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Dame Zandra Rhodes On Why You Should Never Give Up

The keynote speaker on the final day of Spring Fair (7 February) included an audience with the ‘Princess of Punk’, pioneering British fashion and textile designer Dame Zandra Rhodes, whose career has spanned more than five decades.

Dame Zandra took to the Inspiring Retail Stage to address a packed audience,talking through her journey in design, from launching her own collection of chiffon kaftans in 1969, and opening her first store on Bond Street in 1977, to her many collaborations with the likes of Ikea and Happy Socks. She also revealed that her stand out career moment was dressing Freddie Mercury in a white pleated top. “It was subsequently featured in an iconic image that we still see everywhere today,” she highlighted.

Above: In conversation with Dame Zandra Rhodes on Spring Fair’s Inspiring Retail Stage.
Above: In conversation with Dame Zandra Rhodes on Spring Fair’s Inspiring Retail Stage.

Asked for her thoughts on future of fashion, Dame Zandra predicted: “I think the way the world is going, we have to think of everything being adjustable and use things in a  different way so that they last. We can’t keep using the world’s resources. We need to treasure what we have and work with it.”

Offering advice to the audience, she emphasised: “Never give up! The world might be changing but we have to hope that we will adapt. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that come along and run with them.” She also advised that people should always surround themselves with positive friends, “those who encourage you to try new things and be experimental. It’s better to aim for something, to reach for to the stars, rather than to regret it for the rest of your life.”

Commenting on the show, Jackson Szabo, Spring Fair’s portfolio director, said:“I was blown away by the energy, passion and community. The feedback and stories from buyers, exhibitors, and partners highlighted just how integral the show is to the retail calendar. As well as the day job of buying, it enabled the retail industry to come alive with inspiration, innovation, knowledge and networking.”

He continued: “All of our new experiences and activations across the show floor, and the awe-inspiring content on the three stages, were very well received, and I loved the sense of fun our exhibitors brought to the show – I saw people dressed as sheep, sharks, dogs, naughty elves, and as Peppa Pig!

Above: Peppa Pig was among the characters at the show.
Above: Peppa Pig was among the characters at the show.

“We’re now excited to look forward to 2025 as we celebrate 75 years as the Home, Gift and Fashion industry’s most established and inventive buying show.”

Spring Fair returns for its 75th edition from 2-5 February 2025. Visit

Top: ‘Princess of Punk’, pioneering fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes was the keynote speaker on the final day of Spring Fair (7 February).

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