First director of the British School of Fashion delivers speech

12 September 2013

Professor Christopher Moore

Professor Christopher Moore

Excerpts from address delivered by Professor Christopher Moore, Director of British School of Fashion, at GCU London launch event.

If my calculations are correct, GCU’s credentials in the fashion arena go back almost 140 years. In those days, the courses were called Tailoring and Clothing Construction, and Industrial sewing. But never fashion. In fact, like many universities in the UK, we only started using the term fashion in relation to our degree programme around 20 years ago.

Reflecting back on those early years, it is absolutely clear that our standards were always exceptionally high.

We expected our students to be engineers in the science of garment construction. And mathematicians – in the science of garment sizing and production management.  They were also expected to be experts of the Paris scene – since that was where all ideas of “the very latest thing” emerged. 

But it does not need me to tell this audience that the world of fashion has changed much since then.

And perhaps, as you would expect of us, we, as a university, have never stood still.  We have transformed, developed and adapted just as the fashion sector has changed.

While our roots in garment design and manufacturing still flourish, we have extended our reach to lead in the area of fashion business. Indeed, this university has done much to establish and develop the business of fashion as a credible and creditable area of academic activity – through our teaching, our research and our business development activities. We are thought-leaders in this area and therefore it is no surprise that our graduates are represented in almost every leading fashion business that you can think of.

We extended into the fashion business realm because we know that the industry needs talented fashion business leaders. It needs fashion business graduates who have been developed, nurtured and challenged both intellectually and through practical application to become entrepreneurs attuned to the opportunities and challenges of a globally and technologically connected world.

The content of our curriculum is as it should be. It marries the core disciplines of business with the realities of the fashion business sector. But it is much more than that.

Coco Chanel once said – if you are going to be anything, be different. I believe that we are different in many ways. Our locations, for example, Glasgow, London and soon, New York.

But there are two ways in which I believe Glasgow Caledonian University’s British School of Fashion will be exceptionally different.

Firstly, our ethos and belief set is firmly grounded upon the principles and demands of responsible management. We believe that acting responsibly is good business and is good for business.  It is just the right thing to do all round.

Secondly, we believe that the starting point for all success within any fashion business is to have a deep and clear understanding of consumers – and particularly the female fashion consumer. We believe that this understanding is the route to long term success in the fashion business. As such, consumer understanding is at the heart of all of our programmes.

GCU’s British School of Fashion will be deep-rooted in these two dimensions.