The Way I Work... British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush
The British Fashion Council, is a nonprofit body that oversees, promotes and champions British designers – both established and emerging – and the country’s fashion industry at large. As its chief executive, Caroline Rush is one of the most powerful and influential women in fashion, celebrated for building relationships with the government, patrons, designers, media and retailers alike. Under her watch, London Fashion Week has become one of the ‘big four’ juggernauts (alongside New York, Milan and Paris) on the international fashion calendar. She speaks to Service95 about her love of karaoke, burning candles while she works and the importance of being nice.
On Her Morning Routine… I’m woken by my cocker spaniel, Ruby, who gets into bed with me for morning cuddles. Then I make coffee and take her for a walk. It’s great to get out into the fresh air early and it clears my head ready for the busy day ahead. Once home and changed, I set off to work via Lime bike, train or black cab. It all depends on if I have calls before my morning meetings – Black cabs are good for conversations that can’t be overheard!
On Flexible Working… I can work anywhere, but I love the desk in the British Fashion Council office, where I can hear all the banter of my brilliant team. If I need to focus, I work in a house I rent in Norfolk. It’s a Georgian house with large windows and lots of fun art on the walls, surrounded by trees.
On Musicians… I tend to not listen to music when I’m working, but in other moments I love music – especially from strong female artists such as Beyoncé, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Kylie and Dua Lipa. My family and I also love to do karaoke and I’ve been known to factor it into social events…
On Creating A Work Uniform… What you put on every day shows a bit of who you are to the world, and also your attitude. For office days, I’m usually in jeans, a shirt or T-shirt and a jacket, but I’m very lucky that I get to wear incredible designers such as [Alexander] McQueen, Roksanda, Burberry, Erdem, Emilia Wickstead, Edeline Lee and Rixo. I wear a Kim Jones for Dior Men bag every time I walk the dog, which means I could be on the beach in Norfolk or in wellies on Clapham Common [in London] and still feel put together.
On Her Best Ever Trip… A few years ago, I went on a mini road trip with a fabulous friend. We went from New York, through the Hamptons, by boat to Nantucket and back to New York. I don’t think I have laughed so much – ever! We stayed in incredible places, met wonderful people, got to see my daughter Lana and hang out with her and her friends. We ended our stay at The Peninsula New York, where we cancelled all final night plans to stay in, eat pasta in the hotel room, watch movies and drink cocktails. The time spent telling stories and creating new memories was gold.
On Her Favourite Art and Artists … I’m a huge Slim Aarons fan – Poolside Gossip is my favourite piece. Yinka Illori is doing some amazing things right now, and Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania dress is a work of art.
On The Best Career Advice She’s Received… Strive for excellence, but if you fall short, remember no one died. It is all about perspective.
And The Worst… ‘You don’t get anywhere by being nice’. If anyone ever says that to you, don’t believe them! It is no way to live your life!
On Her Most Prized Possessions… Health and love. To lose either is worse than losing any material possession.
On British Fashion Talent… The London Fashion Week schedule always gets me excited, as I know the innovation and creativity found there will be outstanding. London has the best scene and I’d highly recommend REBEL: 30 Years Of London Fashion at the Design Museum in the city. It celebrates our NEWGEN programme, which supports the best emerging fashion design talent and offers an unprecedented look into how fashion careers are forged.
On Ambitions… For our industry to have a lower impact on our planet. I co-chair the Circular Fashion Innovation Network to lead the UK industry in this goal.
On Her Alternative Career Path… I would be living on a beach, running a Tiki bar and surfing barefoot every day, entertaining everyone and making cocktails!
REBEL: 30 Years Of London Fashion is on at the Design Museum in London now
Funmi Fetto is a contributing editor at British Vogue, a columnist at the Observer Newspaper and the former Global Editorial Director of Service95