A Love Hate Relationship with Couture: A talk by Sylvia Ayton MBE

Design drawing by Sylvia Ayton Walthamstow 1955


Original Walthamstow School of Art student (1953 – 1957) Sylvia Ayton will talk about her experiences studying fashion at the school and later the Royal College, as well as her longstanding career in fashion which followed. She will draw upon the radical era of the 1960s and its influences on being a young designer and woman at the time.

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Sylvia Ayton was born in Ilford, Essex in 1937 and studied fashion at Walthamstow School of Art and the Royal College. Freelance design work included; B.E.A. air hostess uniforms (1959), clothing for B. Altman and Co. (New York), Count Down and Pallisades stores (London); worked at Costume Museum (Bath, 1960); designed hats for the film Freud (1960); formed a partnership with Zandra Rhodes to open Fulham Road Clothes Shop (London, 1964); outerwear designer for the Wallis Fashion Group, Ltd. (London, from 1969); freelance designer and pattern cutter for Keith Taylor, Ltd (London, 1975-80).

She has also taught extensively; part-time lecturer at Kingston Polytechnic (London, 1961-65), Ravensbourne College of Art and Design (London 1961-67), Middlesex Polytechnic (1967-71); also external assessor for B.A. (Honours) Fashion and Textile courses, from 1976. Awards: Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (1986); awarded MBE.

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