UCA Rochester

Rochester has a budding reputation as a city of culture, learning and new technologies. And, with a deep-rooted arts and music scene, the town has a creative, edgy and lively vibe. Perched high on a hill, our purpose-built Rochester campus enjoys great views over the town and the river Medway.

The campus is a creative hub for students studying a rich variety of courses in fashion, photography, product design and digital animation. With halls only five minutes away and a range of exceptional facilities, including an art shop, the Zandra Rhodes Gallery and the unique Gerber Suite, our Rochester campus offers you a genuinely inspirational study experience. The facilities at UCA Rochester are second to none. You’ll be working in specialist studios, with up-to-the-minute equipment and software. You’ll also have access to a huge range of industry-standard facilities, including state-of-the-art fashion technology offered by only two other fashion departments in the country. You can discover more about individual specialist facilities on each of our course pages.

Head of School

Head of School, Thomass Atkinson graduated from St Martins School of Art (CSM) Fashion/Textiles course before gaining his Master of Design Degree in Fashion from the Royal College of Art.  This was followed by a career in the fashion industry – as a freelance consultant; menswear, womenswear designer and pattern cutter responsible for a range of products across a range of market levels of the fashion industry both in the UK and in Italy. During his time in the industry, Thomass worked with a number of projects with companies and designer labels including; Luciano Soprani, Giorgio Armani, Bernard Wetherill Ltd (Savile Row), Viyella and Laura Ashley, before going into a higher education career.

Thomass first moved into education as a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Product Development in 1994 at the Kent Institute of Art and Design and went on to work in a variety of roles within the institution that have included Course Leader Fashion Design, Director of Studies Fashion, Associate Dean Fashion, before becoming the Acting Dean Fashion Design Media and Culture, Strategic Academic Planner (Dean Level role) through to his current role of Head of School Fashion (UCA Epsom and Rochester).

During his time in Fashion Education he has been a member of a highly successful team that led the development of the subject of fashion portfolio to a significant specialist institution with studies within Higher Education. He has led development of a number of innovative and highly successful courses relevant to the fashion and related creative industries and developed and managed large scale projects funded the Kent Life Long Learning Network- ‘Tonic’ Creative Business Project; in CPD, Business Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Creative Thinking, Creative IT and Marketing. Thomass has been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2005.

Thomass has also been an External Examiner for a number of fashion courses at Universities that have included; Lasalle-Sia College of Arts Singapore, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Central Lancashire, London College of Fashion (UAL) and Pearl Academy, India and verifier for the Council of Education Evaluation & Accreditation in Cyprus. He has been an active member of a number of professional bodies; Association of Fashion & Textiles, British Fashion Council and is currently an Executive Committee member for Graduate Fashion Week.

Courses Overview: Undergraduate and Postgraduate

BA (Hons) Fashion Atelier
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying Retail Management
BA (Hons) Fashion Design
BA (Hons) Fashion Design | Four Years
BA (Hons) Fashion Photography
BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Promotion
BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Promotion | Four Years
BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print
MA Printed Textiles for Fashion & Interiors 

Notable Alumni

While our foundations are steeped in tradition, with alumni including Zandra Rhodes and Karen Millen, we also anticipate industry trends. We do this by exploring the latest technology and enjoying links with professional contacts, global fashion brands and guest speakers. In this way, we ensure that our curriculum is up to date and you’re taught the techniques demanded by today’s fashion industry. 

Life in Rochester

Rochester may be a small town but it's certainly big in character. With loads of activities on your doorstep, this location is perfectly suited to the student lifestyle.

Rochester is a historic town with a modern twist. Charles Dickens lived here for much of his life, and you’ll find places that pop up in his books still sitting among the town’s characterful streets, shops and ancient buildings today.

If you’re not drawn by the town’s heritage, there’s no doubt you’ll be bowled over by the energy and creativity radiating from its vibrant arts and music scene. Through exciting and inspiring events and exhibitions, local creative talent is nurtured and residents and visitors can revel in a range of inspiring and innovative arts and cultural experiences.

You can spend your free time strolling around the local flea market or heading down to the river for some water sports. There's also an array of attractive cafés and restaurants to whet your appetite.

Fashion at UCA