Brian Godbold

This chapter takes the form, initially, of an autobiography. Its story is not only that of my own life, but that of British fashion since the 1960s; I was fortunate to find myself right at the centre of the art school culture of that period, which as I hope to show, sparked off the design-conscious mass-market phenomenon by which I, as the Divisional Director of Design at Marks & Spencer was ranked as number 8 in The Face magazine's 100 most powerful people in fashion,1 and at number 15 by Elle.2 This chapter aims to describe the developments, challenges and opportunities for contemporary designers and retailers with reference to radical changes in consumer attitudes, redefinition of age profiles, the revolution in how and where we shop, and the advent of 'lifestyle' consumerism. But to place my analysis and projections for the future into context, I must refer to the past.

I cannot talk about my career without mentioning Walthamstow School of Art. As a schoolboy I had always been good at art, and my father had always encouraged me in the hope that I would eventually study graphics and enter the family's printing business. In 1961, he took me to the local art school for an interview. When the Head saw my work, he immediately suggested that I join the fashion course. My father nearly fell off his chair but I was delighted; it was something I had always wanted to do but never dared mention. I must emphasize that I was embarking on a journey into the unknown; at the time there were no existing high-profile, art school trained designers whom I could regard as role models. Part of the exhilaration of those days was the feeling that we were pioneers. As it turned out, I was well advised; the graphics department was good but fashion was excellent. The legendary, and even then influential Daphne Brooker3 was head and

1. '100 most powerful people in Fashion', The Face September 1994 pp. 74-80.

2. 'Elle's hottest 100 names in fashion', Elle, April 1998, p. 115.

3. Not a great deal has been written about Daphne Brooker, but when the definitive history of post-war industrial fashion is compiled, she undoubtedly deserves a prominent position. As

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