Louise Pickles worked extensively within the fashion industry in London and overseas with a career spanning 23 years before relocating to Bath in 2003 to start a Fashion Design programme for Bath Spa University. Louise has held roles as Designer, Head of Design, General Manager, Design Director and Creative Director within various levels of the market including chain store, mid-market, high street and designer label. Alongside the creativity of a designer, Louise’s commercial acumen was responsible for massive growth, increasing turnover from £30 million to £90 million in a six-year period for one company in the 1990s and a successful record managing teams working alongside commercial directors and MD’s.
Louise has travelled extensively throughout her career, researching fashion trends, visiting trade fairs and developing fabrics and product with specialist suppliers around the globe, working on various product categories including jeanswear, casualwear, sportswear, occasionwear, knitwear, swimwear and outerwear.
Louise managed the BA Fashion Design course and staff team as an off-site department, as a member of the Senior Management Team until 2016. Louise has worked in Higher Education for 17 years and has used her wealth of industry experience to continually develop and update the programme. As well as her roles within fashion education, she contributes regularly to external organisations supporting the ongoing and continuing professional development of educators and education in the fashion business. Her extensive network of contacts brings a range of live industry project collaborations with brands including Jaeger, Ted Baker, Hobbs, Old Navy (San Francisco), Donna Karen and GAP.
Research and external activities
As Trustee of the Graduate Fashion Foundation (formerly Graduate Fashion Week), Louise also participates annually as a runway judge with a panel of distinguished national and international members of the fashion industry. Louise also sits on the steering committee of the British Fashion Council Colleges Council (2006-present), which advises the British Fashion Council on education issues. She was Creative Director (2012-2016), for Bath in Fashion, a week-long festival, bringing fashion industry professionals to the city for talks, workshops and shows with renowned guests including Sarah Mower, Stephen Jones, Manolo Blahnik, Julien Macdonald, Princess Julia, Tim Blanks, Roksander, Amanda Wakely, David Downton, Erdem, Julie Verhoeven, Roland Mouret and Tim Walker.
She has contributed as a consultant to various educational institutions such as City of Bath College for the development of a Foundation Degree in Fashion and Textiles Design Skills and collaborated with the BBC online iWonder series - ‘Could I cut it in the fashion industry?’.
For many years Louise has acted as an external examiner to a range of UK fashion design and fashion management courses at UCA Rochester, Birmingham City University and the University of Hull and overseas at MITID, Pune India. She has also contributed to many recruitment, promotion, periodic review and course validation panels as an external expert advisor.
Professional qualifications and memberships
- British Fashion Council Colleges Council member of Academic Steering Committee, (2008-present)
- Academic Trustee the Graduate Fashion Foundation (formally Graduate Fashion Week), (2009-present).
All aspects of fashion design. Specialisms include design concept and ideas development, collections and portfolio design, professional contexts.
- Diploma in Fashion and Clothing Design (4 years), Medway College of Art and Design
- Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Bath Spa University.