When Katharine Hamnett met Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street in 1984 wearing one of her infamous slogan T-shirts “58% don’t want pershing” she created one of the most powerful images in the history of British Fashion.
When Naomi Campbell fell about laughing after tripping up in Vivienne Westwood’s nine inch platforms on the catwalk in 1993 she put British fashion on the front pages all over the world.
And then there was the appearance in 2007 of a rather shy Kate Moss in the window of the great British superstore that is Topshop Oxford Circus in front of throngs of crowds to launch the two fashion powerhouses’ collaborative collection.
These are a selection of iconic moments in the recent history of British fashion, which sum up the real force this industry has. Ours is a sector that can make political statements while entertaining and exciting consumers with exceptional product that pushes boundaries. It is also one which generates £40 billion annually.
While 2009 has been challenging there have been plenty of celebrations too, with iconic British businesses like Marks & Spencer, Jaeger, Selfridges, New Look and London Fashion Week celebrating landmark birthdays in the midst of the adversity.
This remains an industry bound together with creativity at its heart thanks to the exceptional design talent graduating from our colleges every year, our unique stable of heritage brands and our high street, which is by far the most advanced in the world. The rise of our value chains too have played a huge role in democratising fashion and our indies, remain the stores to visit to scope out new up and coming brands, while our department stores offer superior shopping experiences.
Over the next XX pages, our Great British Fashion supplement celebrates all that is exceptional about the UK fashion industry. Our special thanks go to our co-sponsors The Ashton Partnership and McArthur Glen for making this celebration possible.