John Miles was Head of Fashion and Textiles at Brighton Polytechnic in the early 1980s, later moving between industry and the Royal College of Art. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Brighton College of Art he recalled his work at Brighton.

“My education started at Banbury School of Art and Design, Croydon College and was completed at the Royal College of Art, where I graduated with an MDes RCA first class honours and a silver medal for work of special distinction. I have throughout my career spent time both in the industry and education: setting up and or helping to set up a number of studios producing designs for the textile industry, and designing for many leading fashion houses, furnishing companies and some ceramics and graphics.

I began teaching at Brighton part-time in the mid 1970s under Michael MacInerny. In January 1979 I was appointed as Head of Fashion and Textiles and was under the wing of Robin Plummer, a steely, tough, tall and handsome Head of Art and Design with a razor sharp brain who scared me to death. However he taught me much and I owe a great deal to him for his help, support and questioning.

“A sketchy outline was made for the BA(Hons) Course for Fashion Textiles with Business Studies, including a year out in the industry. The hard work put in by everyone and the physical isolation of the department could have been our downfall, but we became a family. The sandwich element of the course centred our minds and allowed us to establish a wonderful work ethic. A fantastic team of staff, both teaching and support and the amazing link with both business studies and historical studies made day to day work both exciting and rewarding.

“At the Council for National Academic Awards review of the course nerves ran high but we were given an amazing response and came out of it with flying colours.”

“In January 1979 I was appointed as Head of Fashion and Textiles at Brighton, moving to Courtaulds as Design Director in 1985. Two years later I was head hunted by Next to head up interiors and in 1989 I became Professor and Head of Fashion and Textiles at the Royal College of Art bringing together all Fashion and Textile Courses under one Professor. In 1997 I became Design Director of DMC in France, from which I returned to take up the post of Professor and Head of Fashion and Textiles at Bath Spa University.”

John Miles, 2009