GCU launches British School of Fashion

11 September 2013

GCU launches British School of Fashion

Professor Christopher Moore with designer Hannah Coffin, Marks and Spencer CEO Marc Bolland and GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies

A new creative educational business hub to produce the fashion industry leaders of tomorrow has been launched in London.

The GCU British School of Fashion will develop, nurture and support new management talent for one of the world’s most dynamic and highly-competitive industries, worth £21 billion a year to the UK economy alone.

The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU, Professor Pamela Gillies, CBE, hosted a fashion industry dinner at GCU London to launch the School yesterday evening. She told leading representatives from the UK and international fashion industry that the School embodies the University’s endeavour to promote enterprise, innovation and learning, underpinned by a deep-rooted social conscience.

"Universities are about igniting the imagination and promoting ideas. GCU is about putting those great ideas into practice," said Professor Gillies.

Guests were welcomed by Professor John Wilson, Executive Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor of Glasgow School for Business and Society.

Speakers included Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks & Spencer, and Hannah Coffin, a former design director with Karen Millen and AllSaints, who has now launched her own collection under the Needle & Thread label. 

Mr Bolland said: “I am very impressed by the vision of British School of Fashion and its commitment to the UK and London as a global creative centre.  Marks and Spencer fully support the British School of Fashion in their development of creative talent.”

The British School of Fashion is based at GCU London, which already enjoys the support of some of Britain’s best-known fashion institutions, including Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, AllSaints and the Arcadia Group as well as a host of influential figures in the international fashion industry who are Honorary Professors appointed by the Glasgow School for Business and Society.

Students on the postgraduate programmes will experience a world-leading fashion business education, acquiring a deep knowledge and understanding of consumer behaviour, financial management and relevant communications technologies, including Digital Fashion Branding, among a range of skills required to manage a global fashion business.

The British School of Fashion programmes, which are delivered through the Glasgow School for Business and Society, include the UK’s first MBA in Luxury Brand Marketing; MSc Brand Management; MSc Luxury Retail Management and MSc International Fashion Marketing.

GCU has been at the forefront of fashion business education, research and business engagement for more than two decades and, more recently, the University has extended its reputation into the field of luxury brand marketing. It is one of only a handful of universities worldwide to offer an MBA in this field.

“The remit of the School is clear: we are about the business of fashion,” said Professor Christopher Moore, Assistant Vice-Principal of GCU and the first Director of the British School of Fashion. “And while there are other great international design schools, we are quite different. The British School of Fashion gives us a clear and focused identity that will be very much about moving into the next generation and beyond.”

“The fashion industry is diverse, complex and highly-challenging,” said Professor Gillies. “Students and industry leaders come to GCU in recognition of the quality and depth of the expertise, knowledge and extensive networks we can share with them. We have been delighted to welcome so many of the industry’s most influential figures as Honorary Professors of GCU. They include Ray Kelvin of Ted Baker, Ian Grabiner of Arcadia, Nick Robertson of Asos, Belinda Earl of Marks & Spencer and Patrick Grant of Norton and Sons, and sharing their experiences through GCU master-classes, for example, is just one of the ways they bring immense added value to students and staff alike.”

Professor Gillies also revealed that the British School of Fashion will quickly extend its global reach with programmes being made available through GCU New York, the first satellite campus to be opened by a British University in New York City. GCUNY will be formally launched on September 26 by Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus. Chancellor Yunus is a pioneer of micro-lending and social business, exploring and supporting new ways of making businesses, such as fashion, more sustainable. 

The British School of Fashion programmes will combine theoretical learning and practical experience to give graduates the creative, entrepreneurial and practical skills they require to provide the leadership and vision which GCU believes will help transform the business of fashion. They will be delivered in accordance with the British School of Fashion’s five core principles:

  • Advanced research excellence
  • Advanced education for future industry leaders
  • Promoting competitiveness and innovation
  • Providing a conduit for business excellence and engagement
  • Developing social and sustainable business models

Producing tomorrow’s leaders for the fashion industry means taking not just a global but a responsible perspective, showing concern for the environment and those who work within the fashion supply chain, added Professor Gillies. “GCU is proud to be a signatory to the United Nations’ PRME initiative (Principles for Responsible Management in Education) and a member of the UN’s Global Compact, which encourages responsible management practices worldwide.”

Flexibility and adaptability will also be key to the School’s future success. “As the industry becomes more global, more digital, as it becomes more mobile, so too will we,” said Professor Moore. “We won’t do it after them; we’ll do it with them – in partnership, because a critical element of our DNA is to be relevant, to be contemporary and to be challenging.”

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