Conference: Fashion and Psychoanalysis
Zowie Broach is the head of fashion at London’s Royal College of Art. She first attracted attention for co-founding avant-garde fashion label, BOUDICCA. Launched in 1997 with her partner, Brian Kirkby. the line of highly conceptual designs and architecturally inspired tailoring became known for its non-conformist approach to commerce – for the first five years, Broach’s brand didn’t actually produces clothes for sale, other than private orders for friends. Consistently blurring the lines between fashion and art, Broach and Kirkby’s work has been displayed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as the Art Institute of Chicago.
Alongside her role as a designer and artist, Zowie Broach has been involved in fashion education for over a decade. Teaching for eight years at the University of Westminster in London, Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York, SAIC in Chicago and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Between 2009 and 2011, Broach was appointed designer in residence at London College of Fashion.
As the head of fashion at the Royal College of Art, Broach has put an emphasis on the importance of artistic and intellectual experimentation, telling NY TIMES in June 2017: “From the moment I arrived here, I made it clear that I want these students to feel equipped to ask urgent questions,” and adding, “They need to feel a sense of ownership over their own cultures. They are the future, after all. It is my job is to make them feel empowered and confident enough to have strong, distinctive points of view." After the RCA’s 2015 MA graduate fashion show, the first under Broach’s instruction, Suzy Menkes declared Broach’s appointment heralded a “new era” in London fashion.
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