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A hundred reasons to feel inspired

Putting together our flagship Top 100 list is one of the highlights of the Drapers team’s year.

It is a time to reflect on the successes and the challenges the industry and its leading figures have endured over the preceeding 12 months and to pin down exactly what trends, both in business terms and product terms, have shaped the industry over the year. It’s also an excuse for a good old-fashioned debate (please join in by emailing me your own views at

Traditionally, most of the big names move relatively few places, but this year’s list saw some of the most dramatic swings, new entries and exits since Drapers introduced the Top 100 in 2002.

While our assessment criteria remains the same – to recognise those that have had the biggest influence on UK fashion sales over the past 12 months – the characteristics of 2009’s
real winners are very different to that of previous years. Those who have placed the utmost importance on design and differentiation have rocketed up the list, proving that product and innovation are powerful tools in a recession.

This year’s number one is not the biggest business in the UK but it has certainly been the most influential in terms of style, and it has achieved that in exceptionally difficult circumstances. The passion at the heart of head office is what made this business really special and it should be an inspiration to the rest of the sector.

But that’s not to say replicating this company’s designs will bring you instant success. Being successful in fashion is all about being original. There is room for more of that in 2010.

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