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A History of Fashion in the United Kingdom: Discover British Fashion Design 

In this article, we take a look at the study of fashion history, why London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and how British fashion in the United Kingdom has evolved over time. 

Fashion is a critical and culturally critical part of self-expression and also can be used as a device of influence. Therefore, fashion has great power: some of the world’s greatest fashion icons, such as David Bowie, Billy Porter and Princess Diana, wore outfits that had great cultural significance and influenced thousands of people. 

British fashion in particular has had a major influence on the global fashion world for many years. So today we examine how fashion  has changed in Britain since the 1800s. In this article we’ll explore why this might be the history of fashion, why London is the fashion capital of the world and some of the best British designers.Finally, we delve into British fashion through the decades. 


Why study fashion history? 

If you are interested in fashion, it is important to learn about the history of fashion. That’s because fashion is constantly changing and repeating, and designers can find endless inspiration from vintage collections, historical clothing, and even art and architecture. 


Studying past fashion techniques, materials, shapes and designs  can help us  understand cultural moments, predict future trends and get creative with new designs.So if you want to work in the fashion industry, it’s important to learn about the history of fashion. 

Even if you don’t, but are a fashion lover, you may find that you can develop your personal style after reading up on iconic fashion trends and moments. 


Why is London one of the fashion capitals of the world? 

As we mentioned, London is pretty big in the fashion world. But how did London become the fashion capital and how does London’s fashion scene differ from other global cities?First of all, London is one of the most multicultural, creative and open-minded cities in the world. 

This has a huge impact on the fashion industry, allowing designers to be more creative and innovative and encouraging a level of openness that encourages diversity and embraces cultural differences. 


Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ magazine, says: “What London has over  other fashion capitals is a real sense of eccentricity.” But where does this eccentricity, creativity and diversity in fashion come from, apart from the makeup of London itself? 


London Fashion Schools 

One of the main reasons why London stands out is that it has some of the best fashion schools in the world.Central St Martins is the university of some of the world’s leading designers, including Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Christopher Kane. The London College of Fashion has graduates such as Jimmy Choo and the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design has sent its graduates to companies such as Moschino, Dior and Vogue.


Shopping in London 

If we look at London from a consumer perspective, the city also has some of the best shopping  in the world. Oxford Circus is famous for its bustling high street with every brand imaginable, but you can also find vintage fashion galore on Brick Lane or designer brands in Chelsea or Liberty department stores. London’s commercial potential is certainly another reason why the city has a permanent place on the world fashion map. 


London Fashion Week (LFW) 

Last but not least, London Fashion Week (LFW) has made London  one of the most influential fashion capitals in the world alongside New York, Paris and Milan. It was launched by the British Fashion Council in 1984 and now takes place twice a year.Such a prestigious show brings all the big names to London: designers, models and celebrities alike. 


Who are the greatest British fashion designers? 

Many interesting fashion designers come from Britain and designers play an important role in fashion history. With this in mind, we thought we would take the time to take a quick look at the influence of three of Britain’s most important fashion designers of the last few decades. 


Alexander McQueen 

McQueen is an incredible example of how success in fashion doesn’t have to come from being rich or having celebrity connections.Having grown up in a council flat in London and leaving school with an A-level in art, he may not have seemed  a suitable candidate for the fashion kingdom. However, he was  head designer at Givenchy, created his own men’s collection in 2004 and was even named British Designer of the Year four times. 

Sadly, Alexander McQueen committed suicide in 2010, but he remains known and respected for his anti-establishment stance, his subversive designs and  shows, and his impeccable tailoring. 


Stella McCartney 

She may have had a more typical start in the fashion world than McQueen, being the daughter of a celebrity and graduating from Central St. Martins, but Stella McCartney certainly became a British fashion icon in her own right.  

Not only is she known for her feminine tailoring and confusion of male and female, but she was also  one of the first major designers to speak out against the use of leather, fur, feathers or  other animal products in her clothing.Her pioneering approach to sustainable practices, respect for animals and blurring of gender binaries have helped make her  a British icon. 


Vivienne Westwood 

Vivienne Westwood, a fashion icon since the ’70s, is a self-taught designer who started  selling vintage clothing with her husband, the manager of the punk band The Sex Pistols. After a while, Westwood made a name for himself by designing several men’s and women’s clothing collections as well as many other fashion collections every year.



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