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Level 4 Fast Track Visual Merchandising Diploma

   •  Learn skills to become a successful Visual Merchandiser

   •  Over 90% of former FRA students go on to  full time employment or further studies

   •  Includes unrivalled three week work placement to gain invaluable experience with a major fashion brand

This 22 week programme delivered two days per week is intended for students who wish to gain an entry level position in Visual Merchandising. The course is ideal for anyone who wishes to combine a part-time job with a national recognised qualification. The diploma offers a unique programme providing you with the opportunity to gain or build on previous experience to establish your future career aspirations.

Your course includes a project set by a fashion brand, enabling you to gain exposure to industry execs and increase your network at the same time as working on a real time project.

You will spend three weeks working within a retail environment give you exposure and experience of the work place and gain a greater understanding of the real time challenges currently facing the industry.

Find out all about Visual Merchandising with our lecturer, Denise Francis-Brown, here.

The course introduces students' to the significance of Visual Merchandising in the retail industry. You will explore how visual merchandising and retail branding is a key part of the marketing operation for major retailers. In department stores and fashion multiples the visual merchandiser ensures windows and interiors promote the stores brand identity. Visual Merchandisers are responsible for designing and commissioning windows and in-store display schemes, understanding floor layouts and fixture requirements as well as managing in-store signage and graphics.

You will be invited to attend a range of masterclasses from some of retails biggest names. Previous speakers have included ASOS; Chloe Miles – Fashion Blogger; Zalando; FRA Alumni Sorcha Kelly, Junior Merchandiser - Accessories at NET-A-PORTER; TK Maxx & New Look. During these sessions held in our state of the art lecture theatre, fashion retail experts advise and inform about a range of subjects affecting the industry with an interactive Q&A session at the end to enable students to have their say.

This course includes a three week internship at a high street brand aimed at developing on the job skills to enable graduates to go straight into the workplace with unrivalled hands on experience.

Previous Visual Merchandising students have had the opportunity to design the windows for Topshops flagship store at Oxford Circus. They were briefed by the Creative Manager and given examples of the products that would be on display. Working in pairs they were then tasked with designing the window scheme, considering props, colour scheme and mannequin styling. Once the concept was developed and created, the students had the opportunity to install the window overnight with the VM team.

Your day may include putting on overalls and painting, making props, styling mannequins and then rushing off to see the latest window at Selfridges.

You'll find yourself running from a master class with an industry leader like Sir Philip Green to print off an important design concept before the deadline.

You may be dressing mannequins around the Academy using a selection of merchandise or creating your own couture costume from lengths of fabric. No one day is the same at the FRA and you will continually be set new and different challenges.

Graduating students are employed in VM roles as either a Creative Assistant, part of the in-store VM team, mannequin dressing specialist, prop maker or graphic designer. Other students may choose to continue their studies at university.

Awarding Body: University Arts London

Age Requirement: 19+

Start date: Week commencing 11th September 2017 *Induction will commence 4th September 2017

2018 start dates: February/September

Course duration: 22 weeks, 2 days per week

Entry Criteria:  Previous/relevant fashion retail experience and/or 1 A-Level or 5 GCSE’s grade 4/5-9 including Maths and English or 5 GCSE's A*-C grade including Maths and English, including Maths and English grade C or above, or a BTEC National Diploma or NVQ level 3, or a one year one year foundation diploma in Art and Design plus 5 GCSE’s grade 4/5-9 including Maths and English or 5 GCSE's A*-C grade including Maths and English. Please provide us with a NARIC Statement of Comparability, if you have any non-UK qualifications. We will not be able to process your application without this information.

Applicant Guidance:  Applicants should have an awareness of fashion trends and an interest in store and window design.  Applicant may be required to present a portfolio of their previous work and be able to work independently as well as part of a team

Fees: If you are 16-18 as of 31st August in the academic year of which your course starts and are a UK resident you will be eligible for full fee remission and do not have to pay any tuition fees.

If you are 19 or over at the start of your course your fees are £4220 per annum. For a full list of course fees please visit our Fees page. Advanced Learning Loans will be available for anyone aged 19 or over. Click this link to find out more about course fees.

Disclaimer on fees: Tuition fees are subject to change - the fees due are effective at enrolment.

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Meet The Tutor

Meet The Tutor

Tony Morgan, Merchandising Tutor.

Tony spent 18 years as a Creative Manager at Selfridges which took him around the globe sourcing new and innovative approaches to VM as well as directing the buyers with their range planning. He wrote the VM course that he leads and teaches on. Tony also often lectures and consults abroad and is the author of two books specialising in Visual Merchandising.



Natasha Gledhill, Graduated 2015.

"I previously worked in accountancy but found it too restricting. I quit in September and travelled for two months, then found the course online and moved to Huddersfield within a week to start it. I am really enjoying such a change and hoping it'll lead to a VM role. I like the fact the course is tailored towards employment. Other VM courses I have looked at are out of reach without arts qualifications but this course offered me exactly what I want."



Paula Sanchez, Graduated L4 Fast track VM in July 2015, now Visual Merchandiser at Selfridges.


"I love the course, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.  I love that it is so intense as I didn’t want to do a 2-3 year course so the time frame really suited me."

Meet the Visual Merchandiser

Meet the Visual Merchandiser

Alexander Wells-Greco, Head of Visual Merchandising, Harrods.

“I’ve been at Harrods now for almost 7 years and being Head of Visual Merchandising, working across fashion, accessories and beauty, I can honestly say no two days are ever the same. It’s this variety of work that my role entails that makes it so interesting and motivating. My role involves ensuring the store is always looking its best, from the famous Brompton Road windows to in-store displays and listening to the business needs whilst also being creative and coming up with new concepts – merging the two is no easy task so striking the balance is a skill I’ve learnt over the years and something I enjoy very much – seeing the commercial and creative aspects of the business come together is very satisfying. Having worked in five of the world’s major cities – London/Shanghai/New York/Venice/Milan – has resulted in me adopting a global mind-set which, along with my experience of single brand, wholesale, multi-store and department store retail, makes for invaluable qualities anyone looking to peruse a career in visual merchandising should strive to achieve”.

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