpretation. You will then carry out and write up a negotiated consultancy project in the context of fashion business.
Year 3 (Level 6)
In Future Thinking unit you will apply the knowledge and skills from Years 1 and 2 to critically appraise current fashion business in the context of product development and marketing, including cost-benefit analysis, affordances and the human/technology interface. You will apply strategic thinking to propose feasible future scenarios for an ethical and sustainable fashion industry.
Social Sustainability and Business Psychology unit explores how human resources need to be sustained and used effectively in the same way as other tangible and intangible organisational resources. You will examine the links between employee psychological wellbeing and motivation, productivity and innovation. You will learn how to prioritise employee wellbeing through workplace initiatives, and how to evaluate their effectiveness. In addition, you will study the role of psychology in the workplace including group and team behaviour, theories of leadership and management, communication and performance management.
The Final Major Project is a major piece of work and the culmination of your degree. It provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired through your work on the course. Although this is an independent piece of work, you will be allocated a supervisor who will support and guide you through tutorials.
What are the minimum requirements for being accepted onto the course?
The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:
- Three A Level Passes at Grade B or above; preferred subjects include: sociology, biology, mathematics, English, philosophy, economics, politics, business studies and psychology (please note, Psychology A level needs to be passed at C or above).
- or Distinction, Distinction, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma (Preferred subjects) Art & Design;
- or Distinction Foundation Diploma in Art and Design;
- or Merit at UAL Extended Diploma;
- or Access Diploma or ’120 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma;
- or 120 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 300 old UCAS tariff points) from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification;
- or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications;
- or 25 IB points.
- and Six GCSE passes at grade A*-C Maths and English.
How do you apply?
As a Home student, you can apply through the UCAS webpage, using the University code U65 and the UCAS course code C800. The initial UCAS deadline is 15th January 2018. As an International student, you can also apply through UCAS or directly through LCF
Dr Aurora Paillard
Dr Aurora Paillard is the Course Leader for BSc Psychology for Fashion. She obtained a Master and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. She is a BPS Chartered member and HEA Senior Fellow. After obtaining her PhD at the University of Grenoble (France), Aurora did two postdoctoral positions (at the Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Switzerland and the University of Manchester) and a Teaching Fellow at the University of Besancon (France). She then became a Course Leader of two Psychology programs at the pen University. She has been working at London College of Fashion since September 2016 as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Course Leader of the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion. She teaches Applied Psychology to Fashion, Cognition Psychology, Social Cognition and Research Methods. Her research interests involve social and cognitive features related to body perception, multisensory integration and consumer psychology.