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Former Drapers editor Gerry Saunders dies

Gerry Saunders MBE, the former editor and publisher of Drapers, died on Tuesday aged 83 after a short illness.

Saunders started his career with the then-titled Drapers Record in 1958 as chief reporter before taking roles including editor and ultimately publisher. He was a hugely influential figure in the fashion industry, helping in the formation of the British Fashion Council. He was awarded an MBE for services to the industry in the late 80s.

He left Drapers in 2001 to join retail charity body Retail Trust as chairman.

Eric Musgrave, another former editor of Drapers who worked with Saunders, led the tributes.

“Gerry Saunders was the epitome of the old-school trade magazine editor. He started as the office boy and ended up as the editor, then publisher. He commanded immense respect among the industry because of his knowledge and understanding of the various nuances of the different sectors. He felt it was his duty to help bodies such as The Cottage Homes (now Retail Trust) or FIAG (the Fashion Industry Action Group, a precursor of the British Fashion Council) and many trade bodies, companies and individuals benefited from his wise counsel.

“For those of us who were lucky enough to work for him on Drapers Record, he instilled high standards of journalism, ethics and responsibility to the trade the magazine served. We will not see the likes of Gerry Saunders again.”

Drapers current editor-in-chief Caroline Nodder said: “The team at Drapers is extremely saddened to hear of the death of one of the longest-serving and most respected editors the magazine has ever had. Drapers is 125-years-old this year and while researching our anniversary book we spoke to the great and good of the industry many of whom have fond memories of Gerry from his time on Drapers. He was well known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion and highly respected by those who worked with him. Our thoughts and best wishes, and I’m sure those of all who knew him in the sector, are with his family at this sad time.”   

Retail Trust chief executive Nigel Rothband said: “He really was an amazing supporter of Retail Trust. I started at Retail Trust as he stood down and he was a great source of inspiration for me.”

The funeral will be held at Golders Green Crematorium in London on July 17 at 12pm. For more details, the family can be contacted at

Charitable donations can be made to the Retail Trust. Cheques made payable to the Retail Trust can be sent to - Cooksey & Son, 190 Fortis Green Road, London N10 3DU. Flowers can also be sent to this address.

Saunders passed away peacefully on July 3.

Readers' comments (1)

  • A very sad day. He helped a lot of people in this industry. A genuinely nice man!!

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