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Colin McDowell

Fashion Writer

The seasoned British fashion critic and journalist has spent decades writing for major publications, writing fashion tomes and supporting young designers.


Acclaimed fashion commentator Colin McDowell is one of the most influential and internationally respected figures within the global fashion community. Through his former position as chief fashion writer of The Sunday Times Style and as founder and creative director of the Fashion Fringe initiative, McDowell has played an integral role in the support and growth of the fashion industry and in 2008, he was awarded an MBE by the Queen in recognition of his achievements.

McDowell’s longstanding career in fashion has seen him work for over ten years with famed Italian couturier Pino Lancetti in a design capacity, as well as publish several books including the widely distributed McDowell’s Directory of 20th Century Fashion, which serves as a standard reference book for fashion students. As a reporter for The Sunday Times Style — a position held for over 20 consecutive years — McDowell quickly became one of the leading voices within the fashion industry, covering well-read reviews on international fashion weeks and boasting a regular Fashion Moments column.

The celebrated reporter also held a series of interviews with noted industry players such as John Galliano  and Alexander McQueen. McDowell’s Fashion Fringe initiative, founded in collaboration with talent management group IMG in 2004, has also helped support over 17 emerging brands in Britain, such as Erdem, Basso and Brooke, Fyodr Golan and Corrie Nielson.

McDowell’s vast knowledge and appreciation of the fashion industry has been seen in several exhibitions he has curated, such as Manolo Blahnik at the Design Museum and Masters of Style at Somerset House in London. In 2008, McDowell also briefly served as editor-in-chief of the short-lived fashion and style magazine Distill, released by Craft Publishing. McDowell is a columnist at The Business of Fashion.

Along with serving as creative director of the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore, McDowell also holds a fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal College as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield. In February 2012, the commended journalist was also named as trustee of Graduate Fashion Week, an annual event showcasing works of fashion design graduates from around the UK.


The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times

Fashion Writer

1986 - Present

London, United Kingom

Pino Lancetti

Pino Lancetti

Rome, Italy


Durham University

Durham University

Vital Statistics


United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Member since

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.