Name: Rosalind Woolfson
Job: Founder of Woolfson Communications
Industry: Fashion and Public Relations
Class of: 1963
What did you do?
I began my career working for M&S before deciding to move into public relations consultancy. Then, I handled the PR for the opening of the first four McDonald’s in the UK before moving to another company where I was responsible for all the PR for silk in the UK. Additionally, I travelled to China in 1988, along with the BBC TV Clothes Show programme, to film the story of silk. Whilst there, we worked with a local model to film a fashion show on the Great Wall of China. We used designer clothes I had brought with me from London.
In addition, I worked for Bruce Oldfield, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Monty Don – when he was a jewellery designer before he became a gardener- and The British Designer Show at Olympia, from which London Fashion Week was created.
The 1980s were a great time in the development of British Fashion. Diana, Princess of Wales, was a supporter and there were many high-profile industry and charity events. These included three receptions at 10 Downing Street hosted by Mrs Thatcher for British fashion, all of which I attended.
When I wasn’t talking frocks, I handled the PR for the opening of the first three UK Center Parcs Villages. I also acted as the PR representative for one of London’s most respected international art dealers.
In the 1990s, I ran my own company – Woolfson Communications – where I had clients including Daks and Walpole.
Eventually, I decided to return to Scotland for a less frenetic life!
How did you get to where you are today?
I left the School at the end of my fourth year to go to a finishing school in Florence, Italy. From there, I spent a year at Glasgow School of Art, before changing direction and joining the Marks & Spencer Junior Management training scheme. That took me to the M&S Head Office to become a member of the public relations team. During my nine years with M&S I dealt with the fashion press, new store openings and ran the charity fashion shows nationwide.
What are your standout memories of your time at The High School of Glasgow?
I had a great Latin teacher, and to this day I use what I remember to look at the root of words. We also learnt fencing, which was unusual at that time, but great fun. On the downside, if we took off our school hats on the way home, we would always be seen by some old girl who would phone the school to report us!
Another fond memory is of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation. Shortly afterwards, we were taken down to Sauchiehall Street to wave to HM during a visit to Glasgow. All I remember is a large black car! We then went to a cinema to see a film of the Coronation in colour.
What one piece of advice would you give to current pupils and recent leavers as they look to their futures?
My advice would be to always be polite to your friends, your colleagues -both junior and senior. It may be difficult, but it’s a small world. It’s far better in your life, and career, to have a good reputation than a bad reputation.
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