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What's textiles and fashion A level like?

Hey guys, I'm thinking of taking a combination of maths, physics and textiles for my A levels.

I want to be an aviation/aeronautic engineer, so really the only reason why I'm doing textiles is because it's the second choice over doing an engineering-based A level which isn't available. Despite that I'm a pretty artistic person, I used to do a lot of sewing and I've always been interested in the fashion industry generally. I never really thought it would be something I do at school but could be fun. Plus the fashion department at the college I want to go to is really good. Really the only thing that puts me off it is that 1) it might not really be useful for an engineer and 2) I'm a guy and it's not really masculine :')

What is the subject like? Does it feel like an academic subject or is it more of a coursework/practical one? How was the whole experience?
Original post by FossilGeek


What is the subject like? Does it feel like an academic subject or is it more of a coursework/practical one? How was the whole experience?

It's not academic, it's practical and so if you were wanting to study at a Russell Group Uni then it would be great as a fourth option for funsies.
Advances in technical fabrics, or even investigations into canvas bi-planes, and the problems of dust on the moon, as a for instance, are super exciting and would act as awesome super curriculas to support your study, as well as giving you technical proficiency in a process and that's always good.
It's a lot of work, these things take longer than you can imagine, but to be creative is a really important part of being happy, so I say go for it, there are always a few boys on the course, but you are correct in thinking it is mostly girls.
That said, some of the most so called 'masculine' jobs involve sewing - fine tailoring, sail making, space suit design.
It can be as engineering focussed as you choose it to be.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 2
Original post by hoyc1
It's not academic, it's practical and so if you were wanting to study at a Russell Group Uni then it would be great as a fourth option for funsies.
Advances in technical fabrics, or even investigations into canvas bi-planes, and the problems of dust on the moon, as a for instance, are super exciting and would act as awesome super curriculas to support your study, as well as giving you technical proficiency in a process and that's always good.
It's a lot of work, these things take longer than you can imagine, but to be creative is a really important part of being happy, so I say go for it, there are always a few boys on the course, but you are correct in thinking it is mostly girls.
That said, some of the most so called 'masculine' jobs involve sewing - fine tailoring, sail making, space suit design.
It can be as engineering focussed as you choose it to be.


Thank you, this is really helpful. I hadn't thought of those links to aviation at all, I'm actually quite interested in it now! BTW, when you say as a fourth subject, do you think that maybe uni's don't consider it a good enough A level? It probably is quite practical, but unis would accept me as long as I have physics and maths, right? Or maybe textiles as a third A level isn't academic enough for them to consider it?
Original post by FossilGeek
Thank you, this is really helpful. I hadn't thought of those links to aviation at all, I'm actually quite interested in it now! BTW, when you say as a fourth subject, do you think that maybe uni's don't consider it a good enough A level? It probably is quite practical, but unis would accept me as long as I have physics and maths, right? Or maybe textiles as a third A level isn't academic enough for them to consider it?


Russell Group Universities would absolutely love it as a super curricula provided that the work you did was focussed on the engineering aspects of textiles and design, but it's not academic, so would weaken your application for a top academic college place.
Other colleges/unis might not be too bothered.
Chemistry would be a great addition and would provide you with an intimate understanding of the qualities of materials and as you are Maths and Physics the equations would present you with zero difficulty.
Do it for fun.
You'll love it.
Hey! As someone who used to take Textiles but dropped it, maybe I can give you some advice :smile:

Firstly, it depends where you're aiming in terms of the future. Russel group unis are sometimes not terribly keen on Textiles, and some of the most competitive ones label it as a 'non-facilitating subject'. This information is becoming less and less relevant, and universities are trying to become more accepting around creative subjects, so I would recommend doing your own research on the topic.

In terms of the workload, its heavy. Theres a lot that needs to be produced and alongside your other a-levels could take up more time than you have to spare. My current A-levels are Maths, Economics and Art (dropped Textiles) and I have found that Art right now is my most difficult subject. If you could though, I would recommend choosing Art rather than Textiles, as it is (from my experience) higher regarded than Textiles. In addition, there are many courses to do with engineering that Art is recommended for. A friend of mine is applying for a design engineering type course (not too sure what exactly) at Imperial which, due to the design content, Art is really helpful with. Thats just an example, I'm sure there are more. In cases like these, I would say that Textiles is less relevant, as the course in textiles is more fashion/clothing/embroidering etc..

Textiles is completely practical, you would do minimal amounts of writing etc...Other subjects that are well suited to engineering could include another science/ computer science/ further maths if you have those available to you. Regarding the subject not being 'masculine', definitely don't let that deter you from pursuing it. The idea of a 'Masculine subject' is a social construct, do whatever you want to do.

Finally, the most important thing with a creative subject is that you enjoy it. With the number of hours you have to put into it, it can be challenging if you dont enjoy it. If you're an artistic person like me, there's a high chance that doing a creative A-level changes the way you enjoy being creative. For me, I've found that I have grown to slightly detest doing art, due to multiple factors such as pressurised teaching and workload. However for some, being able to pursue a creative subject at A-level amplifies their love for it, so this is really really subjective and I recommend you take everything that I say with a pinch of salt.

Hope this has been helpful! Feel free to come back with more questions.
Original post by FossilGeek
Hey guys, I'm thinking of taking a combination of maths, physics and textiles for my A levels.

I want to be an aviation/aeronautic engineer, so really the only reason why I'm doing textiles is because it's the second choice over doing an engineering-based A level which isn't available. Despite that I'm a pretty artistic person, I used to do a lot of sewing and I've always been interested in the fashion industry generally. I never really thought it would be something I do at school but could be fun. Plus the fashion department at the college I want to go to is really good. Really the only thing that puts me off it is that 1) it might not really be useful for an engineer and 2) I'm a guy and it's not really masculine :')

What is the subject like? Does it feel like an academic subject or is it more of a coursework/practical one? How was the whole experience?
Reply 5
Original post by bundleofnerves04
Hey! As someone who used to take Textiles but dropped it, maybe I can give you some advice :smile:

Firstly, it depends where you're aiming in terms of the future. Russel group unis are sometimes not terribly keen on Textiles, and some of the most competitive ones label it as a 'non-facilitating subject'. This information is becoming less and less relevant, and universities are trying to become more accepting around creative subjects, so I would recommend doing your own research on the topic.

In terms of the workload, its heavy. Theres a lot that needs to be produced and alongside your other a-levels could take up more time than you have to spare. My current A-levels are Maths, Economics and Art (dropped Textiles) and I have found that Art right now is my most difficult subject. If you could though, I would recommend choosing Art rather than Textiles, as it is (from my experience) higher regarded than Textiles. In addition, there are many courses to do with engineering that Art is recommended for. A friend of mine is applying for a design engineering type course (not too sure what exactly) at Imperial which, due to the design content, Art is really helpful with. Thats just an example, I'm sure there are more. In cases like these, I would say that Textiles is less relevant, as the course in textiles is more fashion/clothing/embroidering etc..

Textiles is completely practical, you would do minimal amounts of writing etc...Other subjects that are well suited to engineering could include another science/ computer science/ further maths if you have those available to you. Regarding the subject not being 'masculine', definitely don't let that deter you from pursuing it. The idea of a 'Masculine subject' is a social construct, do whatever you want to do.

Finally, the most important thing with a creative subject is that you enjoy it. With the number of hours you have to put into it, it can be challenging if you dont enjoy it. If you're an artistic person like me, there's a high chance that doing a creative A-level changes the way you enjoy being creative. For me, I've found that I have grown to slightly detest doing art, due to multiple factors such as pressurised teaching and workload. However for some, being able to pursue a creative subject at A-level amplifies their love for it, so this is really really subjective and I recommend you take everything that I say with a pinch of salt.

Hope this has been helpful! Feel free to come back with more questions.


Hello, sorry for late reply but this is really insightful, thank you! I see what you mean with it being a less relevant subject, art would make more sense as its used in engineering like designing and drawing. But am I right to think that the textiles a level also has a bit of drawing?

Since you took it for a while, what is a typical lesson like? Do you have to make a sketchbook, if not how do you present your work? What sorts of projects are you asked to do? Is there a drawing/sketching element? Is it really simple stuff like a pencil case or complex stuff like tailoring and pattern making?
Original post by FossilGeek
Hello, sorry for late reply but this is really insightful, thank you! I see what you mean with it being a less relevant subject, art would make more sense as its used in engineering like designing and drawing. But am I right to think that the textiles a level also has a bit of drawing?

Since you took it for a while, what is a typical lesson like? Do you have to make a sketchbook, if not how do you present your work? What sorts of projects are you asked to do? Is there a drawing/sketching element? Is it really simple stuff like a pencil case or complex stuff like tailoring and pattern making?

sorry to butt in, have a look at the a-level specifications on examboard websites. You need to talk to your textiles teacher too.
I think a design and technology subject is a better fit with engineering and you could have soooo much fun with juxtaposing materials and design techniques between fashion and engineering, so yes, sketch, start now, have fun.
Stop waiting for permission. :smile:

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