1. Thomas Burberry, 2. Alexander McQueen, 3. Vivienne Westwood, 4. Stella McCartney, 5. Mary Quant, 6. John Galliano, 7. Zandra Rhodes, 8. Bruce Oldfield, 9. Paul Smith, 10. Christopher Bailey. The United Kingdom is well-known for creating high-quality designers who have shaped the face of fashion. And there have been many notable British fashion designers over the years, and picking just a handful to spotlight can be difficult. But here are the most famous fashion designers from England.
- Thomas Burberry
- Alexander McQueen
- Vivienne Westwood
- Stella McCartney
- Mary Quant
- John Galliano
- Zandra Rhodes
- Bruce Oldfield
- Paul Smith
- Christopher Bailey
Thomas Burberry was an English gentleman’s outfitter and the founder of the multinational company Burberry, one of the largest branded clothing enterprises in the United Kingdom. He is also credited with inventing gabardine. In 1856, Thomas Burberry established the famed fashion brand Burberry, with the first product being a raincoat. He began with the notion of designing a comfortable and fashionable jacket to replace the bulky raincoats of the time.
Thomas invented the product and sold it in a little shop in the English town of Hampshire. Initially, he invented raincoats for outerwear, replacing the harsh hooded coats of the time with waterproof textiles. Burberry has given marvels to the world of fashion, from considering raincoats as an object of high fashion to the plaid pattern, which is still popular today. The fashion industry admires Thomas Burberry’s brilliance as the man who established the Burberry brand!
Thomas Burberry created some of the most recognisable pieces in fashion history, such as the Trench Coat and Burberry’s characteristic black, camel, and red nova checks. Currently, the Burberry check is one of the most recognisable designs in the world, perfectly connecting with the luxury brand’s aesthetics.
Photo by Open Plaques on Flickr
Photo on Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam (https://bazaarvietnam.vn/burberry-tai-thiet-ke-cua-hang-ha-noi-voi-thiet-ke-chuan-anh/)
The late Alexander McQueen, born Lee Alexander McQueen in London, was one of the United Kingdom’s most inspiring instances of overcoming adversity as well as one of the most famous fashion designers from England. His work drew on gothic and passionate influences to create incredibly unique ideas worn by various A-list celebs, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Kirsten Dunst. He won Britain’s top design award, The British Fashion Award, several times, including for his Highland Rape collection in 1996.
McQueen’s work incorporates extremes and opposites. His creations frequently strain the boundaries of life and death, the ghostly and the holy. The music world was continuously buzzing before each season of Alexander McQueen at its zenith. McQueen established his own label in 1992. The fashion house’s name is controversial, yet it also connotes bold ideas, complex shapes, and rigorous and faultless tailoring. Many referred to him as a genius, while others referred to him as “the hooligan of British fashion.”
Nonetheless, McQueen’s contribution to fashion was unlike anything else before him, with his subversion of tailoring techniques, deep introspection, and groundbreaking theatrics in live presentations that elevated the bombastic designer beyond fashion to showman. Alexander McQueen committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 40, shortly after the deaths of his mother and Blow, his lifelong friend and longest collaborator.
Brand: Alexander McQueen
Photo on Flickr (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jean_Campbell_Alexander_McQueen_Fall_Winter_2018_full_length.jpg)
Westwood’s design defies all logic. She adorned her clothes with ropes, needles, blades, bicycle chains, and other objects, combining strange makeup and hairdos. She was recognised by fashion reviewers as revitalizing British fashion just a few years after the launch of her first collection, Pirates, in Paris in 1983. Vivienne Westwood also mixes 17th-century inspired designs into her collections, such as bouffant pirate shirts, Queen Josephine evening gowns, and strapless micro dresses from the 1980s.
Her avant-garde designs served to define the punk and new romanticism sectors. She was also an outspoken opponent of capitalism and played an influential role in the sustainable fashion movement. Throughout her career, she has also been interested in a variety of political and environmental concerns. Vivienne Westwood is regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most important and innovative fashion designers, and her work has been displayed in museums all around the world.
Brand: Vivienne Westwood
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vivienne_Westwood_by_Mattia_Passeri_BnW.jpg)
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vivienne_Westwood_Life_Ball_2011_b.jpg)
Next one in the list of the most famous fashion designers from England is Stella McCartney. Stella McCartney had a rocky start to her career, but after a few seasons as creative director at Chloé, she saw her score producing sexy, ladylike, and unique pieces. Following her stay at Chloé, McCartney launched her namesake label, where she adopted a full-grown, custom-fitted style that drew in the upper levels of society. Throughout it all, she has kept true to her ideals by refusing to work with fur or calfskin.
Stella studied at Central St Martins School of Fashion and Art and graduated in 1995. Her hallmark fashion style is sharp cuts, a confident, feminine, and sensual demeanor, which is seen in her graduating collection. Stella was appointed Creative Director of the iconic French fashion label Chloe just two years after graduating from Central St Martins. She debuted her self-titled fashion label in 2001, with her first collection shown in Paris.
As a vegetarian, she has never used fur, leather, feathers, or skin in her collections. Sustainability has stayed at the heart of every collection as the firm has grown. Since then, the design brand has grown to include a perfume line, an athleisure collaboration with Adidas, and a lingerie collection. The Falabella, Stella McCartney’s first iconic purse, was introduced in 2009 and quickly became a best-seller. Stella McCartney has been named Creative Director for Team GB’s Olympic uniform and gear. She was the first fashion designer to create clothing for a country’s Olympic squad in every sport.
Brand: Stella McCartney
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stella_McCartney_and_Angelina_Jolie_2014.jpg)
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stella_McCartney_London_2014_cropped.jpg)
Mary Quant is one of the most captivating style pioneers in the United Kingdom. In 1955, she started her first boutique, selling miniskirts that she designed herself. Her designs were considered more modest than today’s exposed minis, yet they were revolutionary at the time because they allowed women to be more active while wearing them. Quant also designed clothes for The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and appeared on television with them several times.
Mary Quant is connected with the Swinging Sixties, a cultural revolution begun by young people in the United Kingdom in the 1960s that encouraged modernity and hedonism. The Welsh fashion legend has altered the way women dress, allowing them to dress more freely and free of the restrictive waistbands of the past. Convert tight tights into more playful and colorful ones at the same time. The perfect 60s icon is a little skirt, colorful tights, and loafers. Mini skirts are no longer considered a trend, but have permeated the culture of each age.
Brand: Mary Quant
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Quant_%281966%29_%28cropped%29.jpg)
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Quant_at_the_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_26.jpg)
John Galliano, born in Gibraltar to a Gibraltarian father and an English mother, is one of the most famous fashion designers from England. He has worked for some of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses, including Christian Dior and Givenchy. His breathtakingly theatrical designs have earned him several accolades, including three British Fashion Awards. Galliano was fired from his position as Creative Director at Christian Dior in 2011 for making bigoted and anti-Semitic remarks in public. He later introduced himself as John Galliano.
John Galliano is well-known for his extravagant and theatrical runway performances, and his designs frequently integrate historical costume and fantastical themes. He was widely regarded as one of his generation’s most skilled and influential fashion designers. Before going to Paris in the 1980s, Galliano worked for British designers such as Stephen Jones and Wendy Dagworthy.
John Galliano is regarded as a fashion icon due to his flashy and theatrical runway displays, as well as his distinctive creations, which frequently mix aspects of historical clothing and fantasy. He is noted for his use of opulent fabrics, elaborate workmanship, and ability to generate drama and spectacle on the runway. He was able to shatter the norm of typical fashion design by pushing boundaries, and his work was frequently regarded as theatrical, romantic, and imaginative.
Brand: John Galliano
Photo on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/38551929554)
Zandra Rhodes, born in Croydon to an English father and a Malaysian mother, is one of Britain’s top style pioneers. Following her studies at the Royal College of Art, she launched her own label in 1969 and quickly became known for her vibrant and rich designs. Her creations have been worn by some of the world’s most famous women, including Diana, Princess of Wales, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue. Rhodes has also designed ensembles for the Royal Opera House and over 100 outfits for Elton John’s visit in 1974.
Inspired by pop art of the time, Rhodes was a trailblazer who used unorthodox patterns and accessories such as safety pins, feathers, and lipstick motifs, earning her the title Princess of Punk. She has designed clothes for royalty such as Princess Diana, Hollywood stars, and musicians such as Freddie Mercury… Created costumes for several operas, furniture and furnishing ranges, fragrances, makeup and jewelry…
Zandra Rhodes, also known as the “Princess of Punk,” is a British fashion designer who just marked 50 years of her profession in 2019. Rhodes’ apparel stands out due to its electrifying neon colours, distinctive patterns, and overall bohemian style. Her vibrant personal style, as well as her bright pink bob hairdo, set her apart from all other high couture designers. Though demand for her designs has dwindled since the 1990s, Rhodes’ iconic, flamboyant, and unique style will always be remembered as some of the most powerful and important pieces in British fashion history.
Brand: Zandra Rhodes
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dame_Zandra_Rhodes.jpg)
Bruce Oldfield is one of the most famous fashion designers from England, noted for his ability to combine gentility with refinement and inventiveness. After studying at Harrow College of Art, he went on to work with a few couturiers until launching his own label in 1981. Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Kate Moss, Vanessa Paradis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Catherine Zeta-Jones have all worn his creations.
Oldfield founded his own label in 1975 and rose to prominence in the 1980s as the designer of Princess Diana’s clothing. Oldfield became renowned as the upper society dresser throughout the 1980s. A designer the land-and-entry set could rely on, someone who could successfully wrap their bodies in cloth in a pleasing fashion while satisfying the odd criterion that comes with possessing a title or a name with the weight of repute.
Oldfield’s gowns were, and still are, beautiful confections with a crisp line and a dash of sparkle and frisson. His structured dresses are cut sexily close to the body, but are made in such a way that they appear modern and stately rather than overly seductive. A layered long chiffon skirt in chocolate brown has the grandness of a ball gown yet the easiness of a tennis skirt. He is known for his spectacular eveningwear and has his own ready-to-wear and couture labels. Bruce Oldfield has received numerous fashion prizes, has been frequently on British television, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest designers.
Brand: Bruce Oldfield
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bruce_Oldfield,_Beauchamp_Place,_London,_June_2016_01.jpg)
Few British tailors are more well-known than Paul Smith. His contributions to the fashion business in the United Kingdom won him a Knighthood from the Queen. The brand’s use of bright colors and imaginative shirt designs helped propel it from a niche London brand to a global success story. The Smith family’s fashion is described in terms of Pop Art motifs, color spontaneity, British elegance, and the liberality of Rock music. When it comes to approaching the fashion business, he considers “classic with a twist” to be his successful term.
In Paul’s hands, a traditional shirt will be new and distinctive with personality stripes, lively colors, or randomly ordered color blocks, yet it will be quite stylish when worn. Paul Smith’s designs always have a strong personality, such as pattern lining, remarkable detailing… that are regarded as the current standard. In the 1980s, he began incorporating scribbles into his shorts. He pioneered the method of printing photographs on fabrics in designs again in 1990. This method reveals his fascination with photography.
Sir Paul Smith, a senior designer and stalwart of the London design scene, has developed a global British brand with 12 lines, including ready-to-wear for men and women, a denim line, a watch line, accessories, shoes and perfumes. He has been awarded several licenses and worked with Rapha, Maharam, and Cappellini.
Brand: Paul Smith
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_Smith,_cropped.jpg)
To end the list of the most famous fashion designers from England, Toplist would like to mention Christopher Bailey. Christopher Bailey was Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer and President of Global Brands. He began his career at Burberry as Chief Designer in 2001 and sent off his debut collection for the brand in 2002. He was responsible for several of Burberry’s most renowned looks, including the raincoat worn by Kate Moss during the British premiere of “The Corporation.” In 2009, he was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire for shaping administrations.
In many respects, Bailey influenced not only the way Burberry carried out its ads, but also the entire industry. He was likely the first designer to fully embrace the concept of a celebrity campaign and recognise the benefit of having someone like Emma Watson, Sienna Miller, or Romeo Beckham fronting your queue. His campaigns became discussion points, repositioning the brand. Bailey’s legacy at Burberry is not only one that is extremely shareholder-friendly, but also one of warmth and approachability.
Putting British fashion back on the map was one of the most important things Bailey accomplished during his term. Christopher Bailey generated a bubbly controversy season after season by transferring his shows from Milan to London, which meant buyers, editors, and celebrities from all over the world made their way to the UK for his display.
Photo on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Camp_-_Notes_on_Fashion_at_the_Met_-_Burberry_rainbow_cape)