Meet the Staff
Angela Royal, Associate Lecturer
Graduating at the University of Greenwich with BA in Business and Marketing. Working within the PR and communications industry for over 20 +years, Angela has a wealth of experience specialising within lifestyle, fashion and beauty brands including Jimmy Choo, Ted Baker, Thalgo skincare, to name a few. Since 2012, she has launched her own PR and digital marketing consultancy working with brands to provide brands to provide a fresh and innovative approach to communications and brand awareness. Most recently Angela was awarded SME U.K. enterprise award as the most innovative and focus Marketing and PR consultancy 2020.
Anna-Karin Nilsson, BA (Hons) Business Management for Fashion Programme Lead
An Internationally renowned fashion editor and freelance stylist who began her career in fashion as an assistant to the Fashion Director of French Vogue before moving on to become a Fashion Director in her own right and contributing fashion editor to many leading international magazines including ELLE France, ELLE Norway, ELLE Sweden, Vogue Homme, L’Uomo Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar International editions etc. with advertising clients including Givenchy, Cacharel, Burberrys, Mercedes and Louis Vuitton. She has also worked as a fashion PR, Brand Manager and Sales Director since opening her own agency in 2013. Her teaching career began in 2014 for several prestigious International Universities based in Paris.
Anthony McGrath, BA (Hons) Marketing & Communications Programme Lead
Anthony’s experience stretches over nearly twenty years. He started out in Mens style magazines and proved himself as both a competent Editor and stylist and went from work experience to Senior Fashion Editor of Loaded Fashion in an 18 month period. As a result of this he was seen as a key player in the Menswear market and lead to him being a highly sought after stylist. Styling and Art directing editorially for Mens Health, Interview, The LA Times and The Saturday Times Magazine to name but a few. The celebrities he has dressed include Ashton Kutcher, Duran Duran, Gerard Butler, Guy Ritchie, Jack Nicolson, James Corden, Johnny Lee Miller, Michael Owen and Steve Coogan and Steve Jones.
Over the years Anthony has styled campaigns for clients including House of Fraser, Emporio Armani, Lacoste and Marks & Spencer. He has consulted and advised brands as diverse as The BBC, Jaguar, Peroni, The Arcadia Group and Vogue Italia on brand progression, re-positioning in the market place, catwalk interpretation & media & PR relations. Due to Anthony’s extensive experience he has been asked by educational institutions, such as London College of Fashion, the Fashion Retail Academy, University of the Creative Arts and Manchester Metropolitan University to write, formulate and teach modules in Fashion, Styling and Fashion Communications.
Ashleigh Toms, L3 & L4 Fashion Retail and Business Group Lead
My name is Ashleigh and I am a teacher of Fashion Business & Retail across both level 3 and 4 at the FRA. Before pursuing my career in teaching I worked with several luxury brands such as Rigby & Peller, Kurt Gieger and Harrods. My specific expertise within industry are visual merchandising and buying. I have been a member of the FRA team for almost a year and I have particularly enjoyed working with students that are passionate about developing an industry specific skills set.
Christine Chick, Level 4 Buying & Merchandising Group Lead
I have an extensive background in retail, having spent over 25 years in industry across various retailers, running Merchandising teams at M&Co and the Arcadia group across multi-product areas. I love to share my knowledge and experience with the students.
I have an inherent passion for clothing and fashion, following my BA Hons (Fashion) I went to work at Laura Ashley in the planning department. From Laura Ashley I moved onto the Arcadia group as a Junior Merchandiser working on the younger girls fashion dept. The majority of my retail career has been at M&Co, where I worked on all the buying areas within the Company, settling as the Head of Merchandising on Kids, Mens & Home depts. During this time my focus was on driving new initiatives, delivering new ranges, introducing new brands and opening stores in new markets.
More recently I have studied for an MSc in Psychological Research Methods (experimental design, advanced statistics & social sciences) examining the psychology fashion & appearance.
Dean Wantling, L4 Digital Marketing Group Lead
Dean studied International Fashion Marketing at MMU, in his hometown of Manchester. Following graduation he re-located to London to begin his fashion career working for some of the most dynamic, London fashion PR agencies. He has worked up to management level and in various freelance and consultancy roles. Collectively, Dean has 20 years’ fashion retail experience with brands such as Selfridges, Fred Perry, Levis, Lacoste and Calvin Klein.
Dean has qualified Teaching Status (QTS) after graduating from a PGCE from The University of East London, and has a variety of teaching experience both in the UK and internationally.
His specialism is Digital Marketing, innovation, Gamification and Branding.
Debbie Taylor, BA (Hons) Buying & Merchandising Programme Lead
Debbie joined Selfridges as a graduate trainee where she spent 2 years working across all levels of head office before finding her true vocation in Fashion Buying. Over a career spanning 20 years she travelled the world in pursuit of new brands and concepts, working with some of the world’s most famous designers and attending the RTW shows. She has worked across Accessories, Ladies Contemporary and Designer and childrenswear. Her specialities are Brand Buying and Trend development. In 2000 she was awarded the Drapers Record Fashion Buyer of the year and in 2015 the FRA Teacher of the Year Award.
Diana Bonham, Associate Lecturer
Diana has 25+ years in fashion buying, sourcing, and management. After completing a degree in Fashion Design with Marketing she joined the graduate Buyer training program with BHS.
Diana joined Oasis as Junior Buyer and progressed to Head of Buying having bought all clothing product areas including footwear and accessories. Working globally with a diverse range of suppliers Diana has travelled extensively sourcing developing design led ranges.
She created and launched lingerie ranges for Oasis (Odille) and Karen Millen, selling to international retailers including Victoria’s Secret
She has been a director of and consultant for the Ethical Fashion Consultancy and was Head of Buying and Design and Buying Director for Long Tall Sally.
Elaine runs her own quality improvement consultancy business. She is a highly experienced leader and manager, with a proven track record of achievement and success both as a Vice Principal and more recently in consultancy, training and support for the post 16 education sector. Elaine has significant experience in bringing about sustainable quality improvements and performance improvement solutions. Elaine is also contracted with Ofsted as an Ofsted Inspector.
Elizabeth Rouse, Vice Chair, FRA.
Elizabeth has a long career and extensive experience in education management. Her previous roles have included Head of College at London College of Communication, Deputy Rector Academic at the University of the Arts London and Dean of Academic Development at London College of Fashion.
Emma Geary, Head of Brand Partnerships at MR PORTER
Marketing & Communications for Fashion Mentor
Emma launched her career at Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire before taking on the role of Creative Services Manager at British Vogue, all within advertising, brand partnerships and content creation. Pivoting to marketing at the Global Head of Cultural Marketing for The Hoxton hotel groups, devising openings in Paris and Williamsburg, NY, Emma returned to fashion with the YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group where she’s worked with brands from Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent and many more to produce bespoke, high-impact creative.
Fiona Gaughan, Planning and Trading Director – Retail
Fiona has been working in Fashion Retail for over 20 years. She spent 14 years at Arcadia before moving to ASOS in 2014 to be the Womenswear Merchandising Director where she headed up a department of over 200 people across ASOS Design and Branded teams. More recently Fiona has taken on the role of Planning & Trading Director for Retail where she oversees multiple functions such as Merchandising, Global Planning, Forecasting and Trading.
Grant Ayliffe, Head of Further Education
Grant brings 20 years of teaching expertise from both the Academic and Vocational education sectors. His broad experience spans Further Education, Higher Education and Post graduate programmes. Grant has written and developed new learning programmes and worked with existing programmes to develop interactive and blended learning models.
A graduate from the Royal College of Art, Grant also started and continues to contribute to a successful Design practice that focuses on graphic design, branding and installation. Grants clients span both the private and public sectors, developing design work for Artists, Fashion Events, IT, Education and Manufacturing. Grant was also a founding partner in a multidisciplinary Design workshop and has ran 2 interior design retail stores in London.
Guido Dal Pozzo
Guido Dal Pozzo, Senior Lecturer
Guido graduated in Marketing, PR and Communications and holds an MA Media & Communications from Goldsmith University of London.
Guido has 15+ years of fashion industry experience working with internationals brand such as Benetton Group and Burberry. He specialised in product development, sourcing and supply chain management focusing on fashion sustainability. A truly passionate about high education he worked with variety of educational setting such as Instituto Marangoni.
Helen Farrington, Advanced Practitioner
Helen Farrington studied Art and design at the London College of Fashion and after completion began her career as a designer and pattern cutter.
In a career spanning over 32 years she has been a sales director for two of the UK’s largest importers, working across all areas of clothing and began her own children's wear company in 2007. In 2016 she was awarded the FRA Teacher of The Year Award.
Ivan Korolev - Product Insights Manager (London & Berlin) at Converse
Marketing & Communications for Fashion Mentor
Ivan has spent the last decade working across insights, trends and strategy in a variety of roles. Throughout his career he has specialised in youth culture research and helping brands to connect with their audiences locally and globally.
Today, Ivan is the Trends & Consumer Insights Manager for London and Berlin at Converse (part of Nike Inc.). In this position he is tasked with supporting the Converse global product and design teams by providing insights to inform their vision and output - all in order to help the brand remain ahead of the trend cycle in Western Europe and inspire new creation.
James Barron, Menswear Buying Director, ASOS plc.
James has worked for the online retailer since 2010. This role includes the development of the Asos Design Brand and all 3rd Party Brands; James is part of the Asos Leadership Team. James has worked as a Buyer for 20 years for a variety of UK Retailers from Marks & Spencers, Tie Rack, Arcadia, Moss Bros, and as Head of Buying for Envy Clothing Group.
Jo Beardsworth, Associate Lecturer
Jo Beardsworth's experience and insight in the fashion business spans over 30 years, with roles in senior management and working as an entrepreneur. During this time, she has successfully launched and developed many brands. Over the last five years Jo has focused on personal performance development, to help people grow and manage change. Specialising in leadership, team building, communication, confidence, stress management and motivation. Her style is positive, innovative and commercial. Jo has lectured in business since 2016, creating and delivering modules in leadership, entrepreneurship & Innovation, strategic management, marketing, communication and personal branding.
Jo Reynolds, Associate Lecturer
Since graduating from the London College of Fashion in Fashion Journalism and Promotion, I've been working in the PR & Marketing industry across a diverse and broad range of fashion, homeware and FMCG brands, for approximately 25+ years.
I was part of the team that launched the prestigious brand of loafers called Wannabe by Patrick Cox in the mid 90’s and I’ve successfully launched international brands into the UK market including J. Lindeberg, Tiger of Sweden, Evisu Jeans, Adriano Goldschmeid (AG Jeans) and Vagabond Shoemakers through quality PR coverage, strategic product placement, fashion weeks (Milan, Paris and London) and event launches.
In 2011 I launched my own PR & Marketing consultancy working with fashion & lifestyle brands to implement strategic communications across PR, Media, Marketing and Social Media. I’ve been an Associate Lecturer at the Fashion Retail Academy in London for over 10 years.
Joanna Welch, Founder and Creative Director of Small Stories
Business Management for Fashion Mentor
Jo has always had a passion for fashion having worked for some of the leading UK high street brands. Jo graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2004 and whilst there decided that she would like to pursue a career in buying. Jo started her career as a fashion accessories buyer for Claire’s Accessories. Jo continued in accessories at Dorothy Perkins and Jane Norman before moving to Kurt Geiger to drive their expansion into accessories. Jo left KG in 2016 to set up her own children’s wear brand, Small Stories, which she continues to run today. Jo has over 16 years’ experience in the fashion industry and holds a BA HONS in fashion management.
Judean Hallier, L3 Fashion Retail Programme Lead
"Judean has worked within the Retail Operations side of the industry with UK brands Whistles, Dune and LK Bennett, in a career spanning 12 years, before finding her vocation in professional career development and vocational coaching. She has worked within a variety of educational settings including Apprenticeships, delivering Retail, Management and Customer Service training to young people. Her specialist teaching includes starting a business, customer service and retail operations."
Julia Redman, Associate Lecturer
Julia Redman owns and manages retail buying and sourcing consultancy Buyers Eye, empowering brands, retailers, suppliers and licensees to maximise their potential. She is a former Head of Buying, with over 30 years diverse buying experience, and also lectures in Fashion Buying and Sourcing at the University of the Arts and the Fashion Retail Academy in London.
She started her career at BHS in 1989, having completed a Degree (BSc) in Food, Textiles and Consumer Studies. She has since worked in the buying departments of Arcadia Group, Marks and Spencer, BHS, Woolworths, Debenhams and M&Co, buying private label, licensed and branded clothing. Julia’s global sourcing experience includes men’s, ladies and children’s clothing, and home accessories, managing the process from planning to production and onto the British high street.
Jumana Sodawala, Group Lead on Level 4 Fashion Buying
Jumana has over twenty years of men’s buying experience gained at Topman. She worked across a variety of departments before specialising in Knitwear. She has travelled globally in search of the ‘hottest’ new item and to build strong relationships with Suppliers.
Jumana has spent the last six years as the Senior International Product Manager where she was responsible for how the brand was translated internationally through wholesale and franchise. She worked closely with the brand’s strategic global partners to make sure that the ranges sent was suitable in terms of local customer profile, culture and climate.
Kevin Harding, Merchandising Manager at Victoria Beckham
Business Management for Fashion Mentor
Kevin Harding is a Merchandising Manager with over ten years of experience. In his current role at Victoria Beckham he manages each collection, overseeing strategy and evolution of multiple product categories. Kevin hasn’t followed the typical Merchandising career path. Having worked at small-scale start-ups to mammoth global brands including Burberry and Alexander McQueen, he took a break from fashion to work in a sector that he’s really passionate about; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Kevin lectures and mentors alongside his full-time merchandising job, keen support and develop the next generation of fashion talent.
Laura Charles, Director of Lingerie, M&S
Laura has a retail background spanning over 30 years specialising in buying. She is currently Director of Lingerie at M&S since March 2018 and prior to that Head of Buying from 2014.
Her career has covered both buying and design within retail and manufacturing and she has worked for companies such as Next PLC, La Senza, Etam and Courtaulds.
Lee Lucas, Principal and CEO of FRA.
Lee has been the Principal and CEO of the FRA since October 2014. Lee started his career as an IT Manager and later retrained as a teacher. Over the past 14 years Lee has held senior leadership roles and Principal positions in private and public education providers, developing qualifications and apprenticeships (in the IT, beauty, jewellery and retail sectors), alongside a number of other commercial ventures.
Madeleine King, Level 3 Fashion Business & Retail Group Lead
I have worked for the past twenty years as a Freelance Wholesale Sales and Marketing Consultant. Recent work includes working for Burberry London as a Senior Freelance Sales agent in the London showroom.
Within this I offer emerging and established brands support from start-up assistance through to continued wholesale support, this includes wholesale/retail distribution, showroom support in Paris, customer events, sustainable processes, sales and marketing or product development.
Previous career highlights include working with the best global stores such as; Net a Porter, Harrods, Matches, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Selfridges, Le Bon Marche - Paris, Lane Crawford - Hong Kong and high street stores such as ASOS and Topshop.
In addition, I have worked in the sustainable arena having my own ethical and retail online marketplace and working a Global Sales Director for Fair trade brand People Tree.
Mariam Sonekan, L3 Fashion Retail Group Lead
Digital skills specialist. A Creative Stylist, content creator and graphic designer with experience in the fashion, interior and creative direction. My work has been featured in fashion editorials such as Stylist magazine, Glamour magazine, Kaltblut, and Black Beauty & Hair magazine. I have taught Art & Design and Creative Media for 4 years, shortly after graduating at London College of Fashion. In my free time I like to develop my digital and creative skills such as Photoshop, Lightroom, product photography, textiles web design and interior design.
Mikael Persson, L3 Fashion Design Group Lead
"Mikael Persson has an MA in Digital Fashion from The London College of Fashion. He has worked with Alexander McQueen and Michiko Koshino. Mikael has been an integral part of the teaching team at The FRA for 8 years. His experience of design software has helped hundreds of VM, Buying and Fashion Design students build their portfolios and ultimately secure jobs in the retail sector or, gain a place at university. Mikael also runs his own fashion label Cloth & Vinyl, producing and retailing printed t-shirts and sweaters that keeps him up to date with the ever changing developments within the fashion industry."
Nick Holbrook, Associate Lecturer
Nick’s has worked for notable companies like WPP since 1988 and his work has been recognised by receiving two D&Ad awards. He established his first design company in 1991 and has worked on notable projects for high profile clients like Balfour Beatty, David Bowie, Transport for London, the National Portrait Gallery and Tom Conran.
While Nick continues to work with private clients and businesses, he is also an experienced lecturer. His first foray into academia was lecturing at Staffordshire University in 1995. Recently, he has lectured at Brighton University, Middlesex University and the Fashion Retail Academy where he is teaching certain modules for a Bachelor’s degree.
Nick continues to work as consultant for many UK companies and his wealth of experience is highly sought after. His valuable practical experience and lecturing role can only help the College and its students.
Paul Ward, Senior Lecturer
Paul has 30 years' experience in Retail Operational Management, beginning life as an Assistant Store Manager and ending up the last 12 year's as the Retail Operations Director (board-level).
He has been working at the FRA since 2013 and has delivered lessons across a wide range of HE, FE, Apprenticeship and Short courses. During his time at the Academy, he has been responsible for the created and written apprenticeship courses in L4 Retail Management, L3 Retail Team Leader and L3 Customer Service Specialist and has been a Programme Manager and Module Leader on many different modules.
Paul specialises in designing and delivering engaging and interesting lectures and seminars which support and enable students and learners to link knowledge and theory with the practical application of skills and behaviours, so they can perform effectively and work successfully as individuals or team players in the modern workplace.
Pauline has had a long career in the arts and creative industries mostly recently as Chief Executive of Creative & Cultural Skills where she worked closely with Further and Higher Education partners to develop qualifications and apprenticeships. Pauline was awarded a CBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to education and training in the cultural sector.
Philip Bosley, L2 Fashion Retail & L3 Fashion Design Programme Lead
After graduating from The London College of Fashion in womenswear, I continued to work with British designers Bella Freud and Paul Frith to develop my skills and knowledge of the industry. Whilst producing my own collections along-side teaching I realised teaching full time would be the next step in my career. “I see teaching as a collaboration between myself and my students”
Rachel Fernandes, Garment Technology Tutor.
"Although my career started in the Buying Office at Topshop, I was soon made aware of the Garment Technologists role and really loved being involved in the fitting process and the meticulous attention to detail needed to getting the product right.
Having gained qualifications in pattern-cutting and garment construction along with past experience helped me understand the process.
After working with several retailers my career path changed and I decided to use my skills within the Wedding Industry.
I have helped hundreds of brides find their perfect dress and take them through the whole process from concept to final fitting. Setting up a wedding dress fitting service allowed me to see them on their big day which was rewarding for me and stress relieving for them.
Teaching Garment Technology at the FRA over the past six years has allowed me to share my knowledge and help hundreds of students the majority of which are now in industry. Having an understanding of fibres, fabrics and garment construction is extremely beneficial when starting a career in the Fashion Industry."
Richard Thornton, Senior Buyer – Menswear at The very Group
Buying & Merchandising Mentor
A passionate and committed Senior Buyer, experienced both within the Branded and Private Label Buying sector with ASOS, REISS, Topman and now The Very Group. An avid reader who is a huge fan of French brands such as Ami, Sandro and APC and an even bigger Spurs and Fitness fan.
Sally has spent over 20 years working in finance within fashion retail. She spent 13 years at Arcadia starting as an analyst in the Oxford Circus store and progressing to Finance Director of Dorthy Perkins and then BHS. She then moved to Marks & Spencer where she spent six years as Finance Director of the Clothing & Home half of the business. She now runs her own consultancy business and is a trustee for two other charities.
Scott Massey, L4 Garment Technology Group Lead
Having studied Fashion Design at Southampton Solent University, Scott has had a broad fashion career, with roles spanning Design, Visual Merchandising, Retail Management, and Garment Technology. As well as running his own small label, Scott has worked with multiple brands, including Boden, John Lewis, and Marks & Spencer, and now teaches across two courses; Level 4 Garment Technology and Level 3 Fashion Design.
Scott is particularly passionate about Sustainability, and aims to pass that eco-minded way of working onto his students: “I’m as interested in the technical ‘why’ and ‘how’ of fashion as the creative ‘what’; customers are rightly starting to demand that the brands they buy from be Ethical and Sustainable, so it’s imperative that we send our students into industry with the knowledge and skills to be able to react to this. We’re going through a huge shift in our relationship with our wardrobes, so it’s an incredibly exciting time to be nurturing talent into industry”.
Silvia Mauri, L3 & L4 Fashion Retail Group Lead
Silvia is a true retailer with over 25 years’ experience in the industry. She started her career on the shop floor at Oasis, progressed to Retail Management and then found her real passion for Visual Merchandising.
Silvia worked for Oasis, Jigsaw, Dorothy Perkins and Banana Republic starting from Area Visual Manager with Oasis to Visual Market Manager for Banana Republic EU.
Silvia holds a qualified teacher status, and she works across Apprenticeships and Further Education. She is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher, and her specialist subjects are Retail Management, Operations and Visual Merchandising.
Sonia Williams, Associate Lecturer
Sonia has a varied career developing brands for over 12 years; managing teams of up to 58 staff, directing business operations and marketing initiatives.
She has overseen multi-site operations both within the UK and Internationally, managed multi-million pound turnovers, opened various stores, concessions, warehouses and organised high profile creative events, from product launches to London Fashion Week; a unique skill base covering supply chain management, creative events, digital marketing & brand development.
Passionate about learning and supporting students as they embark on the next steps in their careers. 'FRA is a great place to study and a phenomenal launch pad into the industry!'
Susanna is the CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation, Chair of the Laidlaw Schools Trust, Chair of B2B Marketing and a board member of both Criton and Zapnito. Prior to leading the Laidlaw Foundation, Susanna had over 15 years of CEO, CMO and Chief Strategy Officer roles in global media and B2B businesses, including as CEO of WGSN the world’s leading trend forecaster.
Suzanne Dewsbury, Level 4 Visual Merchandising Group Lead
Suzi worked in Visual Merchandising for fourteen years and became a Global VM Manager by the age of twenty-eight. Working for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Dorothy Perkins, Boden and Oasis, Suzi has held many roles within Visual Merchandising and now has a great range of professional industry links.
In more recent roles, Suzi focussed on brand modernisation and the link between digital and physical visual merchandising. This is an important concept that she includes throughout the course as it is the future of modern retail.
Thom Scherdel, Buyer at Browns
Buying & Merchandising Mentor
Fortunate enough to have a wide and unique range of buying experience, from high street and contemporary to luxury and own label. Having worked in the industry since I started at Selfridges when I was 17. Have a true passion for product across all categories and always strive for working collaborations that break ground in whichever sector it may be. A disruptive and commercial approach to special projects championing new brands always and finding new talent from a global search perspective. Currently working at Brown on everything Non-Apparel. This includes all Sneaker Business, Mens Accessories, Fine Jewellery and Watches and Lifestyle. Currently all of the most exciting and progressive departments in the market at present.
Vanessa Spence, Womenswear & Menswear Design Director at ASOS.com
Buying & Merchandising Mentor
Vanessa Spence joined ASOS in 2007 after starting her career 9 years prior working in design at Arcadia and also briefly at Pepe Jeans. Starting with a team of two, Vanessa was influential in shaping the ASOS brand and now has a team of 100. Vanessa was made Womenswear Design Director in 2015 and promoted to Design Director of both Womenswear and Menswear in 2018 to develop a unified look and feel to the ASOS ranges, trends and collaborations. Now in her current role, Vanessa oversees the design of all product at ASOS.com. Vanessa is on the Board of Governors for the Fashion Retail Academy. More recently in 2020, Vanessa joined the Fashion Minority Alliance as one of their resident experts in Fashion Retail.
Vanessa Spence, Womenswear & Menswear Design Director, ASOS.
Joining ASOS in 2007 with a team of two, Vanessa was influential in shaping the ASOS brand and now has a team of over 100. Vanessa was promoted to Design Director of both Womenswear and Menswear in 2018 to develop a unified look and feel to the ASOS ranges, trends and collaborations. Vanessa is also a patron of the charity Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD).