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Betty Jackson (born 24 June 1949) is a British fashion designer based in London, England. She was born and grew up in Bacup, Lancashire. In 2007, her achievement within British fashion was honoured with a CBE. She is also known for designing the outrageous costumes of Eddy and Patsy on the 1990s hit television comedy Absolutely Fabulous.[1]



Betty Jackson was born in Bacup, Lancashire on 24 June 1949. Her father owned a shoe factory and her mother who shopped 'for the season' at Kendal Milne in Manchester. 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 learnt her trade in the later 1970s as a designer for the Quorum line of Ossie Clark. [2]

In 1981, she met her French-born husband, David Cohen, and they set up their company, Betty Jackson Ltd. They have worked together ever since.


For much of her career, it was believed that Betty Jackson had lost a leg in a car accident in 1971, during her last year of college. However on 27 August 2009, in the BBC Radio 4 programme No Triumph, No Tragedy[3], it was revealed that her leg was amputated at the age of six as it failed to grow following a dislocation during her birth. The car accident caused further complications and she has walked with a stick ever since.

She has two children. Her daughter, Pascale, works for a jewellery designer in New York and her son, Oliver, is an actor who starred in Lark Rise to Candleford.


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.

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 does Betty Jackson Black for Debenhams.

More recently, as a member of an advisory panel to the British Fashion Council's Model Health Inquiry, Jackson has been involved in the so-called '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.

In 2008, Jackson was asked by the Lord Chief Justice, Nicholas Phillips, for help with modernising the gowns of the civil judiciary. [4]


Woman Magazine Separates Designer of the Year award, London, 1981, 1983; Cotton Institute Cotton Designer of the Year award, 1983; Bath Museum of Costume Dress of the Year award, 1984; British Designer of the Year award, 1985; Harvey Nichols award, 1985; International Linen Council Fil d'Or award, 1985, 1989; Viyella award, 1987; Member of the British Empire, 1987; Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Art, London, 1989; Fellow, Birmingham Polytechnic, 1989; Honorary Fellow, University of Central Lancashire, 1992; Designer of the Year, 1999. [5]


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