Kingston University’s arts faculty is to offer a new Masters course in fashion knitwear – at the same time the university is considering closing planning courses.

Planning courses, taught at the school of planning and surveying within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) could be under threat due to poor recruitment figures.

The faculty announced this week it would offer a new course, which “will challenge the principles surrounding knitting in fashion, promoting a critical approach to the subject”.

Surveying student Nick Beers, 29, who is campaigning against the planning proposals, said knitting would be a “niche” course, and would likely attract low numbers of students.

He added: “Planning is a lot more widely needed than a knitwear designer would be.

“To me it doesn’t make sense. It directly contradicts what they’re saying about planning.”

Julian Wells, from the University and College Union, said: “You can see how it might fit with other fashion and design courses they have got on.

“Probably what the issue is, is it’s to do with management’s vision of what FADA ought to look like.”

Associate professor Samantha Elliott said the new MA is a “natural progression” of the university's undergraduate fashion courses.

She said: “It will cater for students eager to enhance their skills at postgraduate level in a strong growth area in the industry.

“We anticipate our first intake of students will start in October.

“Wool is regarded as being extremely sustainable and, as a result, there is huge rise in interest in developing knitted fabrics.

“In a highly competitive and increasingly technological global fashion market, innovative ideas backed up by sound academic knowledge and a thorough technical understanding are absolutely vital.

“The course will give students a more specialist understanding of the development of knitted garments and design and production processes, covering a variety of techniques, materials and machinery.

“They will receive a thorough preparation for careers in the fast-paced, high technology world of fashion knitwear and acquire the advanced knowledge to extend their studies at research or doctoral level should they be interested in following that option.”

The course’s web page tells students: “As you develop your garments, the silhouette will be formed by evolving the knitted structure, embracing an interdisciplinary approach and developing an appreciation of how this may relate to the body within the context of fashion.”

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