Rachel Heeley

Senior Lecturer

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

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

In 2009, she took up a full-time fashion and textiles lecturing post at Gray’s School of Art, RGU, Aberdeen. In this role, she was responsible for student placements, study trips and live projects. She also ran a womenswear fashion label with a business partner called SynoymouS, to familiarise herself with current marketing strategies. Building upon practical experience, she completed an MSc in Fashion Management with Distinction at Robert Gordon University in 2016.

In 2017 Rachel successfully wrote the BA Hons Fashion course at Staffordshire University, which has since been accredited by The Textile Institute. Rachel’s vision for fashion education is creativity alongside employable skills, ensuring an underpinning of important subjects such as sustainability, diversity and inclusivity.

Rachel was awarded a Senior Fellowship for the Academy of Higher Education (SFHEA) in 2019 for her commitment to Higher Education and leadership in the sector. Following this she has mentored others to achieve their HEA status and sat on assessment panels. Rachel is currently the External Examiner for BA Fashion Design & BA Fashion & Fashion Business at University of Hertfordshire and has recently been appointed External Examiner at Glasgow Caledonian University.

She has always had a keen interest in fashion communication and has worked on many collaborative projects, styling her work and other designers’ work. In recent years, her practice has moved into midcentury style prints under the name SpottedDotDot.


Academic qualifications

  • MSc Fashion Management – Robert Gordon University - Distinction - 2016
  • PGCE Post compulsory – University Central Lancashire – 2008
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Design – Northampton University - First Class – 2004


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

Research interests

  • 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.


Notable Personal Press:

BBC Radio Stoke How to Wear the 2021 Fashion Trends. 2021.

BBC Radio Stoke How will the Fashion Industry be affected by Covid-19. 2020.

BBC Radio Stoke The clothing size debate – Why is there no standard size? 2018.

The Statesman, India Not just academic skills. 2017.

The Scotsman, Scotland Is it Michelle or Kate? Actually, the Queen wins in the fashion stakes. 2011.

​​The Times "Spot the Next Galliano". 2004

​​WGSN Spotted at GFW feature. 2004

​​The Hairdressers Journal Catwalk hair feature. 2004

​​Elle Magazine L'Oréal Use of Colour feature. 2004

Drapers Record / TopShop / GFW promotional materials. 2004

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Top 15 for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020