Rachel Heeley

Interim Head Of Department

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

Rachel teaches across all aspects of BA (Hons) Fashion due to her diverse background of events management, Fashion & Textile design and fashion communication. She currently runs print label SpottedDoTDoT and is currently undertaking a PhD in Global Education.

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, live projects, and Erasmus study abroad partnerships. 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 and as per the University module size restructure she completed a rewrite in 2021. The course has been accredited by The Textile Institute in 2019 and awarded membership to Graduate Fashion Foundation (GFW) in 2021. 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 International Fashion Business and Fashion Design with Business 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.

With Rachel’s experience of curriculum development and personal connection with dyslexia she is currently undertaking a PhD in Global Education at Coventry University with the working title: How can Higher Education courses (particularly creative courses) be designed to support learners with dyslexia effectively?


Academic qualifications

PhD in Global Education - Coventry University - 2022 - Present Working Title: How can Higher Education courses (particularly creative courses) be designed to support learners with dyslexia effectively?

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 Design


Textile Design (Print)

Events Management

Fashion Business

Fashion Communication

Research interests

  • The benefits of interdisciplinary working in creative/design practice.
  • Dyslexia in Higher Education.


I teach a variety of modules on BA (Hons) Fashion such as:

Fashion Business

Fashion Hot Topics (sustainability, diversity, and ethical fashion)

Fashion Industry Ready (live projects)

Life After Staffs 2 (self-promotion including online presence).

Fashion Final Major Project

I also supervise MA students on Negotiated Study degree who wish to specialise in Fashion.

My vision for the fashion course and my teaching ethos is to teach creativity alongside a commercial understanding in preparation for the fashion industry. I encourage and nurture independent learning to ensure students are confident when graduating from the course.

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:

Sustainability Magazine How Sustainable is your Wardrobe? 2021

Stylist Magazine Shop this Week's Style. 2021

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

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021