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Betty Jackson, CBE (born 24 June 1949) is an English fashion designer based in London, England. She was born in Lancashire. In 2007, her achievement within British fashion was recognised with first a MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1987 and later with a CBE for "services to the fashion industry."[1] She is also known for designing many of the outrageous costumes worn by Edina and Patsy on the 1990s hit television comedy Absolutely Fabulous.[2]


Early lifeEdit

Betty Jackson was born in Bacup, Lancashire on 24 June 1949. Her father, Arthur Jackson, owned a shoe factory, and her mother, Phyllis Gertrude (Rains), shopped 'for the season' at Kendal Milne in Manchester.[3] Her leg was amputated at the age of six as it failed to grow following a dislocation during her birth. A car accident caused further complications and she has walked with a stick ever since.[4]

She was educated at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School. She studied fashion at the Birmingham College of Art under Zandra Rhodes, and started her fashion career as a fashion illustrator during her senior year (1971) at college. She learned her trade in the later 1970s as a designer for the Quorum line of Ossie Clark.[5]


In 1973, Jackson joined Wendy Dagworthy as her design assistant. She moved to further positions at Quorum, then Coopers, before setting up her own design company.[5]

She introduced Betty Jackson for Men collection, 1986, and opened her flagship shop in the Brompton Road, London, 1991. In 2000, she launched the Autograph collection for Marks & Spencer and now works on the Betty Jackson Black label for Debenhams.[5]

As a member of an advisory panel to the British Fashion Council's Model Health Inquiry, Jackson has been involved in the 'size zero' debate. After the death in 2006 of two models suffering from eating disorders, media attention was drawn to the health and size of the girls. Jackson agreed to join the panel.[6]

In 2008, Jackson worked as design consultant alongside a panel of judges, designing new gowns for High Court and Court of Appeal judges.[7]


She has volunteered for Smart Works, a non-profit organisation which gives free clothes and advice about job interviews to women who are unemployed.[8]


In August 2014, Jackson was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1981, she met her husband David Cohen, and they set up their company, Betty Jackson Ltd. They have worked together ever since. David is from an Egyptian Jewish family that moved to France.[3] They have two children. Her daughter, Pascale, works for a jewellery designer in New York and her son, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, is an actor.[10]



  1. ^ "Creative Skillset Board of Directors – biographies". Skillset. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  2. ^ Walden, Celia. "Betty Jackson 'If you are a public figure you have a responsibility to look good'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "No Triumph, No Tragedy". BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Almond, Kevin. "Jackson, Betty". Fashion Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  6. ^ Womack, Sarah. "Size zero models inquiry begins". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Lord Chief Justice models new gown for judges". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  8. ^ Emma Barnett, Dress for Success: the charity quietly getting British women back into work, The Daily Telegraph, 18 October 2012
  9. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  10. ^ Paton, Maureen (26 June 2008). "In a taxi with...Oliver Jackson-Cohen". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Jackson, Betty". International Who's Who 2004. Europa Publications. p. 799. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Fashion queen honoured at University awards ceremony". University of Huddersfield. Retrieved 9 February 2014.

External linksEdit