The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has launched a digital archive of work by celebrated fashion designer Zandra Rhodes. Actress Joanna Lumley unveiled the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection on 26 March at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum.
During Zandra’s 50 years in fashion, she has dressed global icons including Princess Diana, Jackie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor.
These famous designs are just some of the 500 dresses and garments that have been painstakingly prepared, catalogued and photographed over the past 18 months for the Collection which has been created for the education community through a collaborative project between UCA and the Zandra Rhodes Studio, with funding from Jisc.
Zandra said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the Digital Study Collection has gone live and hope that it will inspire and guide fashion students and researchers around the world.
“It’s been an exciting project to work on and I’m glad to see that my work is of value and will be remembered for many years to come.
“I would like to thank the University for the Creative Arts, Jisc and the team at my studio for believing in the project and making this happen – it’s not easy to locate, prep, photograph, research, and catalogue 50 years of fashion collections but they have done a fantastic job.”
Joanna Lumley said: “This is an extraordinary project and the first of its kind in the world so I must congratulate the University for the Creative Arts and Zandra Rhodes for making it happen.
“I think it’s fantastic that in 150 years time people will be able to access the site and learn from Zandra so, even though we’ll all be gone, her clothes, style and legend will live on.
“This is an important resource and allows people around the world to see her work, in detail, through the amazing photographs, videos, drawings and stylebooks so that earnest students of design can learn from her and fashion fans, like you and me, can enjoy looking back at the amazing, cutting-edge work she has created over the past 50 years.”
Famous for her bright pink hair and cutting-edge designs, Zandra Rhodes has remained one of the most recognisable names in fashion over the last five decades and remains relevant with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker and Paris Hilton wearing her dresses today.
She was appointed UCA’s first Chancellor in 2010 and studied at Medway College of Art – one of the Kent and Surrey colleges that formed UCA.
Researchers and students at UCA have worked with Zandra Rhodes and her studio to not only catalogue her designs for future generations but also create contextual learning materials which explore her creative processes and production techniques, through video interviews, tutorials, and exquisite original drawings.
Professor Kerstin Mey, Director of Research and Enterprise at UCA, said: “We are proud and excited to launch the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection.
“Zandra gave our researchers and students unprecedented access to her studio which has enabled them to catalogue 500 famous items from her personal archive that we will make available to a global audience.
“I am certain that this accessible, open education resource featuring one of the most influential British fashion designers over the past 50 years will stimulate and inform future generations.”
The project has been funded by a £110,000 grant from the charity, Jisc. Their aim is to make the UK the most digitally advance education and research nation in the world.