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We’re thrilled to welcome Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE RDI who is joining the GFF charity as a lifetime patron! An iconic figure in the fashion industry, Rhodes is celebrating her brand’s 50th year in spring 2019. A pioneer of British punk fashion, she’s best known for her bold and bright prints and theatrical use of colour.

In her new role as GFF lifetime patron, Rhodes will be a judge at GFW19, as well as using her platform to grab the attention of admired fashion houses and retailers to support the charity. She will join an exciting panel of judges for Graduate Fashion Week’s most creative award with a cash prize, The Hilary Alexander Trailblazer Award. “I have become a patron for Graduate Fashion Foundation because I think it is a very important cause — supporting upcoming talent across the UK and internationally,” she said. "I think UK colleges are the best in the world and graduates and UK talent need this visibility which the charity offers.”

She joins the charity as the seventh Lifetime Patron, alongside Christopher Bailey MBE, Victoria Beckham OBE, Vivienne Westwood DBE RDI and Nick Knight OBE, as well as our most recent patrons: Nadia Swarovski and Diane von Furstenberg.

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“We are delighted and privileged to announce that Dame Zandra Rhodes will join us as a Lifetime Patron,” said Martyn Roberts, managing director of GFW. “Zandra Rhode’s work has had a huge influence on fashion and British culture over her long spanning career. Her story is an inspiration to graduates to keep persevering and proof that hard-work pays off in the industry.”

Rhodes opened her first store in 1967, after her fierce use of colour was considered too outlandish by then-conservative British manufacturers. In the 1970s, she was at the forefront of designers who put London on the map as the global hub for rebellious, modern creatives. She went on to dress Diana Princess of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor, and Queen’s front man Freddie Mercury and build an international following.

We’re incredibly excited to welcome Zandra to an illustrious group of lifetime patrons. Stay tuned for more soon!