Designer Zowie Broach was appointed as the new head of fashion at London’s Royal College of Arts last year. Broach stepped into the shoes of Wendy Dagworthy who retired in 2014 after 16 years at the school, having taught the likes of Erdem, Giles Deacon and Stella McCartney .
Broach, a graduate of both Plymouth College of Art and Middlesex University, first attracted attention for co-founding avant-garde fashion label, Boudicca. Launched in 1997 with her partner, Ben Kirkby. the line of highly conceptual designs and architecturally inspired tailoring became known for its non-conformist approach to commerce – for the first five years, Broach’s brand didn’t actually produces clothes for sale, other than private orders for friends.
In 2001, the British Fashion Council asked Boudicca to join London Fashion Week and in 2007 they became one of only a handful of labels to ever be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, and to great acclaim. At a time when many emerging brands were being swallowed into luxury conglomerates like LVMH, Broach and Kirkby remained determinedly self-funded. Consistently blurring the lines between fashion and art, Broach and Kirkby’s work has been displayed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as the Art Institute of Chicago.
Alongside her role as a designer and artist, Zowie Broach has been involved in fashion education for over a decade. Teaching for eight years at the University of Westminster in London, Parsons The New School for Design in New York, SIAC in Chicago and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Between 2009 and 2011, Broach was appointed designer in residence at London College of Fashion .
As the head of fashion at the Royal College of Arts, Broach has put an emphasis on the importance of artistic and intellectual experimentation, telling Women’s Wear Daily: “I think putting a cage around students is wrong.” After the RCA’s 2015 MA graduate fashion show in June, the first under Broach’s instruction, Suzy Menkes declared Broach’s appointment heralded a “new era” in London fashion.