When you think of British designers and influencers who do you think of? We love Vivienne Westwood, Amanda Wakely and the lovely Karen Millen.
Did you realise that Ted Baker is a British Company, along with Topshop and Jo Malone, now Jo Loves? The list continues with Victoria Beckham, and The Bodyshop, Jack Wills and the owners of Superdry are also British from leafy Cheltenham.
Miss Selfridge is a British clothing company. And what about Rimmel London? Also British. In men’s fashion the gorgeous Paul Smith and Ozwald Boateng feature as some of the leading lights in Saville Row.
Heritage brands such as Hacketts, Barbour and Osprey, not forgetting Oliver Spencer, Floris, Dunhill. And where else would you buy your diamonds but Boodles?It’s only when you start looking into the best of British that you can appreciate the talent that surrounds this tiny island.
To make it easy, let’s look at this alphabetically so we won’t miss anyone out.
Aquascutum Men’s Hoyle Shirt, Blue (£120.00)
AllSaints Fashion Women White Viscose Top (£175.00)
A is for Aquascutum, and it’s not possible to get a more British style: a gorgeous men’s checked shirt is classic styling. How about All Saints, this British company, founded in London in 1994, is great for contemporary style.
Alexa Chung It, Hardcover (£8.18)
How about a British fashion bible written by style icon Alexa Chung? Alexa designs clothes and tells people how to wear them.
Burberry Weekend for Men 100ml Bottle (£30.05)
Barbour Ladies by ALEXACHUNG Mildred Long Waxed Coat Navy Blue/Tattersall Check (£245.00)
Burberry Sonnenbrille (£134.00)
B for Barbour or Burberry both are a quintessentially British brand and bring to mind the great outdoors. Imagine hunting and fishing in a Barbour Jacket while wearing a Burberry fragrance. All you need now is ….
Luxury Fashion, Cutler and Cross Women, Black Metal Sunglasses (£420.00)
Cutler and Gross 1298 Light Brown/Green (£300.00)
C – Cutler and Gross sunglasses, and Coast Clothing is classical dressing at its finest. Cutler and Gross was founded in 1969, combining the best Italian craftsmanship with a fresh statement style.
Cutler and Gross were established in fashion’s pivotal days. The brand’s signature creativity is applied to sunglasses and optical frames with their trademark numbered designs. No large logos means timeless styling.
Dunhill Edition for Men Eau De Toilette Spray, 100ml Bottle (£45.00)
D – Dunhill clothing and fragrance, country classics for the grown-up man. Pair him with a Land Rover and you have Madonna’s ex-husband – Guy Richie
Tea at Fortnum & Mason, Hardcover (£8.05)
E – Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth the second to you and me, and patron of Fortnum and Mason to name just a few
F – Fortnum and Mason department store with their own brand product. The store was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason; now privately owned but thoroughly endorsed by Her Majesty.
Floris, another royalty endorsed brand making and selling beautiful fragrances worldwide.
One Saville Row: The Invention of the English Gentleman, Gieves & Hawkes, Hardcover (£39.79)
G – Glorious Goodwood needs a Gieves & Hawkes bespoke tailoring from Saville row to go with your Paul Smith suit or, if you’re feeling flush, a stunning classic from Ozwald Boateng.
Gul Women’s Response Back Zip Wetsuit (£168.93)
The best water-sport clothing, particularly wetsuits, are made by GUL. This British institution has since 1967 supported Team GB through every significant sporting event.
Hackett London Men’s Sunglasses, Tortoiseshell (£43.50)
Hamleys Royal Baby Knitted Teddy Bear (£13.50)
H – Hackett London and Hamleys. British style and the most famous toy store in the world. Hamleys gave the royal prince and princess this lovely knitted bear and it’s so cute.
Island Records Women’s Distressed Logo T-Shirt (£22.99)
I – Island Records, a British and Jamaican record label now owned by Universal Music Group, was founded in 1959 by Graeme Goodall,Chris Blackwell and Leslie Kong in Jamaica but remains a British-Jamaican owned company. Cool Merchandise is available to buy.
Jack Wills Ladies Body Spray Trio x3 120ml Citrus/Floral/Fruity (£26.00)
Joules Women’s Chepstow Chelsea Boots (£24.81-£102.19)
Jaeger Women’s Texture Stripe Hooded Dress, Black (£43.20)
Jacques Vert Women’s Chiffon Cape Detail Dress (£149.37)
J – Jack Wills, of course, but also the classic styling of Jacques Vert and the gorgeous women’s clothing brand Jaeger. For a more modern take on outdoor wear we have Joules.
K – Karen Millen, the gorgeous British brand that started in 1981 with a loan of £100, Karen Millen bought 1,000 metres of white cotton and began creating white shirts to sell to her friends.
Cath Kidson – Cath founded her first store in 1993, selling floral ironing board covers, and now has stores nationwide selling iconic British countryside designed tea towels and caddies and lunch boxes to name just a few things.
Kiko Milano – Green Me Hydrating BB cream (£16.75)
Kiko Makeup, founded in Milna but the first store in England was in Brighton. Kiko is a great budget makeup brand, and so underrated.
L – Look Fantastic the go-to store for all things beauty is an obvious choice, but no-one is more British and fabulously bonkers than Lulu Guinness. The designer of beautifully made handbags and accessories – think Helen Bonham-Carter in ‘The Crown’ as Princess Margaret.
Marks and Spencer’s 5 pack Ladies Cotton Rich MIDI Briefs (£6.99)
M – Marks and Spencer, of course! The most famous British store of them all. Founded on a market stall in Leeds in 1880 and now selling knickers around the world.
Next Men’s Denim Jean Shorts with Rolled Hem (£11.95)
N – New look and Next, two famous high street brands. Next was the baby of Terence Conran and George Davis in 1984. For those who don’t know, Terence Conran is a renowned interior designer and retail guru who famously introduced Habitat to the drab interiors of 1960’s Britain.
Sadly Habitat does not exist in its original form any more now, and is owned by Sainsbury’s. But I am glad to say Made In Design has taken up the mantle and is running with it. Check out this UK store for every household fixture and fitting you could ever need.
Sticking with N, Not On The High Street is an amazing success story. The best place for unique gifts was set up on the kitchen table of Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker with a tiny budget transforming the concept into a multi-million-pound business. NOTHS (not on the high street) offers a storefront to lots of designers and skilled makers who want to bring their unique product to market and cannot afford a shop front.
NOTHS does what it says – provides gift ideas that you can’t buy in the high street: personalised ideas and unique gifts. Perfect!
Orlebar Brown Alex Maclean Bulldog Swim Shorts in Blue Flamingos Print (£89.99)
O – Orlebar Brown makes the perfect men’s swimming shorts. This is the brand which made the swimwear and holiday clothes for James Bond in the movies featuring Daniel Craig. Founded in 2006 with 1960’s styling in mind, having focused on tailored shorts, the style evolved into a full collection influenced by the ultimate poolside utopia.
Phase Eight Jayesha Navy & Purple Paisley Print Jumpsuit (£39.99)
P – Phase Eight is a woman’s clothing company founded in 1979 by Patsy Seddon. At that time Patsy was a young mother with young children who found it difficult to find fashionable clothes that were in her price range but stylish and sophisticated – so she designed her own. And this London-based brand was born.
Fred Perry Men’s Quilted Jacket (£147.36)
Fred Perry should appear under F, but this famous sportswear company, founded by the British tennis player of the same name, is listed under P on Wikipedia. Quality sportswear and a fashion brand beloved by all the Mods in the world. Founded in 1957 after Fred’s tennis career ended. Fred was the son of a cotton miller and manufacturer, so going into menswear made sense and the rest, as they say, is history.
Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment Balm (£6.49)
Q – Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment Balm – okay it’s not strictly Q! However, with this beautiful balm in your armoury, you will be Queen Bee. Burt is a British man and Burt’s Bees is a British company. So it’s a quintessentially British brand.
Reiss Cathleen Multi Floral Pocket Belted Midi Shirt Dress (£49.99)
River Island Multi Metallic Clip Top Purse (£24.99)
R – Reiss and River Island, not forgetting Rat & Boa all have a cult-like status. The favourite of many celebrities, these British brands are the epitome of the best of British.
S – S is for Superdry, and Shrimps which is a fashion label founded by London-based designer Hannah Weiland in 2013. Launched with just one faux fur coat, Shrimps is now a cool clothing brand offering a variety of pieces as well as the faux fur coats that made Shrimps a household name – recently collaborating with Asos.
Thomas Pink Cotton Stretch 3pack Trunk Blue/Red/Black (£37.00)
T – Ted baker and Thomas Pink – Ted Baker is a leading lifestyle brand started by Ted in 1987 in Glasgow. Thomas Pink makes beautiful shirts for both men and women. Raising your shirt game is easy with Thomas Pink.
Topshop, no T would be complete without Topshop. Topshop started as an own-brand of the department store Peter Robinson in London in the 1960s, and sold fashion by young British designers, such as Mary Quant, Biba and Stirling Cooper. Fashion doesn’t get more on-trend faster than at Topshop.
ASOS Fulton Superslim Umbrella in Pink Floral Print (£14.00)
Try as we might, U can only be Umbrella or Ugly as in the Ugly Sandal current hot on the fashion scene this summer. Fulton makes great British umbrellas, and they are for sale at the British retail store Asos.
Victoria Beckham: Style Power, Hardcover (£12.05)
V – Victoria Beckham, a founding member of the Spice Girls turned fashion and makeup guru. Victoria is very talented, and her book tells you candidly how she got there when most of her critics said she would fail. We love a success story.
Hunter Original Short, Women Rain Boots (£69.29-£177.62)
Rolling Stones Plastered Tongue T-Shirt (£19.99)
W – Wellies and Waves. Wellington boots sold by Hunter, a progressive British heritage brand holding two Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Hunters are ready for the festival season next year.
GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand (£129.00)
Waves, while the sea is free, both salt spray for your hair and GHD Waves curling tongs sell for that surfer look at Look Fantastic.
Amanda Wakely Gold Bracelet Watch (£69.99)
Amanda Wakely, designer and all round talented individual – best known for her evening and cocktail dresses and a line of accessories and jewellery.
X – Xray Spex, that brilliantly mad 70’s punk rock band from London. Every cool kid needs a band t-shirt, and both Asos and Amazon have loads based on the original merchandise.
The lead singer ‘Poly Styrene’ – I kid you not – still tours. Check out London Theatre Direct for the latest rock opera listing when the theatre opens again.
Yumi Multi Lurex Stripe Cross Over Knit Dress (£49.94-£55.79)
Y – Yoko London makers of gorgeous costume jewellery or Yumi fashion brand whose founders Uttam and Clare Yumi started with a fashion stall in Campden Market in 1995. Yumi is a combination of hippie styling and fun fashion knits.
Zoggs Original Predator Flex Swimming Goggles (£29.32)
Z – We are nearing the end of the list, and Zoggs is our go-to swimming goggle brand. Zoggs make anything you need to get in the water: goggles, wetsuits and swimsuits. Zoggs is an Australian brand, but because we shipped lots of Brits to Oz in the 18th century, we are sure a Brit was involved somewhere. Too tenuous? Okay, last one, Zaxy Shoes – pretty ballerinas and stunning heels makes you head-to-toe British.