Feb 6, 2023
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Star fashion editor and GFF president Hilary Alexander dies

Feb 6, 2023

Hilary Alexander, one of the best known fashion editors in the UK and honorary president of the Graduate Fashion Foundation (GFF), died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, her 77th birthday.

Hilary Alexander - Photo: Graduate Fashion Foundation

She’s been a major name in the UK fashion sector for around 40 years and was awarded the OBE in 2013 for her services to the industry.

Born in 1946, she worked as a journalist in her native New Zealand and in Australia, and later became fashion editor of Hong Kong-based The China Mail. 

She was a surprise appointment as Fashion Editor of the Daily Telegraph in the 1980s as she hadn’t been seen as one of the prime candidates for such a high-profile role. But she stamped her authority on the job in a tenure lasting 26 years that also saw her later named as its fashion director.

Her talent and personality made her one of the world’s most recognisable fashion editors who was also liked and respected.

Her recognition extended outside of the fashion pages via TV where she was something of a celebrity to UK (and international) consumers. Appearances on BBC One, BBC Two, Channel 4, CNN and GMTV were just a few of many TV spots. And guest slots on shows as diverse at The Weakest Link and Britain’s Next Top Model helped to cement her celebrity. 

Importantly too, she was heavily involved in fashion education and was named Visiting professor by the University of the Arts London in 2001 and Doctor of Design by Nottingham Trent University six years later.

Her GFF links were hugely important to her and GFF said of her on Monday: “Hilary was the driving strength behind Graduate Fashion Week helping to grow the event to its current status of the largest showcase of BA fashion in the world from its humble begins in 1991. Hilary held a vital role in securing many of the GFF Lifetime Patrons support for the charity, including Dame Zandra Rhodes & Diane Von Furstenberg.

“Continuing to do what she loved until the end, Hilary was a passionate supporter of emerging talent, she regularly visited universities scouting talent, reviewing portfolios, sharing vital advice. She travelled the world in her Honorary President role in support of young international designers including trips to New York, Dubai, Venice & Sweden, visiting many international educational institutes & holding guest speaker roles at global fashion weeks.

“GFF launched the ‘Hilary Alexander OBE Sustainability Trailblazer Award’ in 2017. Created to capture Hilary’s vision, by reflecting her enthusiasm for fresh, sustainable and future thinking fashion.

“A larger-than-life character, cherished by her fashion peers, she was known for her support, incredible writing, wicked sense of humour, respect for emerging talent and was never afraid to use her voice in support of future of the industry. The lifeforce behind GFW, her legacy & impact on the fashion and journalism industry has been immeasurable and will continue.”

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