Colin McDowell

Colin has been a great friend and colleague of myself and the College for many years. He is a seminal figure in fashion commentary and one of the giants of fashion journalism. He has been involved in the industry for 35 years, as designer, stylist, illustrator, editor, broadcaster and author, and has written expertly on the subject for magazines and newspapers all over the world.

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He is the author of 16 books on fashion and related subjects, The Observer called his Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion “the definitive guide to fashion in this century”, whilst his Dressed to Kill: Sex, Power and Clothes was chosen as one of the Books for Balmoral by the Books Trust, and a copy presented to the Queen. He has covered subjects such as Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy; Hats: Status, Style and Glamour; and Fashion Today. He has written biographies of, among others, Ralph Lauren, John Galliano and Manolo Blahnik. Hundreds of people read his books, follow his articles and blog and have waited with interest and expectation to hear what his thoughts are not just on individual designers but the state of the fashion industry or the development of new talent. When people ask if Colin is here or enquire after Colin’s thoughts, we all know who that Colin is. Vogue magazine has acknowledged his “enormous contribution” to the industry. He is the Creative Director of the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art, and has an Honorary Doctorate of University of the Arts London.

Colin has given me much insight into fashion and its related industries. He is witty and insightful and I am always keen to discuss his ideas and views on issues such as consumerism, feminism, gay and black power how youth movements have been clothed and given expression by fashion. Colin has done much to champion new issues such as the ethical sourcing of fashion materials, and the moral and social considerations concerning health, models and body sizing. He picks up on political interests- writing about the darker aspects of fashion whether it’s the perfume industry and animal cruelty or labour conditions. But above all I greatly admire his commitment and belief to developing and nurturing new talent, notably through his work with Fashion Fringe.

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