Tributes have been paid to Anne Tyrrell, who died on February 1 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
Tyrrell dedicated more than five decades to the fashion industry, latterly holding a string of positions including member of the British Fashion Council advisory board and chairman of its colleges council, and member of design charity Texprint’s management council.
She began her career as a pattern cutter after studying fashion at the Royal College of Art from 1957 to 1960. She went on to become director of design at clothing supplier John Marks from 1963 to 1982, developing her own self-titled collection.
For more than 20 years between 1974 and 1995, Tyrrell was a senior tutor at the Royal College of Art, after which she became visiting professor. During that time she established her own fashion and interior design consultancy, working across womenswear, menswear, sportswear, kidswear, accessories and corporate clothing. In 2000 she designed the London Underground uniform that is still in use today.
In 2008 she was awarded an MBE by the Queen for her contribution to the British fashion industry. She also has an honorary Master’s degree from the University for the Creative Arts and an honorary fellowship from the Chartered Society of Designers.
She was awarded an Honourary Doctorate from Norwich University of the Arts in 2013 and received a Graduate Fashion Week Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
Simon Ward, chief operating officer at the British Fashion Council, said: “Anne Tyrrell was a unique advocate for British fashion education, tirelessly developing closer links between our world-class colleges and industry. A champion for the emerging talent and the future of fashion, her generosity and warmth will be deeply missed.”
Barbara Kennington, honorary chairman of Texprint, described her as “an indefatigable spirit” with “genuine warmth and charm”.
“The industry will miss her greatly, as will all of us who knew her or indeed (as myself) were taught by her at the RCA. Anne was instrumental, over 40 years ago, in ensuring that Texprint should survive and become a charity, thus ensuring that many hundreds of talented textile graduates are to this day showcased and supported in their vital first career steps.
“She was passionate in her love of textiles and fashion; she applauded talent, leading by example and tirelessly encouraging the many students she inspired over the years.”
Paul Alger, director of international business development for the UK Fashion & Textile Association, said: “She was a lovely lady, one of the nicest in the industry, always supportive to young designers. If you ever invited her somewhere she would send the most beautifully written letter of thanks. She was a great friend and she will be very much missed by the industry.”
A small funeral to be attended by Tyrrell’s friends and family, including her brother Peter and long-term companion Paul Mason, will take place on Thursday, February 12. The family is planning to organise a memorial service for the wider industry shortly after, with details to follow.