First Next, then George at Asda, then Per Una for Marks and Spencer, and now George at Heriot-Watt. Fashion visionary George Davies, who transformed the high-street experience, has designs on postgraduate education through a unique partnership with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
He is launching the George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence at the university, where an MSc in international fashion marketing begins this autumn. The course will include in-company projects and masterclasses from leading academics and retailers, including Mr Davies.
Specialist subjects range from buying and merchandising, and understanding the fashion consumer, to fashion brand management and retail logistics.
Students will be involved in all aspects of retailing.
Mr Davies, who was awarded an honorary degree by Heriot-Watt in 2003, said:
"This exciting opportunity is unique in that it combines real-life retailing with an academic course for young professionals who want to develop careers in the industry. I've been involved in every aspect, from course content to recruiting the right team, and I'm looking forward to the launch in September."
Neither the university nor Mr Davies divulged how much funding was behind the centre, but Mr Davies said: "This is a personal project I am committing to in terms of my time and whatever it takes to make it work."
Heriot-Watt has a School of Management and Languages and also an internationally known School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. A number of its students have had placements at Per Una.
John Fernie, professor of retail marketing and head of the School of Management and Languages, said: "To have a retail visionary of such stature offering masterclasses to our students and working with our staff makes this programme distinctive."
John Archer, Heriot-Watt's principal, said the centre offered a tremendous opportunity to "ambitious, entrepreneurial people" who would graduate with a real understanding of business.