My career has been in Fashion, Art and Design for the last 30 years. On graduating from university I went to work as a fashion designer for Top Shop, River Island, Miss Selfridge, John Lewis and other high street stores. I moved on to lecturing in fashion and culture and eventually became Principal Lecturer in Fashion Studies at The University for Creative Arts. I developed one of the first BA Honours degree programmes in Fashion Promotion and Media. At that time, the only fashion courses around were focused purely on design, pattern cutting and manufacture, there were no opportunities for students wanting to study other areas of fashion such as advertising, branding, marketing, styling, photography and illustration. These were the days of The Face, New Sounds New Styles and ID magazines and the emergence of the DIY music and style cultures, where anyone could aspire to anything...particularly in the creative enclaves of art, music, fashion, clubs, photography, journalism and TV. You just picked up your pen, brush, guitar, drum sticks, camera, make-up box or sewing machine and did it. It was time for rules to be broken. I really wanted to cater for this new way of approaching fashion education by mashing up areas of clothes design, marketing, branding, media, music, club culture, journalism, editing, styling and photography to create something that fitted the ethos of the times. Of course this all flew in the face of conventional degree education, academic rigour, Ofsted and the QAA........but we did it. Suffice to say, there are now around 40 similar courses running at UK universities, and this holisitc approach to teaching and learning is considered not only normal, but essential.
I now run my own educational consultancy, specialising in support for schools, colleges and universities who want to develop programmes in fashion, art, design and media. As well as undertaking a range of examining and quality review activities throughout the UK and overseas for the qualifications body Pearson, I also work with the Art and Design development team for BTEC qualifications at all levels. This involves reviewing, developing and writing new and existing documentation for Art, Design and Media programmes which are delivered world wide at levels 1-5 throughout colleges and universities. In addition to this I work as an independent consultant and external examiner for several UK universities in areas of Art, Design, Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, Advertising, Branding and Fashion Media. I also advise universities and colleges in the UK and overseas on developing fashion based courses up to postgraduate level. I have recently developed a BA (Hons) programme in Fashion Retail with the University of West London and have previously written and had validated courses in Fashion and Textiles Design, Fashion Promotion, Fashion Marketing and Fashion Media. I am employed by Pearson as an academic writer of educational guides for tutors and have produced 10 published works in this field.
I have had the good fortune to work with colleges and universities world wide; including centres in Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Japan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and most of Europe. I am now concentrating on developing centres in Europe and am currently working specifically with The Open Design School, a network of eight colleges throughout France who are delivering the BTEC UK qualifications in Graphics, Fashion and Textiles, Interactive Media, Photography and Fine Art.
I never stop learning from the experiences of working in an international environment, and I am constantly uplifted and inspired by the amazing, original and thoughtful work created by Art and Design students of all nationalities, backgrounds, religions and cultures. I see their work and I see no boundaries. I see their work and I see hope.
Writers- Honore de Balzac, Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Thomas Hardy, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Colin Macinnes, Martin Amis....anyone who paints pictures with words.
Photographers- Nick Knight (who took my cover photo). The classics such as Parkinson and Bailey; and the pioneers such as Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Rankin, Martin Parr, David Lachapelle, Ellen von Unwerth
Designers, architects, journalists, music; always music