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The Best of British Fashion Designers

Posted on April 29 2021

British Fashion Designers

Britain has been a cultural hotspot throughout history - from the Beatles to Shakespeare, the British creative scene can be appreciated across the globe.

The same goes for fashion - British designs have been used by royalty, class-A celebrities, and influencers alike.

Many high-end fashion brands started their ventures on this small island, and are now appreciated all around the world.

Keep reading to learn more about the best of the British fashion designers, from Burberry to Alexander McQueen.


Thomas Burberry

Burberry is one of Britain’s oldest labels, and like many famous fashion brands, didn’t start out in fashion.

In 1870, Burberry created a type of durable, waterproof material called gabardine, and this was used in Army uniforms due to the resistant and hard-wearing material.

The trench coat was also used by the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen, which helped increase publicity for the brand.

Burberry trench coats have been popular since their creation, and we still see and recognise the signature Burberry trench coats.

Burberry also designed the famous check pattern often seen in scarves, which unfortunately has since been axed by the brand due to its connotations with football hooliganism.

When Roberto Menichetti was hired as creative director in 1998, he launched the ready-to-wear catwalk collection Prorsum, which means forwards and onwards in Latin.

Other collections include London, which features smart workwear, and Brit, which features casual weekend wear.

The high-end London brand now designs more than just clothing - you can buy footwear, accessories, eyewear, and even cosmetics and fragrances. The brand has truly come a long way since the 1870 waterproof.


Vivienne Westwood

One of the most influential designers of the last century is Dame Vivienne Isabel Westwood, known simply as Vivienne Westwood.

Westwood started out as a schoolteacher, and her life changed when she met Malcolm McLaren, future manager of the famous punk band The Sex Pistols.

They started out by starting a stall called Let It Rock, selling secondhand 50’s clothing along with McLaren’s own rock’n’roll record collection.

They then went on to customise T-shirts with anti-establishment slogans and punky graphics.

In the early 1970s, the pair had their own boutique called Sex.

Westwood continued to immortalise the punk movement into fashion, and her provocative and ‘out there’ designs flew out of her London store.

Young people loved these clothes - the erotically charged fashion image that Westwood created was seen everywhere, enraging the right-wing media.

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren split after they staged their first commercial collection, Pirates, in 1981.

However, they continued their professional relationship until 1986, when Westwood decided she wanted to become an independent designer. Westwood’s career has spun five decades (so far!) and created a whole fashion genre.

Her one small shop in London expanded throughout the whole of England and then the world, and now Westwood promotes many political causes through her merchandise and her huge platform.


Stella McCartney

Although Stella McCartney is the daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney, she has created a new brand and identity for herself.

Stella has managed to step out of her father’s shadow by becoming a famous fashion artist on her own.

In 2001, Stella McCartney established her brand after a short time as Artistic Director at the French brand Chloé. During her time working at Chloé, she developed her funky, glamorous, and girly style.

McCartney’s pieces are known for their intricate details, their sharp tailoring, and the brilliant balance between modern and classic

McCartney’s brand is also famously cruelty-free, so you won’t find fur, leather, or feathers in any of her collections.

This is something the designer has always insisted on as a committed vegetarian, similar to her mother Linda McCartney.

In 2004, Stella McCartney launched a line with sportswear brand Adidas, called simply Adidas by Stella McCarney. This expanded quickly, and now includes a variety of sportswear including tennis, yoga, golf, and winter sports.

Due to this relationship with Adidas, McCartney was appointed creative director of the brand’s 2012 Olympic Team GB range and created the label’s kit for the national Olympic and Paralympic teams.


Ted Baker

Many think the founder of the brand is called Ted Baker, but this is actually a self-proclaimed alter ego of designer Ray Kelvin. The brand is known for its high-quality designs and distinctive patterns.

Kelvin is a reclusive character, and in most photos of him, he’s holding a prop to cover his face.

It’s one of the most popular and fasting-growing leading fashion brands.In Glasgow in 1987, the idea of Ted Baker came to Kelvin while fishing.

In 1988, Ted Baker opened its first menswear company, and by 1990, Ted Baker has its own London Store, and in the next decade, there were stores across the UK and in New York.

In 2021, Ted Baker is a multinational lifestyle brand, providing a wide range of high-end collections including menswear, womenswear, cosmetics, fragrance, boots, watches, and eyewear, and everything in-between.


Alexander McQueen

It can be difficult for a designer to create daring designs and receive a positive reception, but Alexander McQueen managed this with style.

You may have heard of the brand through one of the many celebrities that have modelled Alexander McQueen designs.

The likes of Beyonce, Cheryl Cole, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Rihanna have all worn Alexander McQueen pieces.

Kate Middleton even wore one of their designs when marrying Prince William, only boosting the brands quality and stylish image.

Aside from stylish gowns and elegant wedding dresses, Alexander McQueen also sells menswear and accessories.

His suits are made with expert quality right down to the smallest details, and they’re certainly appreciated as he won the Men’s Wear Designer of the Year award back in 2004.

Although we lost Alexander McQueen in 2010, his legacy lives on through his bold, daring, and exciting pieces.

The brand is kept alive through Sarah Burton, the new creative director.