GCU London honours influential fashion figures

24 June 2016

GCU London students were joined at their graduation ceremony by inspirational figures who have been honoured for their contributions to the fashion industry.

The ceremony, at Christ Church, Spitalfields on Wednesday, June 22, celebrated academic awards across areas including banking, finance and risk; fashion and luxury business, construction and project management; business, management and marketing; and public health.

Assistant Vice-Principal and Director of GCU’s British School of Fashion Professor Christopher Moore conferred Lifetime Achievement Awards upon Liz Evans, Chief Executive of Oasis and Warehouse, and Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, M&S Executive Director Customer, Marketing and M&S.com. Both award winners have been appointed as Honorary Professors of GCU.

Ms Evans started out as a management trainee at Marks & Spencer in 1989 before taking on store management roles. She joined the Aurora Group in 2006 as Retail Director at Coast before being promoted to Managing Director in 2008. In May 2013, she was appointed CEO of Oasis and Warehouse, which operates in over 800 locations across 40 countries.

Mr Bousquet-Chavanne was appointed to the board of Marks & Spencer plc in July 2013 and has more than 25 years’ experience in the international branded consumer goods industry, in London, Paris and New York. He joined M&S as Corporate Director of Strategy and Business Development in September 2012 and was appointed to his present position in May 2016.

Ms Evans said: “Our involvement with GCU started five years ago and was a defining moment for our business. The British School of Fashion is pioneering, ground breaking and has developed a unique and special partnership with the British Fashion Industry.

“It is an absolute privilege and honour to be here today to receive this award and to be welcomed into the GCU family.”

Mr Bousquet-Chavanne said: “I feel privileged to be joining many illustrious recipients of this award, all who have made a great impact on the world of fashion here in the UK and beyond.

To the graduates, he added: “The purpose of the education you have received is not to serve yourself—but to serve your community, your country, your world. This has been the British School of Fashion mission since inception. Make it your mission.”

The GCU Alumnus of the Year is Erica Charles, who graduated with an MSc in Fashion Marketing and Promotion and is now a brand marketing consultant with more than 18 years’ experience in the international fashion and fashion-related industries. Previous management positions include leading London design and branding agencies and Ms Charles has worked with clients such as FremantleMedia, ASOS.com and Marks & Spencer. She is currently part of the lead team responsible for rolling out the Mary’s Living & Giving Shops for Save the Children – the charity retail concept founded by retail expert Mary Portas.

Ms Charles said: “It really is a pleasure and an honour to be here today; not only to be recognised for the work that I have done and continue to do, but to receive this prestigious award from a University whose commitment ‘For the Common Good’ is truly in line with what I’ve come to believe is at the core of my successes."

GCU London promotes employability and global citizenship in graduates through its high-quality student experience, underpinned by GCU’s mission as the University for the Common Good. The British School of Fashion at GCU London brings together fashion, marketing and retailing through the delivery of ground-breaking postgraduate programmes including Digital Fashion Strategy, Fashion Business Creation, International Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management.

See how the day unfolded on social media.