Opened in 1948 by English entrepreneur Bernard Lewis and his brothers, River Island is a high street London fashion brand. Originally called Lewis Separates, the family was able to open over 70 stores in the UK by 1965. The name was then changed to Chelsea Girl and offered bold fashion and eccentric colors, making it said to be the first fashion boutique chain in England. In the 1970s, two brothers left the family business, allowing for Bernard and David Lewis to expand the company: Bernard running retail and David covering businesses like hotels. Menswear was launched in 1982 for the company titled Concept Man. In 1988, both Chelsea Girl and Concept Man came together to form River Island. The first store outside of the UK opened in 1993 in Ireland. From there, shops for River Island opened in other countries in the Middle East as well as Singapore, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia and Poland. The River Island website also ships to over 100 countries globally. The headquarters is in West London. From 2005-2010, the brand sponsored Graduate Fashion Week. They now sponsor London Fashion Week’s FASH/ON FILM Festival. Music star Rihanna also styles her own line called Rihanna for River Island. River Island is still family owned and Bernard to this day travels to many River Island shops, even at the age of eighty-four.
Credit: River Island
Being of Ghanian descent, this English fashion designer is now known for his clothing collections worldwide. His clothing inspirations came from his interest in his father’s suits and at age fourteen, Boateng found his first job as a suit lining sewer. He studied fashion and design at Southgate College after being introduced to cutting and designing. Covent Garden purchased his first collection. In 1991 he opened his first studio in Portobello Road. His first catwalk presentation happened during Paris Fashion Week in 1994. The following year allowed him to open his first boutique in Savile Row. He was honored at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005. He co-worked with David Adjaye in 2008 to launch the headquarters store at No. 30 Savile Row. He produced a women’s fragrance in 2003. He now produces two collections a year. He was Givenchy’s Creative Director of Menswear at French Fashion until 2007. Boateng also worked with Coutts and Virgin Atlantic. He has designed for films and television shows including Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, Miami Vice, Oceans 13, The Matrix, and Rush Hour 3. His own documentary was released in 2012 called A Man’s Story. He works with the UK non-profit organization “Made in Africa Foundation.” Celebrities such as Seal and Mick Jagger have wore Boateng’s designs.
Credit: Ozwald Boateng’s website is coming soon here
Founded in 1984 by Tanya Sarne and Katherine Hamnett, this womenswear London fashion label is well-known for vintage designs. Hamnett is famous for her political activism in fashion. She was awarded the first British Fashion Award in 1984 and was voted Britain’s favorite designer in 1996 by Cosmopolitan magazine. In 2011 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Acclaimed designers have worked with the Ghost brand such as Nicholas Knightly, who also designed for Louis Vuitton and Suzanne Deeken, who designed for Marc Jacobs. Ghost is known for the use of rayon fabrics. The clothes are easy to maintain, easy to wear, attractive, and vintage. In 2006, the brand became recognized internationally. The brand is to be reinvented and relaunched, announced in 2012, by Lainey Sheridan-Young.
ASOS is one of the UK’s biggest online-only fashion shops. They sell over 850 brands including their own clothing and accessories. ASOS sales totaled over seven million dollars in August 2013. Sales include menswear, womenswear, accessories, footwear, and jewelry. They sell to over 237 countries including UK, Australia, the United States, Italy, China, Germany, Spain, and France. ASOS receives over 21 million visitors and over seven million active customers. The headquarters is in Camden Town. Their main center has over three thousand workers. The founders are Nick Robertson and Quentin Grittiths and was established in 2000. ASOS stands for “As Seen on Screen.” In 2011 it became an iPhone and iPad app. The first international office opened in Sydney, Australia in 2012. ASOS links runway model videos along with a fashion blog. The site allows viewers to build and share outfits and also Fashion Finder and Fashion Up apps. They also launched a children’s collection in 2009 called Little ASOS. They publish a monthly magazine in 2007.