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Advanced Extended Diploma in Fashion Retail Apply Now »

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Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 2

Interview: Y

Course Summary

If you are interested in entering the busy world of fashion retail and developing your creative skills to an advanced standard, this one-year programme is for you.

You will build your management skills as well as your creative style to help you succeed in this exciting and fast-moving environment.  You will gain an overview of the fashion retail sector, the opportunities it offers and the potential for career progression.

You will lead the implementation of a pop-up shop and undertake lots of practical activities, including personal shopping and style advice and window installations. The programme also includes visits to the head offices of national retailers and related organisations, and a team building day - as team work is crucial within the fashion retail industry.

During the final term you will create your own project which will play a key role in your overall grade.  You will also undertake a work placement in a fashion retail outlet. 

Entry requirements

The course is designed for learners who have a minimum of five GCSEs at grade A* - C including English and Maths. Candidates will be invited to College for an interview and a screening test as part of the application process. You will be required to achieve a Level 2 in your entrance screening.
You will need to demonstrate that you have a keen interest in the fashion retail sector and that you have good communication skills. It is essential that you show commitment to maintaining high standards of attendance and meeting deadlines. 

Course Content

You will develop specific knowledge in:
  • Factors influencing the fashion retail environment
  • Team management skills
  • Designing visual merchandising displays
  • Planning and developing ranges for fashion retail
  • Promotional activities
  • Styling
  • In-store visual merchandising
  • Creating digital images
  • Preparing for personal progression
  • Project skills for fashion retail development
The course is demanding: you will have to undertake self-study to fulfil your potential.  

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be carried out using a variety of methods. You are expected to produce a portfolio of evidence. Assessment will include presentations, practical activities, installations, discussions and assignments. 

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

When you enrol, you will be given a fashion retail kit list from which you will need to buy items ready for your first lesson.  There will also be a nominal charge for trips and visits.

What can I do after this course?

Further Study

You can progress to the Higher ABC Level 4 Diploma in Visual Merchandising or to a university degree in a retail related subject.


This course is invaluable if you want to work in a fashion retail management role or maybe branch out into areas such as buying, merchandising, marketing, PR and styling. 


This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

About Joseph Wright Centre »

Richard Auzins

Richard Auzins

Starting out in a retail career with M&S

Fashion enthusiast Richard Auzins has used his Diploma in Visual Merchandising as a springboard to working with Marks & Spencer

Richard has started out as a warehouse operative at the company’s distribution centre in Castle Donington, with a view to progressing his merchandising career within M&S. He especially enjoys dealing with the online sales side of the operation.

Richard had originally considered university but then discovered the specialist advanced course in Visual Merchandising at Derby College. Keen on keeping up with latest fashion trends, the course enabled him to translate his passion for fashion into a career.

Although I’m working in logistics, I’m still involved with fashion and homewares every day. The Derby College course helped me get the job and having a qualification in retail merchandising has made me more confident in sharing my ideas at work.

I’d like to move into visual merchandising one day but at the moment I enjoy what I do and M&S is a great business to work for.
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