Mark O'Brien

Subject Leader, Branding and Marketing Course Leader, MA Fashion Design Management

London College of Fashion


Mark O’Brien is the Course Leader of MA Fashion Design Management, and also has an academic co-ordination role on the EMBA. His background academically was initially in Economics and Politics and then commercially in advertising and marketing before setting up and running a multi-disciplinary Design agency in London for 10 years from the mid 1980’s.

He completed an MA (part-time) and started teaching as a visiting lecturer at CSM in the mid 90’s. He then moved into full-time teaching and research at the University of Salford, and The University of Huddersfield, which included writing, running and managing several courses. Mark became Divisional Director of Postgraduate, at Salford and Postgraduate Academic Leader at Huddersfield.

He worked as Project Manager (2003-2006) on a large EU funded project involving research and curriculum development between Europe and Asia, particularly China and has maintained research interests and contacts in China for many years. He has been on the organisational and scientific committees of several prestigious conferences and regularly reviews conference and journal papers. He is a member of the Design Management Institute and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research interests

Design management and strategy, brand strategy, brand and design consultancy, experiential design and interpretation, cultural communication, design management pedagogy.

Research statement

My research lies in the area of design management, in particular, aspects of design, brand strategy and communication through design; visual and experiential literacy; emotional responses to brand communication and the nature and differences in cultural responses to brand symbols, colours, shapes and environments.

The cross-cultural communication of brands, how brands designed in one culture may be interpreted in others, with particular reference to China. A more recent interest lies within the nature of luxury fashion branding in China and the (non) emergence of indigenous luxury fashion brands.