In conversation with Zandra Rhodes

On Thursday I attended the event “In conversation with Zandra Rhodes” at the Fashion & Textiles Museum (FTM) in London.

Zandra gave her view on many things through the interviewer’s questions and took a few more from the audience as well.  The answers that were the most surprising to me were about the way she manages her day, and her view of technology.

When asked if it’s important for creative people to still learn/know how to draw, Zandra replied “computers mean people will become with textiles like we are with maths, they use a calculator instead of learning times tables.  If we rely on computers people won’t know how to draw and design”.  My university does place a certain expectation on you to be proficient in Photoshop etc, although I guess it’s up to the individual how much you rely on this to produce creative work (or just to edit it or turn it into a digital format), especially in your practice after university.


Zandra Rhodes, signing copies of her book after the interview

Zandra commented that she “didn’t do Facebook and Twitter, how do people fit it in?” and that “emails are a waste of time, just ring instead!”.  Which is probably a sentiment many of us could learn from… imagine what you could achieve if you disconnected! However, Zandra might have an ulterior motive as she admitted “I just don’t understand computers”.

Even with an aversion to technology, emails are a part of every day life, even for Zandra Rhodes.  She said that she was often out at dinners, drinks and other events in the evening after working all day, leaving only the time once she got home later in the evening to clear her emails, often staying up until 3.00 am to get it done.

When asked what advice she’d give to someone starting out, her reply was “keep enough friends to keep you going, during good times and bad. Everything in life is hard.”  She followed this up with “if you believe in yourself, someone will notice [your design work] eventually.”

Zandra came across as bubbly, hardworking and very unique. Everything she has achieved seems to come back to one thing though, “I love my work! I’m very lucky.”


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