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Featured in Drapers: 25 years ago this week

In the final installment of our four-part series this week looking into what Drapers was reporting on 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago, today we take you back to our November 3 issue in 1990.

By the time the 1990’s rolled around, Drapers had gone through yet another facelift, this time changing its name from Drapers Record to simply being known as ‘DR’.

Now edited by Sally Bain and based at Greater London House, the magazine started to look more modern, with the multiple ads and illustrations of yesteryear now replaced by advertising fashion shots. The cover featured an ad from womenswear brand Lebek, and noticeably, had no cover lines.

Drapers 1990 cover

The 1970s saw the beginning of the decline in UK manufacturing, but this was much more pronounced in the years to come, particularly from the late 1980s’ onwards. So it’s little surprise to find this is the topic of the editor’s letter, where she urged British manufacturers to focus on quality, noting that: “The UK fashion industry can compete very well in the international forum if it refocuses the myopic view that price is the most important factor”. It goes on to note that manufacturers, brands and retailers should also place greater emphasis on marketing: “It is said that £1,000 of the price of every BMW car is spent on marketing. If BMW dropped the price and stopped advertising, would it sell more cars? Very probably not. They are bought for quality, reliability and style. The moral is obvious.”

Familiar names now dominate the news pages, from BHS, to Littlewoods. The story on BHS reported that having trialled a new in-store merchandising concept in its Northampton store in August where product was grouped by end-use, such as a weekend outfit, this will now be the norm for all store openings. Back then the chain was also looking at refreshing its lines (below).

Drapers 1990 bhs

This issue also included a section on property news. The main story here was ‘Lakeside drama opening’, heralding the launch of the favourite Essex shopping centre. For those who weren’t around to witness the grand event, it seems it was quite the spectacular. Drapers reported: ”The lights dimmed and a hush fell over the place. VIPs and shoppers alike waited for Princess Alexandra to push the ‘button’ to open Thurrock Lakeside Shopping Centre last Thursday. As she did so, laser lights flashed and danced their way around the mall. Then, as the theme music reached its crescendo, a smoke filled silver pyramid unfurled to release a crystal globe which lifted into the air with great splendor.”

Drapers 1990 lakeside

The fashion pages were full of the late 1980s and early 90s glamour. This issue highlighted the ‘Paris Shows’ and began: “Recession, low sales, problems? The French designers appear never to have heard of any of them and are, thankfully, continuing their excessive and creative ways as usual.” 

Drapers 1990 paris

Drapers 1990 paris 2

Drapers 1990 paris 2

This is followed by a spread on partywear, entitled ‘The Festive Touch’, with little black dresses and boleros for the Christmas season, from brands including Ariella and Ritch Bitch.

Drapers 1990 partywear




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