— On a mission to change perceptions about growing older. Starring inspirational people over 70 —


Ageing, ageism, photography, stories

24th September 2019

Zandra Rhodes, 79

Zandra is a British fashion designer whose brand turns 50 this year. She is also the founder of London’s Fashion Textile Museum.

“My mother taught dressmaking in an art college and I used to love wearing her pretty little dresses on a Sunday to visit my granny. The local kids would laugh at me and throw stones, so I had to run through the park, but I wouldn’t allow anyone to stop me wearing what I wanted. I am very lucky that I have always been pretty thick skinned. I once got a letter from a girl who was at school with me apologising for always laughing at me on the school bus. I hadn’t even noticed! I seem to be immune to all that. If you care too much about other people’s opinions, it can stop you from experimenting or trying new things.

I was a very boring, hard-working girl at school. I didn’t particularly want to go out or rebel. I think that’s the secret to my success to be honest. When I give lectures, I say you can be anything you want to in life, but you have to work hard. If you have a birthday party that clashes with a presentation – tough. If your alarm goes off at 6am and you don’t feel like getting up – tough. I was lucky that I had a very hard-working mother so I had her as a role model. To me, the only thing that doesn’t let you down in life is your work. You can’t rest on your laurels though – it might seem like you’ve made it but there are always peaks and troughs.

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