Fashion leaders welcome British School of Fashion

12 September 2013

Marc Bolland

Marc Bolland

Excerpts from speeches delivered at the launch of the British School of Fashion.

Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks and Spencer, welcomed the British School of Fashion's commitment to harness the creativity of emerging talent: "I am often asked if I see a green shoot - I see a green shoot here. Why is GCU in Fashion Street and no one else? The University is so people orientated with its drive for talent and passion that it attracts people like yourselves.”

"If you are an entrepreneur, if you stick your neck out, if you do what I call the best of British in its true sense…I hope London will go even further than where we are today. This is actually the best example of it that I have seen."

Designer Hannah Coffin, founder of the Needle & Thread label and Honorary Professor at GCU, spoke of her successful career at Karen Millen and AllSaints and the launch of her own labels with her husband, business partner and Honorary Graduate of GCU, Stephen Craig: "When I left AllSaints, Stephen and I set about building something of our own.  I didn't want to replicate any other brand. We named the first brand Needle & Thread and its beauty is that it is hand-designed and hand-made.

"In 11 months, we are now stocked in Selfridges, Harrods, Bloomingdales and other international stores and we have a staff of 70 plus, here and in India. We have had amazing support from amazing partners like Asos.

"The Hannah Coffin collection launches exclusively in Harrods on Monday. This is my dream, it is a fantasy brand, the red carpet luxury dress that you will feel a million dollars in.

"It takes tenacity and determination to make it in this industry. It is absolutely cut-throat and the passion has to be there. You can't work in this industry unless it is in your heart and in your blood, it is relentless but it is the most amazing industry.

"Educating the next generation and preparing them for the real world with real skills in fashion business is amazing and I wish Professor Christopher Moore and Professor Pamela Gillies all the very best in their new venture.

"Education is something I believe in. My mother and my grandmother were both teachers of textiles and I believe that the teachers and the professors of this country are unsung heroes."