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Harold Tillman

A long-time supporter of British fashion, Tillman is the owner of Jaeger and Aquascutum and Chaiman of the British Fashion Council.

Often ahead of his time, Tillman was the first British retailer to hire a celebrity: it was George Best in 1967. He also gave Paul Smith his break.

Since buying the loss-making Jaeger in 2003, Tillman has driven the company back to profit and repositioned it as a British heritage brand. Thanks to strong sales in 2009, Tillman is now eyeing a European expansion.

He is following a similar strategy at Aquascutum, making its return to British ownership a sale argument.

In 2005, Tillman bought Allders of Croydon, the third-largest department store in the UK. He also owes a 60% stake in designer footwear label Beatrix Ong.

Tilllman took over the chairmanship of the British Fashion Council in 2008. At the time, he told Drapers he wanted to “see the BFC working even more closely with our colleges to help young talent get on the ladder” and “to bring fashion together on an international level”.

He oversaw the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week, which saw Burberry and Jonathan Saunders showing in London again. He ensured LFW would keep its five-day slot.

Nurturing of young British designer, he launched a £1 million scholarship fund at his alma mater the London College of Fashion to ensure financial hardship does not stand in the way of fashion success.

A regular feature of newspaper “most rich” lists, Tillman is often praised for his sharp suits.


1962 - Studies at the London College of Fashion

2003 - Buy Jaeger

2005 - Buys Alders Croydon

2006 - Sets up a scholarship at the London College of Fashion

2008 - Buys 60% of Beatrix Ong

2008 - Chairman, British Fashion Council

2009 - Acquires Aquascutum