Anne Tyrrell dedicated more than five decades to the fashion industry. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1960 she had two sides to her illustrious career. Firstly as a successful fashion and interior designer and secondly in her academic life as a senior tutor and visiting professor at the Royal College of Art, where she was made an Honorary Fellow.
Anne Tyrrell MBE was managing director of international design consultancy Anne Tyrrell Design, Chairman of the British Fashion Council Colleges Council, member of Creative Skillset Fashion & Textile Council, the Sector Skills Council for Fashion and Textiles.
For twenty-five years, Anne was Design Director of John Marks, with her own label Anne Tyrrell at John Marks. The collection, which she started in the mid-sixties grew to a large organisation and collection showing at international fashion fairs such as the Pret-A-Porter in Paris and being a leader in the international dress and evening wear field supplying Europe, USA, Canada and the UK
Anne won Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 1980. Anne assisted with setting up a large design room and factory so this was an invaluable insight into the skills required in both areas.
In 1982 Anne Tyrrell set up her own London based design consultancy Anne Tyrrell Design. The consultancy’s in-house team of highly qualified designers were recruited from her past students and graduates and the consultancy provided a worldwide service to the textile, fashion and lifestyle industry.
Anne Tyrrell Design consulted to many companies including Next Retail, British Rail, Nike, IWS, View From, House of Fraser, The Orient Express, JCB, The Limited, Cotswold Collections, Virgin, Royal Ascot, John Lewis, Mitsubishi Corporation, Bamford & Sons, and London Underground.
Anne continued teaching weekly at The Royal College of Art until 1995 whilst running her design company. As Senior Tutor, as well as normal academic responsibilities, liaising with industry for sponsorship and job placements internationally from 1987 ran and organised the RCA/International Wool major design/manufacturing project, working with the second-year students and major UK and International companies Stephen Marks 1987, Paul Costelloe 1988-89, Chiara Boni GFT 1991, Armani 992, Escada 1993, MaxMara and Romeo Gigli.
These experiences gave Anne a huge insight into the design skills and technical abilities of the international world of fashion. In 1992, Anne was asked to become a member of the British Fashion Council and quickly realised with all the UK industry contacts in the UK clothing industry, that fashion education could benefit greatly from these links. Anne suggested the formation of BFC Student Forum initiative, which brought together all the heads of fashion departments from the leading UK colleges and universities. This became a great success having linked projects with companies such as Marks & Spencer, Laura Ashley and ICEP-Portugal.
Anne and the committee highlighted the lack of designer pattern cutters and progressed these requirements by developing a pattern cutting initiative and seminars with leading designer pattern cutters, at Nottingham Trent University and the Royal College of Art.
This was a huge success, highlighted the need at university level, and since has led to universities such as The London College of Fashion and St Martins setting up special high-level courses in pattern cutting. In 1990 Anne was a part of the management council at Texprint.
In 2000 Anne was appointed Vice Chairman of the British Fashion Council, assisting with British Fashion Week designer show and exhibitions and had a close link with London designers, where their needs in small and growing designer businesses are highlighted. Whilst still running her international design consultancy for the international market.
After two terms as Vice Chairman, and having the great pleasure of working alongside Nicolas Coleridge and Sir Stuart Rose in the reconstruction of the BFC, Anne was asked to take up chairmanship again of the renamed BFC Colleges Council in 2007 and grew the competitions and projects with internship and employment being the prize with companies such as Topshop, Max Mara, Chloe, Burberry, Warehouse, and Harrods. Also, Anne re-instigated the Creative Pattern Cutting seminar in 2012 at Somerset House and in collaboration with Harrods runs industry/designer business development seminars.
In 2001 Anne was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers.
In 2002 Anne was appointed to the Council of the Sector Skills Council for apparel footwear and textile industry, was a director of Skillfast sitting on the board, and was also made a member of the 14-19 Creative Media New Diploma Panel in 2006.
Anne worked closely with Skillfast and the 14-19 Diploma panel to ensure the technical skills and abilities so necessary in the fashion and textile area are revised, reviewed, and embraced to benefit our fashion industry. An area close to her heart and skills which she felt passionately about reviving and improving and gave great value and open up new career paths for graduates. Anne was also part of the Fashion & Textile Council of Creative Skillset, which took over the Skillfast skills initiative.
Anne was awarded an MBE in the Queens Birthday Honours List in 2008, and in July was awarded an Honorary MA at the University of the Creative Arts at Rochester.
Anne Tyrrell Design undertook domestic and commercial redevelopments. Included in these developments were a redesign of St. Mary’s Rectory in Chelsea (2008-2009) and a refurbishment of the living quarters of the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon (2010).
In 2013 the Norwich University of Art, awarded Anne, an alumna of NUA, with an Honorary Doctorate for services to the British Fashion Industry, presented by John Hurt CBE, University Chancellor.
At the 2014 Graduate Fashion Week Awards, she received The Lifetime Achievement Award from Hilary Alexandra in recognition of her contribution to the Industry over 50 years.