Home to one of the world's major fashion capitals, it's no surprise that Britain would have an illustrious list of designer fashion brands. From iconic models like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell to members of the royal family, Britain has a truly breathtaking luxury fashion history.
In our latest luxury lifestyle series at Slingo, we’ve compiled a list of 12 British designer brands everybody should know in the fashion world. So, without further ado, let's take a look at some of these British clothing brands.
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Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry in Basingstoke, Burberry is one of Britain's most famous fashion brands. Burberry's primary focus upon its conception was to provide the public with clothing that could withstand the unpredictable British weather. With this intended purpose in mind, the designer brand is most known for its trench coats. The Burberry trench coat was invented during World War I and was designed to suspend military equipment, carry grenades, and protect against harsh weather conditions.
Burberry is also famous for its iconic tartan pattern, often used to line their raincoats, bags and scarves. The fashion brand has since grown massively, with 500 stores operating worldwide, producing a range of high-end clothing, bags, accessories and beauty products for men, women and children.
2. Alexander McQueen
If you're interested in a slightly more avant-garde fashion house, Alexander McQueen has and continues to serve some of the most exciting looks of contemporary fashion. “People don’t want to see clothes. They want to see something that fuels the imagination, " said McQueen, whose style is often considered to be theatrical and dramatic with gothic tones and romantic embellishments.
As well as Victorian gothic and Roman elements, McQueen often incorporates tartan patterns, skulls and animal-inspired motifs, which can be best seen in his 1997 collection "It's A Jungle Out Here".
One of McQueen's most memorable moments in fashion was Shalom Harlow's spray-painted dress, done by robots in 1998. Alexander McQueen's obsession with precise tailoring means you'll find clothes that fit you perfectly. Some of McQueen's most famous clients include David Bowie, Lady Gaga and Kate Middleton, who have all contributed to the brand's popularity. Although this brand is considered high-fashion, they also produce ready-to-wear outfits for men and women.
3. Vivienne Westwood
When you think of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood is the epitome. During the 1970s punk movement, Westwood worked as a teacher while designing and revamping old clothes with the manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren. As punk music became popular among the disgruntled youth, Westwood's clothes became synonymous with rebellion.
Her and McLaren's shop became a hub for like-minded people who wanted to break from conformity. Scratched up and torn clothing pinned together by safety pins, bondage gear, and leather biker jackets with studs, zips, patches and spikes. Cut-up t-shirts with painted political slogans, trousers with rips, and fishnets with holes.
Vivienne Westwood's contributions inspired individualism and gave men and women an authentic way to express themselves. DIY punk fashion enabled women to reject the traditional housewife aesthetic and allowed men to dress more provocatively.
As her career progressed, she continued to produce unisex clothing, incorporating more tartan and tweed fabrics and crafting haute-couture collections. With extravagant draping and a mix of exciting patterns, Vivienne Westwood has become a staple fashion house in the industry.
4. House of Sunny
Next on our list of top British designer brands is the House of Sunny, an independent and sustainable fashion house. Using recycled materials and biodegradable packaging, this UK fashion brand is a progressive and innovative addition to the industry.
Adopting a more influencer aesthetic, House of Sunny is a relatively young brand. One of their most popular pieces is the knitted lily pad green Hockney Dress which was popularised in 2020 by Kendall Jenner. House of Sunny seems to fuse groovy 60s patterns with a Y2K aesthetic, keeping in line with current Gen Z trends.
5. STELLA MCCARTNEY
After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 1995, Stella McCartney became the Creative Director of the French fashion house Chloe. It wasn't until 2001 that she would later launch her very own brand.
Stella McCartney is most known for its bold and somewhat masculine approach to womenswear. Her brand very much focuses on sustainability and promoting a vegan lifestyle. Her most popular item is the vegan Falabella bag which oozes sophistication and class. If you're looking for a luxury fashion brand that produces clothing that is good for the environment, Stella McCartney may be an excellent option for you.
6. VICTORIA BECKHAM
Another famous British designer brand is Victoria Beckham. Following Beckham's success with the Spice Girls, her career drifted away from the microphone and stirred towards the sewing machine.
Beckham founded her eponymous brand in 2008 with a collection of dresses. Her clothing line combines classic British luxury motifs with modern and contemporary styles. The brand aims to embrace powerful women who want to look professional and feel feminine. If you're looking for something chic, Victoria Beckham has got you covered!
Mulberry was first founded in 1971 at Roger Saul's kitchen table. The brand is very much family-oriented, with his sister helping design the famous tree logo which the brand uses.
They first began making leather belts which later transitioned into bags and clothing. There's nothing more British than designer Mulberry! Taking influence from the urban and rural landscapes, Mulberry's style became known as "Le Style Anglais" (the English style).
Due to Mulberry's contrasting themes, their clothing combines age-old craftsmanship with cutting-edge designs. The Bayswater, the Alexa, the Amberley and the Iris are among some of Mulberry's most iconic luxury handbags that you definitely don't want to miss out on!
8. Paul Smith
Paul Smith first opened his shop in Nottingham during the 1970s, and since then, the brand has set up shop in over 70 countries. Smith is primarily a menswear designer whose outfits are meant to be a range of smart casual and eccentric attire.
His influence on men's fashion helped to transform boring and dull outfits into something a little more exciting. With vibrant pops of colour and abstract patterns, Paul Smith's work brings an element of fun to the fashion world, with the likes of Gary Oldman, Kevin Hart and John Legend often wearing the designer brand.
9. Vampire’s Wife
Don't let this next brand scare you! The Vampire's Wife was founded by former model Susie Cave in 2014. The name of the fashion brand comes from the book "The Vampire's Wife", which was written by her husband, Nick Cave.
As you may have guessed, the brand's designs are heavily inspired by the Gothic, with rich and vibrant colours and elegant craftsmanship. The Vampire's Wife has dressed many notable figures such as Florence Welch, Cate Blanchett and Kylie Minogue.
The brand is most famous for its Falconetti dress which has been described as the "dress of the decade" by magazine outlet Vogue. The Vampire's Wife prides itself on being a cult favourite among fashionistas, producing high-quality and easily-wearable clothes for all kinds of women.
FAQs About British Designer Fashion Brands
Who is the most famous British designer?
Britain has a few notable designers, but their most famous ones are Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
Which British designer fashion brand is the oldest?
Lock and Co are the oldest, founded in 1676. The brand is famous for its luxury hats.
What designers come from London?
Victoria Beckham, Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith and Burberry are all originally from London.
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