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North West School of Design (NWSD), founded by awarding winning and highly recognized Fashion Entrepreneur Marlene Oosthuizen, has recently celebrated 22 years of training International and South Africa’s top designers and fashion professionals. From 2013 the institution provided the South African fashion industry aspirants the opportunity to gain certification from the internationally recognised City and Guilds in fashion design or fashion buying and communications. As per the DHET, it is unfortunate that City and Guilds is no longer recognized in South Africa as of 2018 – this has provided an opportunity for NWSD to reinvent the brand and become aligned to the HEQSF at an appropriate NQF level. Through research and commitment, NWSD has designed a NQF Level 6: DIPLOMA IN FASHION DESIGN which has been submitted for accreditation.

The 3-year course in Fashion Design aims to provide the technical skillsets and practical techniques fashion designers need to conceptualize ideas, create blueprint patterns and, construct apparel by applying finishing techniques to production processes. It also aims to provide understanding of the core theoretical principles and practices that are integrated into the business of fashion, encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset able to justify the impact of the fashion world in driving international markets and globalization. Graduates entering the industry have a variety of career options available and gain valuable exposure through real-world work integrated learning experiences throughout the three years. The course encourages specialization within the discipline and provides access to further lifelong learning opportunities.

The North West School of Design is situated in the City of the People – Klerksdorp, North West. Together with Rustenburg, Klerksdorp forms the economic heart of the Platinum Province, North West Province.


The course consists of four full-year modules.  In each year, the first three modules focus on the conceptual underpinnings, while the fourth module culminates the years learning into the Work Integrated Learning Module which focuses on the full cycle of production in the fashion world.

The first year of the course is compulsory for all students and forms the foundation of the programme – exiting students at NQF level 5. The course provides students with the opportunity to choose a career trajectory path and focus on the specialist set of skills and knowledgebase needed for either of these streams in their second year.

Students can enter the industry as fashion designers with the practical and technical skillsets to design and produce patterns and construct garments that are grounded in research and trend analysis. While the Fashion Communication and Buying electives focus on providing students with an expanded array of career opportunities within the business of fashion.

At the commencement of the second year, students choose between the two discipline streams, namely;

  • Diploma in Fashion Design: Fashion Design
  • Diploma in Fashion Design: Fashion Communications & Buying

Students can replace the Apparel Construction module with Fashion Buying and Public Relations units, enabling the opportunity to focus on the discipline.

Over three academic years, the programme consists of 3600 notional hours and awards 360 credits upon successful achievement of all modules.


Fashion Design Students – For the more practical, creative and technical aspects of designing, like being involved in the design and manufacture of garments.  This elective field will prepare you in design, construction, illustration, pattern engineering, product development and business management. Careers to follow with this qualification: Fashion Designer, Retail Designer, Couture Designer, Costume Designer, Patternmaker, Pattern-grader, CAD Specialist, Fashion Illustrator, Graphic Designer for Clothing, Production Manager/Specialist, Tailor, Quality Controller, Clothing Technologist, Procurement Specialist, Lecturer, Productivity Specialist.

Fashion Communication & Buying Students – For those who are interested in the retail and management, financial, administrative and communicating side of fashion, and who want to get to such a position where all the big decisions lay on your shoulders, should follow this elective field, which will prepare you for careers in Fashion Buying, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Editing, Merchandising, Fashion Blogger, Trend Forecaster, Fashion Photographer, Fashion Agent, Fashion Marketing specialist, Fashion Events coordinator, Retail / Boutique management, and Fashion Publicist.


The course is designed for contact mode learning and therefore it is vital that students attend learning sessions. Students who have absenteeism problems not only suffer academically, but also socially. Absenteeism leads to inadequate learning on the part of the student and affects their overall performance. In the class or group situation, absenteeism of some of the students leads to unsatisfactory class averages and because our lecturer’s job performance is measured on class averages obtained by the group, NWSD follows a strict absenteeism policy.

Each year consists of 4 terms and term breaks are estimated in accordance with provincial school term-breaks.

  • 2021 Classes start on Wednesday, 27 January 2021
  • Classes are Monday to Friday – 08h30 to 16h00
  • Morning sessions are from 08h30 to 13h30
  • Self-directed sessions are from 13h30 to 16:00
  • All the above sessions will be attended as essential lecturing sessions and are compulsory class hours.
  • Attendance registers are kept at all sessions.
  • Students may take 1 hour (per week) leave absence from self-directed sessions for tuition related errands.
• The total annual course fee is payable in either 4 termly instalments or 12 monthly instalments. Please note that these instalments are the payment plan towards the total course fee and these monthly payments therefore do not coincide with monthly attendance of classes.
• Registration fees and other fees paid to NWSD are non-refundable.
• Students will receive a Registration Confirmation letter and student number once the Registration fee is paid and all signed contracts have been issued to NWSD.

Please Note

  • NWSD will gladly assist you in obtaining Special discounted prices for machines and laptops
  • Students who are unable to receive funding for sewing projects will be assisted by the principal, by assigning a client who will then be responsible for the purchasing of fabric for the relevant project. The student will then produce the garment for the client under strict guidance from the principal to ensure the client receives a high-quality garment. 
  • NWSD will supply fabric for the following projects: 3rd year 3D Design; 3rd year Zero Waste Project; 1st year 1st Garment Project; 1st Year sewing samples
  • Lecturing schedules and submission deadlines for sewing projects will not be rescheduled for students who do not have fabric in time for such schedules. Therefore, it is important to diarize and note the dates for when this fabric is needed.  

Student Accommodation

The North West School of Design does not house students, although we have contacts of available accommodation near the college.  We can, however, not disclose any contact details, costs, addresses or any information regarding accommodation due to safety and privacy reasons.

The admissions officer or the institute administrator will gladly assist registered students with finding accommodation on request.

We look forward to having you on campus!