Fashion Design Diploma

This is the Grafton Academy’s professional 3-year full-time Diploma course offering students training for the Irish and International fashion industry. Our practical and hands-on approach to learning encourages talent, but also provides order and structure. This allows students to develop as individuals, as well as acquire the skills and techniques needed for a career in fashion. Throughout the course, we promote awareness of current industry trends, along with an understanding of the importance of good presentation skills.

The course contents include:

  • Pattern cutting
  • Design development
  • Illustration and working drawings (flat drawing)
  • Toile making
  • Proving patterns on the dress stand with toiles
  • Garment construction and finish
  • Laying and cutting of fabrics and paper pattern grading
  • Experimentation with use of fabrics
  • Trends and fashion forecasting
  • Portfolio preparation
  • Drawing fashion figures
  • Using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator


YEAR 1-2

Fashion Design – Pattern drafting, sewing, construction, and portfolio development, covering skirts, trousers, blouses and dresses.


This covers tailoring for ladies coats and suits – concentrating on the styling, grading and fitting of the tailored garment as well as preparation for the final year.


The student chooses two collections to design and complete. Each collection comprises 8-10 garments, developed from concepts through to finished garments and made to the high standards required by manufacturers. Students can choose from a selection of Separates, Women’s or Menswear, Urban Sportswear, Bridal and Evening wear, Lingerie and Children’s plus a collection specialising in all wool fabrics.

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to enter inter-college fashion competitions and to take up internships within the industry, with which we have strong links.



    Our graduates go on to become designers, assistant designers and pattern cutters with major design studios and manufacturers. They work in all areas of fashion ranging from high street brands, evening, bridal, couture, lingerie, children’s, corporate, performance sports and menswear. Other career opportunities include fashion writing, stylist, buyer, designing and making costumes for wardrobe, theatre, film, television and dance.


    The Diploma requires four sectional examinations over the 3-year course, along with a continual assessment of the key disciplines:

    Portfolio development with sketching and illustration
    Pattern drafting
    Garment construction, sewing and finishing
    For each section, a formal proposal is made by the student to design and create a collection which must be approved by the tutors and examiners.
    Formal examinations in advanced Pattern Drafting are required after each collection to complete the Diploma course.


    The Diploma is awarded by the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design.

    The board of Examiners are:

    Alan Cannon Jones, M.SC.,F.F.C.D.E President 1999 (Lecturer at London College of Fashion)
    June Wilkinson, Dip. Grafton Academy.
    Evelyn Rouiller, M.SC., B.A, Dip. Grafton Academy.
    Ib Jorgensen, Dip. Grafton Academy. Couturier in Dublin, 1957 to 1994.


    Early application is advised for start of semesters in September or February. Students should be of leaving certificate standard but no particular points are required. Mature students may also apply. A portfolio of good artwork is necessary to bring to an interview which should demonstrate enthusiasm and suitability for the course.

    Once the application form is completed and returned, an interview is arranged to view the applicant’s portfolio. The same fee also applies to overseas applicants but, in this case, the interview can either be conducted in person or via phone with an emailed digital portfolio. Applicants should also include a passport style photograph and a short written piece with reasons for applying and suitability to the course.


    You need to show an aptitude for drawing; exploring and developing ideas and experimentations with colour and texture through sketchbooks and photographs. Demonstrate to us a love and desire to work with materials and fabrics, as evidenced in any relevant creative pursuits like sewing, embroidery etc. We’re also looking for an enthusiastic appreciation of the fashion industry.


    Full-time attendance €6,900 per annum (paid in advance). Deposit and instalment method: Fee is €7,100 per annum paid as follows; A deposit of €4,140 is paid on acceptance and the balance of €2,960 is paid in eight equal instalments of €370 payable on or by the first day of each month from the commencement of course.

    Sectional Examinations: €150 each