Hot fifty – Dame Anita Roddick

The untimely death at 64 last September of Dame Anita Roddick brought great sadness to all who had known her. A battler all her life – for environmental, health and humanitarian concerns – she wasn’t always an easy person. But the deep respect she commanded across the board was, and remains, phenomenal.

Roddick was also an unwitting champion of design. It was part of what she did to get her message across, using The Body Shop – the ethical toiletries chain she founded in 1976 – as her vehicle. Based in Littlehampton on the South Coast, The Body Shop saw its first shop open in Brighton, from where it grew to be an international chain.

Working with creative directors including Jon Turner, now at Boots, Paul Porral, now at Design House, and Identica’s new creative head Franco Bonadio, she campaigned for natural ingredients and ethical sourcing, and against domestic violence and animal-testing. She believed in ‘trade not aid’ for developing countries and she was a pioneer in the move to make women, in particular, happy with their bodies and was never afraid to shock people into awareness through posters and the like.

Despite now being owned by L’Oréal, The Body Shop continues its campaigns, not least the joint promotion with MTV of the Rougeberry fragrance to help the HIV-awareness charity the Staying Alive Foundation. It’s a great legacy to leave.

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