WHEN London Fashion Week cranks into gear this weekend Caroline Rush will be at the heart of the action. The Glasgow-born chief executive of the British Fashion Council is set to have a front row seat as the gaze of millions of eyes around the world fall upon the catwalks.

Rush, 46, can often spotted sitting alongside Samantha Cameron, who launched her own label Cefinn last November, and Net-a-Porter founder Dame Natalie Massenet.

Since taking the job in 2009, Rush has been pivotal in encouraging names such as Burberry, Jonathan Saunders, Matthew Williamson, Mulberry, Preen and Pringle of Scotland to return and show their collections at London Fashion Week.

She is widely credited with helping cement London’s mantle as one of the “Big Four” fashion capitals alongside Paris, Milan and New York.

“I didn’t do it on my own,” says Rush. “I have an incredible team here and we have a brilliant industry that is very supportive of what we do. I know that some of our international counterparts look at and admire how much the British fashion industry comes together to common goals.”

While Rush has been at the helm of the British Fashion Council for the past eight years, her involvement began almost two decades earlier when she began working for creative and marketing consultants Annette Worsley-Taylor Associates.

The late Worsley-Taylor was a founder and driving force behind London Fashion Week. In 1975, almost single-handedly, she created the London Designer Collections to provide a platform for young and emerging British fashion.

In 1983, Worsley-Taylor successfully lobbied the Department of Trade and Industry to create a permanent London fashion office. A year later she organised the inaugural London Fashion Week. Worsley-Taylor died in August 2015, aged 71, from lung cancer.

When I speak with Rush, the second anniversary of her mentor’s death is fresh in her mind. She reminisces fondly about working alongside such a seminal figure in British fashion history and recalls how Worsley-Taylor took a rookie Rush under her wing.

During their first meeting, Worsley-Taylor asked Rush about her favourite labels to which she replied: “I quite like Prada and Jean Paul Gaultier ...”

With the words “no, no, no” ringing in her ears, Rush was swiftly dispatched to department stores and businesses around London clutching a list of cutting edge British talent and fashion innovators.

“Her devotion to British designer fashion was absolutely infectious,” says Rush. “Before that I was probably much broader in my church of appreciation for designers.

“Over the three years that I worked very closely with her I came to fully appreciate that British fashion, beyond a doubt, is about creativity and innovation. There really isn’t another country or capital in the world that touches that reputation.”

Worsley-Taylor was known for her high standards and meticulous eye for detail. What are Rush’s own characteristic traits?

“Probably that drive for perfection,” she admits. “Thinking about environment, it doesn’t always have to be beautiful, but it has to be one that is challenging and engaging.”

In 2002, Rush launched public relations company Crush Communications, serving as managing director and overseeing the British Fashion Council press office and British Fashion Awards.

Since being appointed British Fashion Council chief executive in 2009, Rush’s calling card has been making fashion – long viewed as a closed shop for all but an elite few – far more accessible.

Among her successes was overseeing the launch of London Collections: Men (since rebranded as London Fashion Week Men's) in June 2012. Previously menswear was shown on the final day of fashion week, but has now become established as a standalone, bi-annual showcase in its own right.

Rush had a hand in creating the new London Fashion Week Festival last autumn, a four-day event taking place immediately following the traditional London Fashion Week each September and February bringing British designers and brands to a wider consumer audience.

While much of recent months has been spent on strategy and preparation now comes the fun part. “When we get to fashion week itself we do have a slight luxury of taking the time out to enjoy the hard work and fruits of labour of our brilliant designer businesses,” she says.

How many shows will Rush go to? “As many as I can. There is a show every hour on the hour and presentations in between.

“It is a fashion marathon, but particularly in London where there is so much exciting talent, you never want the show you miss to be the one that everyone is talking about and so you try your hardest to get round everything.”

When choosing what to wear, Rush professes to be quite low maintenance. “Fortunately, I don’t need to get changed in the back of a car in between shows,” she says. “Although the influencers and bloggers, many of them do that as part of their role.

“Of course, I’m always wearing British. The ones I wear tend to be those that suit my body shape: Preen, Roksanda, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Roland Mouret, Antonio Berardi, Mother of Pearl and Osman.”

The middle of three children (Rush has an elder sister and younger half sister) she lived in Bishopbriggs as a toddler until her father’s job in retail took the family to Derbyshire and then Lancashire.

“I’m very proud that is where I started my life,” she says. Later we will talk about the Scottish heritage and roots of Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Alexander McQueen, Pam Hogg and Jean Muir to mention but a few.

“All of those names you mention have very strong identities and have very much played a part in shaping what British fashion is known for today,” says Rush.

Her own mother was a domestic science teacher and Rush has many happy childhood memories of them sitting together in front of a sewing machine and running off outfits at the dining room table.

“I love art and textiles,” says Rush. “It was my mum who got me interested in fashion. Once I started poring over magazines, looking at the collections and hearing stories about the designers, I knew I wanted to be part of that industry.”

Her early fashion icons were an eclectic bunch. “In terms of glamour it was Audrey Hepburn and watching all of her films,” she says. “In my teenage years it went slightly awry when it was probably more Bananarama or Pepsi and Shirlie – a very different look than Audrey Hepburn.

“But part of the fun of the fashion industry is that you can create different images, moods and feelings from wardrobes.”

Any fashion faux pas? “Oh, loads,” she says, laughing, “You don’t think they are at the time. But 10 years later when you look at the pictures are like: ‘Oh my God, what was I thinking?’

“Everything from bad hairstyles to thinking I was on trend, then looking back and realising I probably missed the mark. A lot of it teenage-led. But if you can’t experiment then, when can you?”

Her 17-year-old nephew Finley, she says, is interested in the fashion industry and would quite like to start his own label. Rush’s daughter Lana, 20, who had a successful junior tennis career and even competed at Wimbledon, may also follow suit.

“She is more interested in the communication side of the fashion industry,” says Rush. “There is an interest, but we will wait and see. It would be nice to have some of the family work in the industry.”

London-based Rush, who is married to Matt, 46, a PE teacher, is sanguine when asked about her passions away from work. “The job is all-consuming so I do enjoy family time and quiet weekends,” she says. “I love an art gallery, but like to go early in the morning when it is a little bit quieter.”

She has been at the forefront of adopting new technology within the industry. Since introducing the first livestream on the British Fashion Council website in 2009, Rush has spearheaded London Fashion Week’s burgeoning digital innovation.

By 2012, London Fashion Week had partnered with YouTube and Rightster to livestream across 21 individual showcases, while for Spring/Summer 2014 it began working with bloggers to stream fashion news onto digital screens around the city’s underground stations.

“The fashion industry is one that is known for change,” says Rush. “At the designer and luxury end of the sector, it wasn’t necessarily embracing technology as quickly. I saw an opportunity for London to very much stand out in the way it was engaging and experimenting with technology.”

The British Fashion Council plans to utilise the likes of popular South Korean search portal Naver – the equivalent to Google there – alongside social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo in China, which Rush says garner “eye-watering audiences”, as it attempts to grow its global reach.

“When we look at our digital and innovations strategies we don’t just look at the traditional players that operate in the western world,” she says.

“It is very important that when you are looking to promote a sector to an international audience that you are not just looking at channels that are known domestically, but at the channels which are most relevant in the markets that you are talking to.”

Her brain is a constant whirr. One preoccupying thought is the Brexit storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Throughout the fashion industry fears have been voiced about the effect of Britain leaving the EU.

Key concerns include the devaluation of the pound, potential hikes in clothing prices, a fall in consumer confidence, the end of free movement, and the knock-on repercussions that this will have for international, cross-border collaborations.

“I think the majority of the creative industries absolutely did not want or support the vote to leave the EU,” says Rush. “The biggest concern is the technicalities regarding tariffs and just being able to move goods and people around.

“Thinking about the reputation of our country, we are really proud to be an inclusive, diverse and creative industry. The idea that [Brexit] might in any way diminish the reputation and the talent we are attracting to be in our industry is one of the major concerns.

“Looking at what the effects of Brexit are likely to be is going to be a big focus within our organisation over the next few years.”

London Fashion Week runs until Tuesday. The London Fashion Week Festival takes place from September 21-24. Visit londonfashionweek.co.uk and britishfashioncouncil.co.uk