Professor Emeritus Thomass Atkinson to Lead AOD Fashion & Textile Future Vision

The Academy of Design (AOD), is delighted to welcome on board Professor Thomass Atkinson into its academic staff to Lead AOD Fashion & Textile Future Vision. As of February 2022, Thomass will be overseeing the university’s BA fashion programmes, bringing with him an impressive industrial and academic portfolio to further enhance the leading design institution


A celebrated portfolio

Previously Head of School Fashion at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Rochester and Epsom, Prof. Thomass graduated from St Martins School of Art, London with a BA (Hons) Fashion/Textiles, before pursuing an MA Design Degree in Fashion from the Royal College of Art, London.

This was followed by a successful tenure in the fashion industry as a menswear and womenswear designer in both Italy and the UK, working closely on an number of projects for some of the world’s most recognised designer labels -the likes of Luciano Soprani, Giorgio Armani, Bernard Wetherill Ltd (Savile Row), and Laura Ashley-, before embarking on a career in higher education.

Prof. Thomass’ first foray into education was as a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Product Development at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in 1994, where he rose through the ranks over to eventually hold the position of Deputy Head of the Rochester School of Fashion. In 2005 he joined the University for Creative Arts as its Director of Studies, and over the years was promoted within the institution to the positions of Associate Dean of Fashion, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Strategic Academic Planning (SAP) to finally the Head of School and Head of Campus (Rochester)-having been conferred the title of Emeritus Professor of Fashion Education in recognition of his immense contribution to Fashion Education.

Prof. Thomass has also held consultancy roles working with Venture Capital Company in China to provide Fashion Business advisory, and also with the School of International Art (SIA Education), China as a Higher Education Consultant. He has also been an External Examiner for a number of fashion courses at some of the world’s most prestigious universities – Royal College of Art, Lasalle-Sia College of Arts Singapore, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh College of Art, London College of Fashion (UAL)-, and at present Central Saint Martins (UAL), University of Salford and has also been an active member of a number of professional bodies, namely the Association of Fashion & Textiles courses (FTC), British Fashion Council, and Graduate Fashion Week.

Prof. Thomass and AOD

With his strong industry track record and even-sturdier academic credentials, Prof. Thomass works to transform fashion design and creative industries education –with the aim to enhance both, its teaching and learning experiences. As a credible academic leader having led the development of several higher education design courses, Prof. Thomass is well-positioned in his new role to lead the Fashion School to provide strategic vision for the development of the department’s pedagogical approach, such that it translates into an impactful and holistic schooling for the academy’s student body.

Drawing also from his knowledge of the workings of the contemporary fashion design industry through his consultancy experience, Prof. Thomass is well-versed with the ticking of consumer shifts and changing behaviours, with plans to leverage this to hone students to be better prepared for the industry that awaits.

He also brings to the table a large international network and industry influence, which will undoubtedly translate into enviable opportunities for AOD’s fashion design students to showcase their work on global platforms, alongside professional development opportunities and industry placements. As the COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves around the world, the fashion industry too suffered its worst blow yet. However, as testament to the resiliency of the sector and its impassioned workers, two years later, recovery is in the cards.

However, resiliency and passion are directly proportional, and here too Prof. Thomass comes in; with the capacity to reign in future designers and sharpen appetites for positive change, all by providing students with a durable skillset and effective decision making skills: the key to navigating uncertainty without losing out on purpose.

AOD’s diverse and global faculty

In order to succeed in a competitive and fast-developing industry, aspiring designers need to be backed by inspiring educators –those with a wealth of international expertise behind them, but also with a finger on the pulse of consumer behaviour and the global fashion agenda.

AOD takes pride in its diverse global faculty, with professional experience ranging from a distinct array of design fields and disciples from across the world. Be it full-time, visiting, or adjunct lecturers, each is uniquely placed –but equally driven- to provide exemplary academic and developmental mentorship when it comes to helping students harness their own individual brand of design to for their journey into making its as successful thinkers and creators. As accomplished designers, architects, entrepreneurs, and academics, AOD’s faculty collectively nurture and continually stimulate the university’s culture of design innovation, while showing immense dedication to teaching and mentoring their students.

Studying Fashion Design at AOD

All of AOD’s 3-year BA (Hons) Programmes are affiliated with the globally-ranked Northumbria University, UK, as too are the BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design and the BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Marketing degrees.

With the BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design Programme – one of the most popular programmes at the academy- students are first familiarised with a diverse suite of fashion disciplines to both help hone their fashion interests, as well their confidence to finally establish and showcase their own signature brand of style. The course is a combination of tutorial guidance, project ‘crits’, lectures, competitions, live industrial projects, and placements, where students will get a hands-on education of the local and global fashion industry, through both expertise and portfolio.

With the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Marketing on the other hand, students get to engage in all aspects of fashion studies, from research into fashion markets and their customers, to fashion forecasting, fashion graphics, illustration, photographic styling and promotional techniques, as well as design realisation projects through pattern creation and garment construction. This programme provides as immersive exploration of fashion concepts, and products and promotions for future markets, with students emerging as well-informed and industry-savvy fashion marketeers.

The AOD Graduate School too offers a unique discipline within the fashion sector for mature students, defined by the industry’s fast-evolving landscape. The 2-year MA Contour Fashion Innovation programme in partnership with the De Montfort University UK, explores creativity, technologies and entrepreneurship within the specialised field of Contour Fashion, to help develop the skills required to develop a leading-edge portfolio as well as insight into how a contour fashion label might be launched into the market place.

AOD invites Sri Lanka’s young fashion design aspirants as well as entrepreneurs and mature fashion design students to learn more about the university’s Fashion Design programmes, now overseen by Professor Thomass Atkinson For more information, reach AOD Colombo
on 0775727772, email or walk in between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R A De Mel mawatha,
Colombo 4