28 May 2013
Award-winning fashion designer, TV star and a regular in magazine best-dressed lists... now Patrick Grant can add another accolade to his name - Honorary Professor in Business at Glasgow Caledonian University.
The influential Scottish designer and judge on hit television series, The Great British Sewing Bee, is the latest global fashion talent to take up the role of Honorary Professor, in a move which further cements GCU’s impressive industry credentials.
Patrick has transformed the fortunes of one of Savile Row’s most prestigious tailors, Norton & Sons, reinventing it to become one of the world’s top luxury labels, worn by men such as Christian Louboutin, Christopher Kane and the late Alexander McQueen. He has breathed new life into the brand, despite having no prior experience in the fashion industry.
Professor John Wilson, Executive Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor of the Glasgow School for Business and Society, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Patrick is to become an honorary professor. His outstanding entrepreneurial and leadership skills will be of enormous benefit to GCU, the School and, above all, the students. The appointment of Professor Grant further enhances our distinguished roll of honorary professors.”
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Patrick studied Materials Science and Engineering at Leeds University and Universite d’Orleans before taking a Masters degree in Business Administration at the University of Oxford.
His love of fashion, craftsmanship and heritage brands led him to Savile Row where he took over Norton & Sons in 2005, selling his home and car to help finance the purchase.
“When I bought it, I was taking on a house with only one tailor, a part-time cutter and not many customers,” said Patrick. “So to restore such a beautiful old house to where it is now feels like a huge achievement. Our brand is now talked about worldwide – it’s amazing to think that so many people know the name of this tiny tailor’s shop.”
As Honorary Professor, Patrick follows in the footsteps of ASOS.com co-founder and CEO Nick Robertson; Brian Duffy, former President and Chief Operating Officer of Polo Ralph Lauren Europe; and Stephen Craig, former chief executive of AllSaints.
He said he was honoured to accept his new role and to help shape the education of GCU students.
“I’m impressed by the role that British universities play in keeping fashion and luxury global – it’s absolutely fundamental,” said Patrick.
“My story is unusual – I come from an engineering background, so hopefully that will show students that someone like me can make a success of business in this tough industry. I guess it’s a story of perseverance and working sensibly, which will hopefully inspire students.”
In 2009, Patrick re-launched the defunct Norton subsidiary, sporting and military tailoring house, E. Tautz, as a ready-to-wear collection for which he won the British Fashion Council’s Menswear Designer of the Year award 2010. The label recently moved into womenswear for the first time, with a capsule collection for Spring/Summer 2013.
Last month, it was announced that Patrick would create his first diffusion line, Hammond & Co, for the Designers at Debenhams collection which will launch in September this year. He has resurrected the historic house, founded in 1776, which was a favourite of royalty and Parisian couturier, Paul Poiret, considered the founder of modern fashion.
The designer has enjoyed critical and commercial success since he took the helm at Norton & Sons. He was presented with the BFC’s Fashion Forward award in 2012 and was shortlisted for Designer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards and International Designer of the Year at the WGSN Global Fashion Awards.
He is also the only menswear designer to make the shortlist for the British Fashion Council/Vogue Fund, in both 2009 and 2010.
His own personal style has earned him regular spots in best-dressed lists, including GQ’s 50 Best Dressed Men, in which he has appeared for the last five years; Shortlist’s 100 Most Stylish Men Ever; and he has been named in Esquire Magazine’s Most Stylish Man in the World list.
Patrick, who has collaborated and consulted with a string of leading labels, from Kim Jones and Rag & Bone to House of Holland and The Kooples, said he was looking forward to joining the GCU community.
“I’ve already benefited from meeting many of the exceptional people associated with GCU,” said Patrick.
“I attended Nick Robertson’s professional lecture at GCU London - it was fascinating - and afterwards went to dinner, where I found myself sitting at a table with extraordinary people who’ve done exceptional things in luxury and clothing. It’s great being part of this fantastic network of people.”