Study programme

Textile and Fashion students often respond sensitively and intuitively to the constantly changing spirit of the times and how this embodies on our skin and in the world around us. With this fascination as a starting point, you get acquainted with both disciplines in the first year of your studies at the academy.

In order to help you orientate properly, all students are taught together in both artistic and technical subjects such as pattern design, weaving, knitting and printing techniques. Additionally, you attend theoretical courses on subjects such as the history of art, textile and fashion. This way you learn where the disciplines of textile and fashion join and where they differ. Halfway through the first year you make a well-considered choice for one of the specialisations.

As a textile or fashion student you experiment a lot with the use of materials, colours, techniques and textures, and making expressive formal studies. During the course of the four-year programme you refine your unique signature and craftsmanship in creating innovative designs.

Some courses are mainly design-oriented, others focus more on technical skills and professional knowledge. Various research methods are also covered in which you study all aspects of textile, fashion and their worldwide manifestations.

In addition, you conduct in-depth supporting research into the role and relevance of fashion and textile in the past and in our current society. This allows you to become acquainted with a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and teaches you to better formulate and contextualise your own work.

An international team of specialist tutors teaches a variety of courses that together have one goal: for you to learn all competences necessary to maximise the expression of your authentic talent and vision.

Programme structure

Each year is divided into two semesters, intermitted by project weeks around a specific topic.

The first year (propaedeutic year) focuses primarily on experimentation; on getting rid of prejudices and other restrictive conditioned ideas about 'style' and the possibilities of the discipline. Students are challenged to explore unknown territory and to look for their personal fascination. In combination with their natural talent already present, this is the start of working towards original ideas and a personal signature.

During the first semester of the first year, all students of the department follow basic courses in model drawing, experimental design, visual communication, pattern making, weaving, knitting, printing techniques, and on the history of art, textile and fashion. Similarities and differences between the two disciplines are emphasised for students to be able to make a well-founded choice at the end of that semester for either fashion or textile design. During the second semester the basic knowledge of the chosen discipline is further expanded and deepened.

To support the development of the student's own signature, the second year mainly focuses on increasing skills and professional knowledge by studying craft techniques and different historical, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

With a history dating back to 1682, the year the academy was founded, the KABK is the oldest art academy in the Netherlands. The development of a unique artistic expression is therefore embedded in the context of a thorough vocational training.

For fashion students in the second year this means, among other things, gaining more knowledge of the tailoring trade by learning specialist execution techniques as well as pattern making, drapery and moulage. For textile students, there is a greater focus on specialist subjects such as couture embroidery, print design and industrial product design. Guidance is provided by highly experienced professionals who share their rich professional knowledge based on their own successful international practices.

An important aspect of this year is learning various forms of research, both to see contextual connections of one's own work within history and current affairs, but also as an essential part of an exploratory attitude within each design process.

During the second and third year, students are also encouraged to actively participate in the Individual Study Track (IST) programme; all departments of the academy offer cross-disciplinary projects that encourages students to think ´out-of-the-box´ and to seek collaborations within this ´learning community´. In this way the academy forms a vital creative ecosystem.

Additionally, the second year offers the possibility, based on a well-founded motivation, for individual students to study a semester abroad at one of our exchange-partner programmes.

In the third year, a connection is made with the professional world outside the academy. Almost the entire first semester is devoted to designing and executing a collection (fashion or textile design). Extra attention is paid to learning to create significance and how to communicate and present this in a portfolio.

Students independently investigate companies in the Netherlands and abroad that match their interests and profile, prepare their curriculum vitae and portfolio that they will use to apply for 1 or 2 internships of at least 3 months each. In this way they become acquainted with the industrial professional practice.

The fourth year focuses entirely on sharpening, profiling and positioning the critical personal vision of the individual student. You develop a graduation project in the form of a collection, a thesis and a final presentation that together provide a clear, distinctive and meaningful answer to the question ‘What will I contribute to the world of tomorrow?

At this very moment, the field of textile and fashion is critically reflecting on and redefining itself. Much thought is given to speculative scenarios and questions regarding relevant themes such as pollution, sustainability and transformation. It is essential that a young designer takes a distinct position in this and knows how to substantiate and communicate with his or her audience.

Collaborations with professionals from adjacent disciplines are encouraged: photography, graphic design, styling, exhibition design, PR & communication, partners from the textile and fashion industry, etc.

All graduation projects are part of the annual presentation of the department called "EXPOSED" in which both textile and fashion students from all years present their work to the outside world. The presentation can take the form of a show, an exhibition or a happening with an accompanying publication. In addition, all KABK graduation students present their work during the academy-wide Graduation Show, which attracts around 7,000 visitors annually.

Final qualifications

The final qualifications have been summarised in seven competencies. The KABK has established these competencies according to the national final qualifications for Educational Profiles for Fine Art and Design programmes.

Graduates are expected to meet the following final qualifications:

Students can develop an innovative concept and elaborate this into a unique and significant image, product, means of communication or spatial design and can put this into a context in an innovative fashion.

Students can observe, analyse, explain and evaluate their own work and that of others and can use the results of this to the advantage of their own work.

Students can further develop their views, capacities, work and way of working in a way that suits their character and is related to their discipline.

Students can create and maintain an inspiring and functional work situation for themselves.

Students can present and explain their work in an inspiring fashion and can discuss it with clients and other interested parties.

Students have a view about the role and position of their discipline in society and can relate their work and opinions to those of others and to cultural and social developments.

Students can direct cooperative efforts and give both content and quality to them.

Further education

There are various professional opportunities for students who complete the bachelor programme Textile & Fashion. KABK alumni work for various well-known industrial companies, create collections or products within a design collective or work as independent designer.

With a bachelor’s degree you can also choose to specialise further, for example by following a master's programme.