THE Scottish university behind a multi-million pound campus in New York with no degree students has given over £200,000 to a “fashion” guru as part of the project.

Glasgow Caledonian paid Frank Zambrelli, who used to work with Chanel, for his advice on a new centre to promote sustainability in the fashion industry.

Led by principal Pamela Gillies, the higher education institution has earmarked a $15million loan to oversee the completion of a Manhattan campus.

As of July last year, a special purpose financial vehicle, GCU-NY, had drawn down about $8.7m of the funds allocated.

However, the New York offshoot has failed to get a license to teach and award degrees.

The university applied to the US authorities in January 2013 and was formally opened twelve months later, but the application is still being considered.

As previously revealed by the Sunday Herald, Glasgow Caledonian has spent over £1million in “occupancy” costs for its New York headquarters and around the same amount in salaries.

The university refused to provide a breakdown of the near £297,000 spent on consultants, but following an appeal to the Scottish Information Commission the figures have been released.

Nearly 70% of the consultancy cash between 2013 and 2016 was given to Zambrelli, who has been described as an "accessories designer and branding guru".

According to an online biography, he joined Chanel after graduation before starting his own firm, Banfi Zambrelli.

The company website states its purpose: “A comprehensive design and branding practice, their work traverses the world of accessories, focusing on footwear and handbags, while extending broadly for certain houses, including fine jewellery, fragrance and furniture.”

Zambrelli has advised the university on setting up the ‘Fair Fashion Center’ (FFC) project at the New York campus.

Glasgow Caledonian’s website explains: “The Fair Fashion Center will be structured to aggregate existing industry best practices, source new opportunities for engagement, and research emergent tactics and technologies in supply chain sustainability, social responsibility, ecology and environmental impact reduction.”

However, the outlay has been questioned at a time of cost pressures across the higher education sector.

Dr Nick McKerrell, who is the convenor of Glasgow Caledonian Combined Union Committee, said the FFC was a “smokescreen” to “hide the lack of students and educational courses”.

He added: “The revelation that our University has paid $200,000 to one individual consultant will deepen the fears and worries that staff at GCU have over this whole project. Remember this is meant to be a time of austerity and staff have been involved in industrial action over pay.

"The whole economic model - which has always been rejected as too high risk by the unions - is based on gaining a licence from the New York Educational authorities as soon as possible. This is now almost 2 years behind schedule."

A University spokesman said: “The GCU New York Fair Fashion Center drives the University’s research, consultancy, business engagement and policy development in New York. Established in May 2015, it has opened up significant funding streams for the University and is working with global brand leaders and organisations such as the United Nations.”