Program structure

The degree program in Accessory Design is a synthesis of art, design, creativity, applied science and practice. The coursework focuses on topics such as social and cultural influences on accessories and fashions as well as on aesthetics, composition and colour theory, which are incorporated into project concepts and their practical implementation. The course covers the design of accessories from oneoff unique items through to mass-produced products, embracing all areas of women’s and men’s accessories – shoes, belts and small leather goods, bags and luggage, glasses, scarves, hats and corresponding features, such as buckles and other decorative elements. Work is done at different levels, ranging from unique items through designer and brand name accessories to articles with a functional emphasis or with digital or interactive qualities. A unique focus of the courses at the Pforzheim School of Design lies in the integration of fundamental studies in the fine arts. Students cultivate skills in the areas of painting, drawing, sculpture and still and moving images. This is complimented by cultural studies in art and design, such as the history of design, art analysis, aesthetics, semiotics and the sociology of cultural processes. These subjects serve to hone the students’ perceptive skills, i.e. the ability to interpret symbols, recognize historical developments and gain cultural knowledge.


Many years of experience show that students thrive on the skills gained from this practical and theoretical knowledge and obtain crucial ideas for their own career development. Furthermore, interdisciplinary projects also provide the opportunity for co-operation with other design fields such as Jewellery, Fashion and Industrial Design. The Accessory Design department works with renowned companies, organizations and research institutes and promotes international study programs and placements abroad. During the initial semesters, emphasis is placed on experimentation with shapes, colours, materials, pattern-making and draping. Themes from a wide range of accessory fields are analyzed and concepts are developed for collections or single items. Subsequently, students are taught to develop their own multifaceted and yet distinctive style through project work, which is integral to all levels of the coursework. In addition, this project work strengthens communication and decision- making skills as well as creative thought.

Proficiency in business, management and marketing, provided by the department for Design and Business, supplements the basic knowledge essential to all design fields. The 5th semester is a mandatory internship semester, preferably spent abroad. For the realization of projects, the Accessory Design course has superbly well-equipped workshops and laboratories at its disposal: approximately 100 students work on equipment for patternmaking and in leather and sewing workshops, in media laboratories and in studios for audiovisual presentation techniques. Students participate in excursions, attend guest lectures and workshops and are encouraged to spend time abroad for studies and internships. In addition, regular participation in international competitions is an essential part of the course. Furthermore, students take part in various fashion shows and exhibitions and present their final pieces from each semester in a public show in Pforzheim, which is organized down to the last detail by the students.

The goal of the degree course is to train independent, highly creative designers, who are capable of developing their own perspectives and forms of expression and assuming authorship of their own work. 

'Hibernate' by Annika Mette Sorg
Project by Yelena Meyer