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Republic founder Robin Bray dies

Robin Bray, one of the founding directors of Leeds-based jeanery Best Trading Co, which later evolved into branded chain Republic, has died.

Bray passed away on Monday aged 57 from a long term illness.

Bray founded the business with Carl Brewins and Howard Brealey in 1986.

Initially Bray continued working as an agent while Brewin ran the business. As the store took off Bray joined the business full time and was heavily involved in the buying operation with Brewins.

Bray was also integral to the creation of the Republic concept which the trio trialled in Meadowhall in Sheffield, before pushing the button on a roll out.

Bray left Republic in 2002 following a management buyout. The business had sales of around £60 million at that time.

Brewins said: “My endearing memory of Robin was that he could talk to everyone from the guys in the warehouse who adored him, to the guys running Diesel at the time or the bank manager. He was a great guy with a real zest for life.”

Bray’s funeral will take place on July 7 at 11am at St Mary’s Church, Boston Spa, near Leeds.

Drapers will publish a full obituary for Robin Bray in next weeks’ magazine. Please share your memories or post your tribute to Robin in the comment box below.


Readers' comments (9)


    Robin was one of those people sadly missed in the trade today - a real character. With sincere condolences to both his family and friends. Martin Ailion

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  • I worked with and alongside Robin for a number of years and we became good friends. I have many great memories of our trips and our nights out and I will miss him dearly. Robin was as 'old school' as you can imagine and was a firm believer in relationships build bridges. Everybody who ever came in contact with him will be saddened by the loss of this charismatic and funny 'bloke from Yorkshire'.

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  • Now look what you've gone and done, no more spitting chewy on Chipie's head office floor ! You'll be missed, hope the families holding up.

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  • a TRUE GENTLEMAN. Sorry he will be a great lose to us all but will always be remembered by all who met him and those who didn't you missed a special guy!
    Condolences to all his family and all at Republic epecially Carl!
    Douglas Hood

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  • Very sad to hear about Robin. I will aways remember the times shared on exhibition and 'research' duty in Cologne and Dusseldorf back in the 'Early Days' with Carl and Maurice Phillips. Lots of good honest Yorkshire humour. My condolences to all his family and friends.

    Andrew Dyer

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  • I have many, many, great memories of Robin - too many to mention.
    Robin was loved by us all, and will be very sadly missed.


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  • hiya kid! robin was a social legend as well. well remembered by everyone in wetherby. my earliest memory was robin trying to collect on our 'casual man' accounts at near closing time in the bay horse, £5 here, a drink there. how times changed. been a long time but, seeya kid!
    tim pilch

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  • I am an old friend of Robin Bray's. A few of us who were mates in Huddersfield were planning a reunion so, naturally, Robin was on the list. We Googled him and found the Obituary. Many tears will be shed and pints downed. If anyone picking up on this can put me in touch with one of his family I would be very greatful. My email address is

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  • I have just read this article about Robin (Feb 2013). I worked on a saturday at his shop on scunthorpe market for several years. There is only one word I can refer to him as "a STAR". When i first started working for him I was a shy 15 yr old and boy did he bring me out of my shell. Every Saturday was an amazing experience. We would be crying with laughter albeit at my expense. It was never a good idea to try on jeans when Robin was there cos many a times I would be plucked from the changing room in mid dress and dumped outside the shop for everyone to see. THAT WAS ROBIN!!!. And if your girlfriend came to see you well you were in trouble.
    If anyone has an email address where I can contact Christian Bray i would very much appreciate it!)

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