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Higher Certificate in Fashion 
90647  Higher Certificate in Fashion 
Design Academy of Fashion 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Higher Certificate  Field 02 - Culture and Arts  Design Studies 
Undefined  120  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare learners for a career in fashion or, for those who wish to proceed to higher levels of study in the field of fashion. The early stages of the qualification provide learners with the academic subjects which underpin the remainder of the course. These subjects are then developed in an increasingly applied way as the programme proceeds. The qualification comprises a range of subjects encompassing the best and most modern practices in the world of fashion and draws upon the expertise of academics and employers. A wide range of subjects allows learners to combine skills such as, among others, fashion design, textile studies, illustration and colour theory, garment construction, fashion forecasting, life skills, marketing and advertising, retail planning and buying and technical drawing. The Higher Certificate: Fashion also provides learners with the required competencies to be employed in various fashion related roles in the fashion industry and will enable learners to follow different career opportunities nationally and internationally.

The Higher Certificate: Fashion has been developed to meet the needs of learners who do not have access to higher education. The curriculum has been designed to give learners a basic knowledge of the fashion sector and the skills required to build a successful career. The qualification also serves to meet the growing local demand for training and development with a vocational focus in the fashion and related fields. As an identified priority growth area by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) clothing and textiles requires talented, original and motivated creative designers with the aim of providing maximum impact on the design field. Competent fashion designers and technologists are essential for South Africa to grow in this field. The envisaged qualification will provide the means to increase employment opportunities for graduates, who want to gain access to the industry and have prior qualifications, or provide the means for further Higher Education and Training and at the same time provide a means whereby organisations can appoint practitioners in line with proven competencies.

In addition this qualification will assist the workplace need for competent fashion designers and retail buyers across the fashion sector. The skills, knowledge, attitudes and values required by people working in the field of fashion are captured in this qualification. 

Learners who register for this qualification are assumed to have:
  • Mathematical Literacy, at NQF Level 4.
  • Capacity to do self study and complete written assignments.
  • Ability to communicate in English (read, write and speak).
  • Ability to manage own time.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:
    Learners may provide evidence of prior learning for which they may receive credit towards the qualification by means of portfolios or other forms of appropriate evidence which may include, verified accounts of previous relevant work done and performance records and which evidence is in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Quality Council.

    Access to the Qualification:
    Access to the Higher Certificate is granted to all applicants who meet the minimum entrance requirements or who follow the available alternative route of entry. Applicants who are in possession of:
  • National Senior Certificate (NSC).
  • National Certificate Vocational (NCV) NQF Level 4.
  • A foreign qualification that is equivalent to the NSC as determined by SAQA.
  • Any Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) NQF Level 4 may be granted access to the qualification.

    Access to the Qualification will also be allowed via Recognition of Prior Learning. 


    The learning programme leading to this qualification consists of 13 compulsory modules at NQF Level 5.

  • Fashion Design 1, 20 Credits.
  • Illustration and Colour Theory 1, 7 Credits.
  • Computer Illustration and Design 1, 4 Credits.
  • Pattern Making 1, 20 Credits.
  • Technical Drawing 1, 10 Credits.
  • Garment Construction 1, 20 Credits.
  • Marketing and Advertising 1, 10 Credits.
  • Retail Planning and Buying 1, 10 Credits.
  • Theory of Design 1, 3 Credits.
  • Textile Studies 1, 3 Credits.
  • History of Costume 1, 3 Credits.
  • Life Skills 1, 4 Credits.
  • Fashion Forecasting and Trend 1, 6 Credits.

    Total Number of Credits = 120. 

    Upon completion of a Higher Certificate in fashion the qualifying learners will be able to:
    1. Demonstrate an understanding of theory of design and make use of elementary research and analysis techniques in order to produce concept-boards and technical reports in keeping with various market segments of the fashion industry.
    2. Communicate effectively with all stakeholders in the workplace, enhance one's personal abilities and consider industry practice.
    3. Make use of the operating system, conduct basic research on the internet and make use of design programmes and related hardware as per requirements set by the industry.
    4. Draw basic fashion figures, basic design templates and design simple garments including detail design with a view to creating mood boards and inspiration based storyboard presentations.
    5. Estimate generic trend indicators which tie back to embryonic forecasting balloons prior to the manufacture of collections.
    6. Demonstrate sewing skills across a range of themes, using basic and more complex construction techniques.
    7. Explain and know the history of costume used in ancient civilisation, medieval design and 16th century costume and research an era of choice using the knowledge and skills learnt.
    8. Describe various techniques to render full colour figures and garment illustrations.
    9. Demonstrate an understanding of the foundational concepts of marketing and marketing dynamics of mass marketing and market segmentation, positioning and the intricacies involved in marketing fashion.
    10. Draft a basic pattern set and apply basic principles of adaptation and manipulation.
    11. Describe merchandising principles and practice for the fashion industry, considering the broader context of fashion.
    12. Draw garments as technical flats and become familiar with basic terminology.
    13. Explain textile composition, nature and finishes, as well as the various benefits to the fashion industry.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:
    All the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are addressed in the qualification. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Perform relevant research in the field of fashion and master appropriate research methods and techniques.
  • Write professional essays, use definitions clearly and critically analyse the understanding of the chosen topic and present the correct referencing method (Harvard).
  • Develop professional concept boards and mood boards in line with needs of the market segment and present them.
  • Research market segments and ensure that they are visually represented and defined.
  • Understand adjectival descriptions.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Demonstrate and understanding of awareness of contemporary social, economic and cultural influences on fashion.
  • Identify areas of personal development and put plan of action in place.
  • Apply clear communication techniques and use a variety of situations to communicate own opinions effectively.
  • Display a sense of responsibility to the environment.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Explain various software tasks and activities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to save, retrieve and print out a drawing file to scale using industry Adobe computer aided drawing software.
  • Use various operating systems in relation to the needs of the fashion environment.
  • Show an understanding of File management.
  • Illustrate the understanding of scanning and manipulating in the appropriate software.
  • Show the ability to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop from a foundational perspective.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Illustrate the ability to make use of design equipment appropriately in the production of realistic, balanced, anatomically proportioned line figure drawings.
  • Create detailed fashion drawings with accurate facial features, hands and feet.
  • Illustrate various life-like garments making use of a storyboard with figures, fabric swatches and all storyboard elements.
  • Demonstrate the ability to assimilate information, making use of the colour palette and developmental drawings in order to create designs.
  • Define and illustrate clothing design principles.
  • Create design mood boards and storyboards and present them in line with the requirements stipulated.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Display an understanding of trend forecasting.
  • Analyse and explain historical key trends.
  • Use back casting techniques to plot the diffusion trends for a chosen garment.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Coherently explain the relationship between pattern making, fashion design and garment construction.
  • Sew various garments including a skirt, bodices, sleeves, collars, pants and a fashion show garment, use the correct garment construction techniques, check and adjust where necessary to meet the requirements of the various briefs.
  • Explain and discussed garment construction components such as fabric choice, quality assurance, various technical skills.
  • Execute Sewing in accordance with the design brief.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Analyse, explain and discuss costume and terminology relating to ancient civilisation.
  • Gather research data, order and sort it into a coherent storyboard in accordance with a design brief.
  • Explain and present findings and storyboards.
  • Analyse, explain and discuss costume and terminology relating to medieval and 16th Century.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 8:
  • Illustrate the human figure by means of line drawings and sketches that are anatomically and proportionally correct.
  • Illustrate and demonstrate various mediums for delivery.
  • Render a human figure, using effective composition techniques.
  • Illustrate and discuss texture and the value of rendering techniques, using various mediums.
  • Exemplify a 3-dimensional drawing.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 9:
  • Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of consumer buyer drivers and organisational buying.
  • Explain and conduct market research in the fashion context.
  • Discuss and provide Information on what drives consumer and organisational buying.
  • Compile Consumer profiles.
  • Explain target marketing, the terms and principles associated with managing the marketing mix, fashion marketing and marketing planning in the context of fashion industry.
  • Demonstrate professional oral and written techniques in the presentation of principles and concepts.
  • Explain and discuss the principles and theory associated with fashion marketing, communications, advertising and evaluation.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 10:
  • Critically evaluate and discuss the pattern making environment.
  • Take measurements accurately.
  • Develop the basic skirt block according to own measurements.
  • Analyse a technical sketch to develop a skirt pattern relating to a design brief.
  • Develop, explain and fit patterns for the basic bodice, dart manipulations, collars, button stands, yokes and sleeves.
  • Apply and manipulate a basic pants block, fly zip, waistband, pants pockets, leg variations to a basic pattern.
  • Analyse technical sketch to develop patterns relating to the design brief.
  • Draft and design a pattern for an outfit and fit it.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 11:
  • Demonstrate an Understanding of fundamental knowledge of merchandising principles and practices for the fashion industry.
  • Illustrate an understanding of fundamental knowledge of the role of the buyer.
  • Explain and assimilate the fundamental knowledge of the role of the merchandiser.
  • Show an understanding of fundamental knowledge of the legislative and regulatory framework in which buying practices operate.
  • Explain and assimilate the merchandising planning, practices and buying cycles information.
  • Discuss and practice the significance of and practice of market planning, retail formats and visual merchandising for the fashion retail environment.
  • Discuss and present the sourcing, supply chain management and future trends in buying and merchandising.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 12:
  • Discuss and explain technical illustration techniques and terminology.
  • Develop and explain technical drawing skills and a glossary relating to women's and men's garments.
  • Develop and explain technical drawing skills and a glossary relating to a fashion show, including technically accurate design information for manufacturing purposes.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 13:
  • Define the basic terms and principles relating to natural and man-made fibre.
  • Determine the composition of natural and man-made fibres.
  • Gather fabric swatches and compile a fabric glossary.
  • Classify basic terms and principles relating to extrusion, conversion, weaves and finishes.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Assessment of competence is done through a combination of formative and summative assessment methodologies, tools and procedures, which will not discriminate against learners in an unjust or invalid way. Formative assessment integrates theory with practice, with transfer of skills being conducted in a real or simulated workplace environment. Assessment practices are fair, transparent, valid and reliable.

    The purpose of assessment is to determine whether a learner has met the outcomes of the qualification in terms of theory and practice. Integrative techniques are therefore used to assess applied competence. Candidates should be required to demonstrate that they can perform the outcomes with understanding and insight.

    Assessment should ensure that all Exit Level Outcomes and Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are evaluated. Assessment of the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes should be integrated with the assessment of the Exit Level Outcomes. The Critical Cross-Field Outcomes, implicit in the learning and assessment programmes are designed to extend and further reflect integration. 

    This qualification is comparable with the following international programmes.

    The Italian Arts Institute, Florence, offers a Certificate in Fashion Design:
  • Introduction to the Fashion Industry.
  • Fashion Figure Drawing.
  • Basic Sewing Techniques.
  • Fashion Design I.
  • History of Italian Fashion.
  • Patternmaking.
  • Anthropology of Fashion and Desirability: Beyond the Catwalk.
  • Textiles.
  • Fashion Design Computer Principles I.
  • Fabric Styling.
  • Fashion Design II: Rendering and Design.
  • Apparel Design: Draping.
  • Knitwear in Fashion Design.
  • Accessories Design.
  • History of Costume.
  • Fashion Retail Buying Concepts.
  • Couture Techniques.
  • Collection Development.
  • Fashion Design Computer Principles II.
  • Collection I: Atelier.
  • Cool Hunting: Trend Forecasting and Market Analysis.
  • Product Development.
  • Portfolio in Fashion Design.
  • Fashion Marketing.
  • Collection II Production.
  • Working Group Project in Fashion Design.
  • Fashion Employment Seminar.

    The University of Rhode Island, United States of America offers a Certificate in Fashion:
  • TMD 232, Fashion Retailing.
  • TMD 303, Textile Science.
  • TMD 313, Textile Science Laboratory.
  • TMD 332, Fashion Merchandise Buying.
  • TMD 402, Seminar in Textiles and Clothing.
  • TMD 424, Fashion Theory and Analysis.
  • TMD 432, Fashion Merchandising Operations Control.
  • TMD 433, Textile Markets.
  • TMD 442, Fashion Promotion.
  • TMD 452, Consumer Behaviour in Fashion Retailing.

    This comparison shows a substantial degree of similarity to the identified international qualifications. The Higher Certificate in fashion was found to be in line with international trends - ensuring that students acquire knowledge of the techniques for designing models on paper, elaborating these technical designs via computer and analysing fabrics. All of this is done in order to associate ideas and available materials with the results. They also illustrate fashion figures, design collections and realise clothing items through experimentation and utilisation of a wide variety of fashion techniques. They demonstrate skills in creating paper models, draping, sewing, embroidery, knitwear, printing and designing accessories. 

    This Qualification articulates vertically with the:
  • Diploma: Fashion at NQF Level 6.
  • Advanced Certificate: Fashion at NQF Level 6. 

  • Formative assessment and moderation will be conducted internally.
  • Moderation must include external moderation of assessments at the exit point of the Qualification. 

    Assessors and moderators must hold a qualification at least one level higher than the qualification being assessed or moderated. Moderators are also required to have more than two years' teaching experience. Assessors with less than two years' experience have their assessment work moderated by a peer. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2015. 



    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. Design Academy of Fashion 

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.