Leading women from the fashion industry have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2015, with Mary Quant, the iconic designer often credited with inventing the miniskirt in the 1960s, leading the group. The 80-year-old becomes a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to British fashion.
There are CBEs for Jane Shepherdson of Whistles and Caroline Rush of the British Fashion Council. Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, is made an OBE. Among the new MBEs are Jermyn Street shirtmaker Emma Willis, Nikki Gewirtz, founder of jewellery brand Lola Rose, and Shaa Wasmund, the founder of Smarta, a support platform for start-up business owners and entrepreneurs.
Male recipients this year include Dickson Poon, owner of Harvey Nichols and luxury brand ST Dupont, who receives a knighthood for his services to education, especially at the University of Oxford. Ecommerce pioneer Brent Hoberman, a co-founder of Lastminute.com and now an investor in online businesses, is made a CBE for services to entrepreneurship.
Dubbed the high priestess of 1960s fashion, Mary Quant was born in southeast London in 1934 and went on to gain a diploma in art education from Goldsmiths, University of London. She began to make her own clothes and, in 1955, opened Bazaar, a boutique on King’s Road in London. She married Alexander Plunket Greene two years later and the pair worked together in her business.
Quant’s competitively priced shift and pinafore dresses, ribbed knits and patent knee-high boots shook London out of its then conservative attitude towards clothing and her popularity and reputation grew. She was awarded an OBE for her contribution to the fashion industry in 1966 – famously arriving at Buckingham Palace in a miniskirt.
Receiving an OBE for services to entrepreneurship this year is Julie Deane, founder and chief executive of The Cambridge Satchel Company. Deane came up with the idea of making traditional, British-made leather satchels for the schoolchildren of Cambridge in late 2007. She invested just £600 in setting up the company, which now has two stores in London, a transactional website, employs more than 100 people and sells to over 120 countries. Its turnover is about £13m.
She has used this success to invest in the British manufacturing industry, taking on apprentices at the company’s Leicestershire-based factory.
Deane said: “We are dedicated to manufacturing within the UK and to receive such recognition in Britain feels just right for us. This is the perfect end to an amazing year for us and we look forward to continued growth both here and internationally over the coming months.”
Whistles boss Shepherdson (who was made an MBE in 2007 for services to retailing) and BFC chief executive Rush are awarded CBEs for services to the retail industry and British fashion industry respectively. Willis and Wasmund receive their MBEs for services to entrepreneurship, while Gewirtz’s MBE is for services to jewellery design.
In total, 1,164 people received an award this year.
The full list is available here: https://www.gov.uk/honours/honourslists