Colin McDowell is one of the world's top fashion commentators. He is known particularly for his many years as the Sunday Times' chief fashion writer and for his role as the founder of the influential Fashion Fringe, a major initiative supporting young designers. He is one of the fashion elite—an insider renowned for his insightful judgement, his deep knowledge of the arts and humanities and his commitment to the fashion industry.

Colin McDowell is the only senior commentator who knows the fashion business from both sides of the catwalk. He spent 10 years as a designer, illustrator and publicist in the Italian fashion business, where he worked with the late Pino Lancetti, generally considered one of the most creative forces in Italian fashion, and with Laura Biagotti. The experience helped Colin to understand designers in general and young, inexperienced designers in particular.

Colin has been a journalist for over 20 years and has at one time or another written for every quality newspaper and magazine in Britain. For the last 15 years he has been fashion writer for The Sunday Times Style, for which he has reported each season from the international fashion weeks, covering couture, women's ready-to-wear and menswear. During that time Colin has interviewed just about all of the great designers and many key figures in the fashion world. He has also held a highly regarded and popular series of public conversations with outstanding individuals such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada, Anna Wintour and Mario Testino, to mention only a few.

Having seen so many young talents disappear before finding their feet, in 2004 Colin set up with IMG an initiative to address a number of  problems he identified in the London fashion scene. The result was Fashion Fringe, a platform for young designer talent open to anyone who is capable of starting a business based in London. Fashion Fringe helps its selected designers nurture their business both creatively and commercially. Past winners who have gone on to notable success include Basso and Brooke, Erdem, Aminaka Wilmont and Eun Jeong.

Colin has written 22 books on fashion and related subjects, including the seminal McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion; Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy; Hats: Status, Style and Glamour; and Fashion Today. He has also written biographies of, among others, Ralph Lauren, John Galliano and Manolo Blahnik. Among his most recent subjects are Matthew Williamson and Roberto Cavalli. Colin's latest  book is Drawing Fashion in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name that he curated for the Design Museum. He is currently  finishing the Anatomy of Fashion  -- to be published in 2012 by Phaidon. He is also working on an exhibition of Italian Fashion to mark the 150th anniversary of the unification  of Italy.