From education to employment

Fashion icon Zandra Rhodes swaps runway for Kirklees College hallways

Legendary fashion designer and style icon Zandra Rhodes, who is as famous off the catwalk as she is on it, thanks to her bold pink hair and theatrical makeup, swapped the runways for the hallways of Kirklees College as she came to discuss all things art and fashion with the students of Springfield Sixth Form Centre.

Rhodes was one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s. Her unique use of bold prints, fiercely feminine patterns and theatrical use of colour, could easily slip into the wardrobe of any young fashion lover of today.

Zandra has designed for clients as diverse as Diana, Princess of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor and Freddie Mercury of the rock group ‘Queen’. Her designs have adorned the sleeves of Kylie Minogue, Anastasia, Paris Hilton and Joan Rivers, and her garments have also appeared on Sarah Jessica Parker in “Sex and the City”.

Zandra was in the area to peruse some of the exquisite jewellery of local business Pugata ran by Zak Patel. Mr Patel is an advocate of Kirklees College and has built up a strong relationship with the college, having previously supported the business department by offering work experience with his mobile technology business Talk Direct.

“I am a firm believer in giving something back to my town and show how businesses can help young people to learn and develop their expertise. We invited Zandra to visit our showroom to showcase some of the unique designs we offer, that we thought would be a fantastic fit with the designer. I wanted to give the students of Kirklees College the opportunity to meet a fashion legend as I think they can really learn from her rise to stardom and the hard work it takes to get to the top,” said managing director of Pugata, Zak Patel.

Students participated in a question and answer session and were inspired by the designer who talked about her background in the industry, the trials and tribulations of being rejected and her rise to success.

“It was fantastic to meet the students and see the great facilities that are available within the college for the creative arts sector. I hope I’ve left a lasting impression on them and taught them to never give up on their dreams. Once my designs were considered too outrageous, but now I’ve managed to introduce my lines to mainstream audiences through my collaborations with M.A.C and Topshop, and currently with Valentino. With hard work and determination, the world really is their oyster,” concluded Zandra Rhodes.

Kirklees College help people of all ages reach their career potential and offer a full portfolio of creative courses. Their Open Days are a great way to see the facilities and speak to the tutors. To register for their March Open Day on the 26th and 30th March.

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