International Women's Day - DMU Contour Fashion head singled out as an inspiration


For International Women’s Day, Royce Lingerie is sharing stories of women, from all walks of life and all corners of the globe, who have excelled in their fields and made a positive impact on the world. 

Our very own Gillian Proctor, Associate Professor of Contour Fashion for De Montfort University (DMU), is among them and has answered a Q&A for the campaign run by design agency Strada Creative.

An interview with Gillian Proctor

Gillian Proctor is an internationally-recognised expert in her field, in particular on the history of the lingerie industry. And a regular on TV and radio as an expert consultant.

Her incredible reputation within the lingerie industry has been built on a career working with huge fashion names such as Karl Lagerfeld and Armani.

As a result her graduates go on to create the next generation of lingerie for some of the world’s biggest fashion names, including A&F, H&M, Agent Provocateur, Next, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger.

When are you happiest? 

By the sea, or in the garden – I am a keen gardener.  Out of necessity at first, as my cottage is bordered with garden on three sides.

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life? 

I would prefer someone with attitude – Helen Mirren or a taller Judy Dench. They’re more likely to speak their mind.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Don’t just talk about it, do it! Because you never know what’s around the corner.

What barriers did you come up against when you first started out?

When I took over the Contour Fashion Programme at De Montfort University, the biggest barrier to overcome was ensuring the course would deliver on the current needs of the industry.  I had to get out there, I needed to get myself in front of industry leaders and keep those relationships going.  And then ensure I brought back that understanding to the programme and into the teaching of tomorrow’s students.

Which book changed your life?

Drawings by 15th century German artist, Albrecht Dürer.  It transformed my drawing style and helped my observation skills. His penmanship is incredible, producing stunning drawings – a great drawing unlocks fantastic potential, a huge driver for the course.  

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Love, laugh, travel more… and apply a decent sunscreen or you’ll regret it later  

What is your favourite thing about being a woman?

Fabulous shoes!

Who is your biggest female role model?

Coco Chanel – for what she achieved as a designer, how innovative she was with her applications of materials. When I was a teenager, I longed to look like Sophia Loren, that sultry, sexy earthy look. Nothing like me really

We are celebrating Strong Women this month what advice would you give young women today to improve their chances of success? 

Innovate, innovate, innovate. Listen to good advice. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

On hard days, what motivates you to get up and start your day?

The fact that I am alive. I came through Breast Cancer, and realised I needed to make the most of the life I have left.

Do you believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason?

Without question… when I was diagnosed with Cancer I asked myself, why me?  I believe things happen for a reason. Now is the time to do something positive to support this dreadful disease, and I am able to do something to help.

I am currently setting up a forum to improve the design of post-surgery bras. With participation from the industry, the medical profession and patients.  We aim to  create a centre of excellence at De Montfort University that will help students to continue improving bra designs for patients in future generations.

What keeps you up at night?

Insomnia… literally. I’ve suffered all my life. That and wondering whether I could have done things better.


Posted on Friday 8th March 2019

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