Students granted audience with Queen of Quirky Fashion
Two City of Liverpool College students pipped seasoned hacks at the post recently when they secured an interview with legendary British designer, Zandra Rhodes, during her visit to Liverpool for a meet and greet with fans.
Journalism students Jodi McGowan (18) and Ella O’Prey (19) met with the 75-year-old flamboyant designer at the end of November during the launch of her new handbag collection in the city’s Cavern Walks shopping arcade.
The dynamic duo chatted with the designer – who was made a Dame last year after almost 50 years in the business – about her long career and her latest fashion venture at the trendy Boudoir Boutique where her collection went on sale.
“It was a really good experience,” said BTEC Journalism student, Jodi. “She’s one of my icons because I want to be a fashion journalist.
“I thought she was going to be a diva but she was very humble. She was good to interview.”
Ella’s interview with Zandra featured in the online creative industries news outlet, Purple Revolver. Read about how they got on below.
On Saturday 21st November, Boudoir Boutique played host to legendary designer Zandra Rhodes as she promotes her latest venture, a new handbag range.
The store was bustling as her quirky creations were on display for all to see. Not one to go under the radar, there was tons of pink champagne flowing, delicate appetizers, and of course, plenty of cupcakes with Zandra’s portrait carefully printed on top.
Fellow journalist, Jodi McGowan, and I managed to grab Ms Rhodes for a quick chat, before the lines of fans where let loose on her.
Q: When you were younger, we know that you were told your textile designs were too outrageous by traditional, British manufacturers. Having being told that, how did you find the confidence to go ahead and start your own business?
A: I don’t know if it’s always the confidence. I think you look at it and you say ‘what else would I be doing? I believe this would look alright.’ And so, it was a case of doing it because I didn’t know anything else.
You just keep hammering on the doors and something happens in the end if you believe it enough. It isn’t always easy to believe it, but if you do keep banging on that door, by some chance, something happens.
Q: How would you encourage other young females to start their own business?
A: I think you just have to do things, and then try and sell them, by whatever means. Whether it’s hammering on the door, or coming to a shop like this to see if there’s something to sell to them. You just keep doing it, and in the end, something will happen if you believe in it enough. You just keep hammering on the doors and something happens in the end if you believe it enough. It isn’t always easy to believe it, but if you do keep banging on that door, by some chance, something happens.
Q: So you think it’s just a case of believing in yourself?
A: Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you.
Q: What do you think of Liverpool style, Scouse style?
A: I think it’s a great look. I think Liverpool’s got a lot of great spirit and you go by that, and if someone doesn’t like it then tough!
Q: We know that your designs have been seen on the likes of Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana, but if you could pick one person to be spotted wearing one of your designs tomorrow, who would it be?
A: I don’t know, I mean, poor old Freddie’s dead. I wouldn’t mind doing something for Lady Gaga, I think that’d be great. I’d like to do dresses for some of the people in the Oscars as well.
Q: From when you started to now, technology has created a massive influx in blogs, social media and wider platforms. Do you think this is beneficial for the industry or just making it harder and more competitive than ever?
A: I think it’s a very creative, new form of the work, and so we just have to use whatever we can. I don’t know how to do any of them.
Q: Well, I know you have Twitter and post some great images on there?
A: *laughing* Oh well, I don’t do it! I wouldn’t know how to do that.
Q: If you could give any advice to yourself when you were younger and first starting out, what would you say?
A: Just keep going and be brave about it. Don’t let people put you down. Keep going no matter what, and surround yourself with friends who say that.
Thank you so much Zandra, you’ve been great to chat to!