John Wardle and David Makin, founders of sportswear chain JD Sports, made a rare public appearance this week to pick up the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Drapers Awards 2008 last night.
Wardle and Makin were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the industry, which included bringing sport-inspired clothing to the masses and creating a group of retail chains which now dominate the branded fashion market.
The industry paid tribute to the duo this week. Andy Rubin, chief executive of Pentland Brands, a key supplier to Wardle and Makin and a spin-off of Pentland Group, now the majority shareholder in JD Sports Fashion, said: “John and David were pioneers in the retailing of sports fashion, not only in the UK but also the world. Their insight into the UK youth market enabled them to build a chain of retail stores that has stood the test of time.”
Retail entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, who made his fortune in the sports business in the 1990s, added: “I have never met them, but have huge admiration for what they’ve achieved. They really were pioneers in own-label branding and played a huge role in founding the sports fashion industry.”
Other big winners on the night included designer mini-chain Matches, which scooped the Independent Retailer of the Year Award; Topman, which won the Larger Multiple category; Paul Smith, which scooped Menswear Brand of the Year; Diane von Furstenberg, which won Womenswear Brand of the Year; and Superdry, which was named Young Fashion Brand of the Year.