Rachel Heeley

Senior Lecturer

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

I graduated from Northampton University with a First Class BA (Hons) Fashion Design in 2004. After gaining considerable press coverage at Graduate fashion week, I set up my own fashion label which I sold in The Fashion & Textile Museum London, along with other boutiques and privately commissioned work. During this time I also undertook visiting lecturing. I later moved on to freelance events management, and worked on national “themed” events as well as prestige events such as Grand Prix, Silverstone and Goodwood Festival of Speed. During this time I completed a PGCE in post compulsory education in 2008.

In 2009 I took up a full time fashion and textiles lecturing post at Gray’s School of Art, RGU, Aberdeen. In this role I was responsible for student, placements, study trips and live projects. I also ran a womenswear fashion label with a business partner called SynoymouS, to familiarise myself with current marketing strategies.

In recent years I have become very interested in fashion communication and have worked on many collaborative projects, styling my work and other designers’ work. Building upon practical experience, I completed a MSc in Fashion Management with Distinction at Robert Gordon University in 2016.

In 2017 I successfully wrote the BA Hons Fashion course at Staffordshire University. I have recently in 2019 been awarded a Senior Fellowship for Academy of Higher Education (SFHEA) for my commitment to Higher Education and leadership in the sector.

Academic qualifications

  • MSc Fashion Management – Distinction - 2016

  • PGCE Post compulsory – 2008

  • BA (Hons) Fashion Design – First Class – 2004


Fashion and Textile design, events management, fashion communication, through styling.

Research interests

Research interests include:

  • The evolution of the fashion image through digital media.

  • The benefits of collaborative working in creative/design practice.


I teach a variety of modules on BA (Hons) Fashion and supervise MA students on Negotiated Study degree.

My vision for the fashion course is to teach creativity alongside a commercial understanding in preparation for the fashion industry.

Please see the course page for further information.


Conference papers:

  • Heeley, R. The Evolution of the Fashion Image as seen through Digital Media. FCVC2018 , Zagreb, Croatia July 2018.
  • Chimiak, T. and Heeley, R. The perception of interdisciplinary learning, through undergraduate student’s exploration of fashion film. FCVC2018, Zagreb, Croatia July 2018.
  • Heeley, R. The benefits of interdisciplinary working, to enhance graduate attributes. Staffordshire University Conference, Stoke-on-Trent, England May 2017.
  • Fairburn, S. Heeley, R. and Pengelly, J. Crossing over, into and back: Design disciplines and identities. E&PDE, Denmark September 2016.
  • Hardingham, L. and Heeley, R. Body of nursing as seen through the NHS nurse’s uniform. Futurescan3, Scotland November 2015.

Conference Exhibition:

Hardingham, L. Et al. Alex x 6. Enhancing Nursing through Educational Research (ENTER) Conference, Aberdeen, Scotland November 2014


  • Heeley, R. Not just academic skills. The Statesman, India June 2017.
  • Heeley, R. Is it Michelle or Kate? Actually, the Queen wins in the fashion stakes. The Scotsman, Scotland May 2011.
Top 250 Young University

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The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

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