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Belstaff, Hindmarch and creating a legacy
In the afterglow of the Olympics, I’ve been thinking a lot about how fortunes change over time, in particular when you see people and companies hit big highs and lows over the years. The big question for me is: “How do you leave a legacy?” The successes of our Olympians this summer will go even further if the legacy of the Games is that East London thrives and becomes a vibrant and economically thriving area of London. This applies to brands, too, and there is no sector that gives as much emphasis to a brand’s long-term reputation as fashion. So, how do fashion brands leave a legacy?
Look at Belstaff, for instance. Founded in 1924, the brand shot to fame after megastars like Steve McQueen wore their jackets on and off screen. For several reasons, however, the brand faded from view somewhat, not capturing the glitzy markets that Italian houses such as Dolce & Gabbana and others did so fabulously in the ‘70s and ‘80s. However, the brand has surged back with a vengeance over the last couple of years – as this Elle article says, “this is a brand with a lot to prove – but the money and talent to do so.” The creative leadership of Martin Cooper has led to stars such as Benedict Cumberbatch spearheading new consumer demographics for the brand, and the announcement of the record-breaking rent Belstaff has just paid for its new Bond Street flagship, shows that brands with a heritage – i.e. the star power of Hollywood legends such as McQueen – will always have a foundation to build on.
Anya Hindmarch is another brand that has taken advantage of collaborative and commercial opportunities to reinvent itself, thanks in no small part to the tremendous influence of Anya herself. After beginning her empire from a small shop in 1993, Anya Hindmarch now distributes its luxury bags and accessories in 60 countries around the world. Furthermore, the company’s many collaborations with heritage brands such as Barbour reinforces the image of a very British kind of luxury, crucial to the Hindmarch philosophy, and ensures that the company’s legacy will live on for years to come. And the company is always looking to the future, too; in this article, Anya lauds upcoming young designers’ “commercial savvy” and “quality control” – two things that iconic emblems of Britishness such as Belstaff and Anya Hindmarch have in abundance.
Which other brands do you think are flying the flag for heritage British fashion? Let me know at email@example.com, and have a very British weekend!
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