English with Fashion Design
12 March 2009

London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, famous for its street style and cool designs.

Designers and journalists come from all over the world to see the latest at the annual London Fashion Week, which has just ended, and many trainees want to study the subject in the UK.

And one London language school takes fashion more seriously than most. Islington Centre for English has such strong links with a top fashion college that it offers a summer course in the subject for starters as well as options for more committed students.

Why? The fashion college - now called the School of Design London, and part of Northumbria University - was founded by the parents of ICE principal Tim Shoben and the two have always worked closely together.

"It's fantastic, one of the foremost design schools in the country. And we work together with them in two main ways. We teach academic English to their degree students. And we also run English with fashion summer school courses.

"We get a group in over the summer, and they do English lessons in the morning and in the afternoon fashion design training with teachers from Northumbria. They also do terrific fashion excursions to places like Savile Row, Carnaby Street, the Kings' Road and the Victoria and Albert museum.

"They get lectures and practical design, so a bit of pattern cutting, sewing and so on. Some of them want to do fashion and use it as a taster."

Another option, says Mr Shoben, puts together a full-time one year English course with a one-year fashion diploma.

Have any of his students become well-known designers yet? "You know that students on the degree course, who do their English with us, are going to go into the business, but it is a bit more of a mixture for the summer school.

"We and the fashion college have trained people who go on to work for companies like Marks and Spencer, and lots of top fashion stores in London. The college has a fantastic track record - Northumbria is one of the most successful design colleges in the UK."

Islington Centre for English is at http://letslearnenglish.org/home.htm  

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By Susan Young

Is your school doing something interesting? Contact susan@englishuk.com


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