Betty Jackson is one of Britain’s foremost fashion designers, internationally respected for her innovative approach to dressing modern women for work, leisure and life’s most significant and exacting occasions. Her customers, who include prominent women from all kinds of professions from actors to lawyers, doctors to entrepreneurs, academics to politicians, love her clothes for their strong and confident lines, their exciting original fabrics and their wittily, flirtatious details. Importantly, she has been successful at every level of the fashion industry, from Marks and Spencer to luxury own-label collection.
Her profession has withheld few accolades. Among the many titles and awards bestowed on her, the standouts are British Designer of the Year, Designer of Dress of the Year for the Bath Museum collection, BFC Contemporary Designer of the Year, the MBE and the CBE. She has served as a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is a Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art, a Fellow of Birmingham University and of the University of Central Lancashire and has an honorary doctorate from Huddersfield University. In 2014 she was the first woman to receive the Drapers Lifetime Achievement Award. She is also Patron of the charity, Smart Works.
She has, throughout her career, been closely involved in arts education. Her particular focus has been the appropriateness of degrees in textile and fashion design to the industries for which graduates are destined. She is a Board Member of Creative Skillset and chairs its Fashion Industry Panel which awards the Skillset Tick of approval to courses that meet its highly professional criteria. Starting from a core of design courses, the panel aims quite quickly to extend its remit to cover all fashion design associated courses. In this capacity, Betty Jackson listens to manufacturers, retailers, consumers as well as academics and professionals and is well placed to speak on how both Craft, the creative skills of the designer (conceptual and hands-on material-manipulating), and Technology, the ever-evolving experimental techniques and industrial practices of her industry, are indispensable to the designer.
(Image credit: Rob Wyatt)