The British School of Fashion is an innovative academic hub developed by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to create and disseminate strategic fashion business insight through its provision of leading-edge education, research and consultancy.
Dedicated to its mission statement of achieving “the common good,” the British School of Fashion advances business and management thinking and practice through the co-creation of knowledge with its industry partners, esteemed Honorary Professors, alumni network, research active staff and diverse student population.
In a demonstration of its entrepreneurial nature, the British School of Fashion designs and delivers globally unique executive and postgraduate programmes which offer participants a trans-discipline learning experience across its campuses in London and New York.
Who are we?
Our first steps in fashion date back to 1875 and to our founding colleges in Glasgow, Scotland. In that era, our primary aim was to provide women with opportunities in design, textiles and retail, with a keen awareness of the economic, social and environmental needs of the time. British fashion has evolved to encompass so much more than just manufacturing and the education provided by the GCU British School of Fashion reflects those changes.
For decades, GCU has contributed to the business of fashion through the creation of pioneering courses. We were the first UK Institution to offer an MSc in International Fashion Marketing in 2000, and are still one of only a few Universities worldwide to offer a dedicated MBA in Luxury Brand Management.
The British School of Fashion intends to build upon the foundation provided by our strong heritage and fashion industry expertise through continued innovation of new programmes and investment and development of our academic faculty.
What do we teach?
We offer differentiated Masters degree programmes co-created through industry expertise from our honorary professors, the knowledge of academic experts and the innovation and energy of our students.
We integrate the latest academic thinking with the wider business insights we derive from our research and consultancy of contemporary business practice. Our teaching is also fully engaged with the fashion industry and we have partnerships and collaborations with a diverse range of fashion companies including Marks and Spencer, Converse, ASOS, The Retail Trust, Arcadia, Folk, All Saints, Lyst, House of Fraser, Margaret Howell, Farfetch and Topshop.
Through these close links, we are able to provide master-classes from world leading businesses, as well as opportunities for valuable internships, visits and live project briefs.
We ensure that our graduates have the skills and expertise needed to manage a fashion business in today’s global market. We challenge our students to become critical thinkers, with a competent grasp of the theories and concepts that help explain and advance best practice in business. We encourage them to challenge the status quo, to be creative in their thinking, to be entrepreneurial in their actions, and to recognise that good business is better business.
Why are we different?
Our University motto “For the Common Weal” – meaning “for the common good” – is the main thread throughout every one of our British School of Fashion initiatives. Our Chancellor, Professor Muhammad Yunus, is our foremost representative in this respect, having received the Nobel Peace Prize for achievements in economic and social development. Professor Yunus also remains one of only seven people who has been recognised with a Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal.
“It’s not about passing old knowledge to a new generation. It’s about solving problems, now. The moment you turn something into a social business, it becomes an engine that doesn’t need refuelling.”
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chancellor of GCU.
The British School of Fashion at GCU embodies the University’s endeavour to promote enterprise, innovation and learning underpinned by a deep-rooted social conscience. We recognise that the fashion industry has a responsibility to conduct business in an ethical manner, to promote and practice fair trade.
Our New York Campus houses The Fair Fashion Center. This initiative acts as both a repository and conduit of information and the centre is focused on examining the business case for sustainability in the fashion industry.
Furthermore, the British School of Fashion has responded to a worldwide call to put social responsibility, ethics and sustainability at the top of the agenda for training future business leaders by becoming a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact-backed initiative: the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Our participation in PRME exhibits our long-term mission to deliver economic and social benefits at home and across the world, and the values of PRME underpin the entirety of the British School of Fashion’s portfolio. Through this commitment, we will continue to improve engagement with the cause. We will regularly report progress on the application of the principles, and in so doing, contribute to the learning experience of academic institutions worldwide participating in the PRME initiative.
How do we co-create our knowledge?
Our specialised fashion knowledge is generated through a unique and critical balance of leading-edge industry practice and underpinned by the latest academic research.
The fashion business is a major economic driver in the UK and internationally and the British School of Fashion is committed to becoming a leading centre for the understanding of consumers’ behaviour towards fashion. By adopting innovative and experimental research methodologies, we are already advancing understanding of fashion consumption – across all distribution channels.
The knowledge that we generate shares three common characteristics:
- It is rigorous, independent and based on sound research methodologies
- The outcomes always have relevance and add value to the fashion business sector
- It improves and advances the competitiveness of people and organisations
Our insight is the product of intellectual curiosity and a mature understanding of the realities of doing business in today’s global, omnichannel fashion environment. In recognition of this, many leading fashion businesses commission us to undertake a diverse range of bespoke consultancy and business development projects.
One of the most important ways we obtain and maintain our knowledge is through the relationships that we foster with our Honorary Professors and Industry Partners.