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01 May 2012
Great British Fashion Flags

Oxford Street has launched a Great British Fashion Flag Showcase with 147 union flags including 10 dedicated fashion flags to celebrate Great British Fashion, ahead of the HM Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 36 days’ time.

Our Chairman, Harold Tillman CBE, attended the launch and commented: "The British Fashion Industry is one of the UK’s greatest assets, contributing over £21billion to the country’s annual GDP. Oxford Street is at the heart of our industry, attracting national and international shoppers from over 200 countries with its 1.5 miles of fashion. It is home to more UK flagships than any other UK shopping destination as well as providing British designers with a launch platform within one of the famous department stores or through a high street collaboration.”
 
The first UK destination to kick start Jubilee celebrations, Oxford Street’s Great British Fashion Flag Showcase sailed high above the iconic fashion flagships, representing 147 years of fashion for the world famous high street, will be seen by an excess of 12 million shoppers from more than 200 countries for six weeks only as Jubilee mania takes the hold across the globe. The flags, 12 foot in height will be the first of 500 union flags across London’s West End’s including Bond Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly.
 
At a ceremonial unveiling supported by the British Fashion Council and the UK Government's GREAT campaign which promotes Britain to the world, fashion royalty Jasmine Guinness was joined by the John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, Harold Tillman, Chair of the British Fashion Council and Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, Chairman of New West End Company to launch the Great British Fashion Flag Showcase to the world.
 
British Fashion contributes over £21 billion a year to the UK economy and supports some 816,000 million jobs.  The uniqueness of the Great British Fashion industry, as showcased on Oxford Street, comes from its abundance of home-grown craftsmanship and design and is illustrated in Oxford Street’s Great British Fashion Flag Showcase.
 
The 147 fashion flag showcase will stretch across one and half miles of over 70 high street, premium and luxury fashion brands.  It all started taking shape on Oxford Street in 1864 when the street went through a radical remodelling to form a modern high street with early retailers including shoemakers and haberdashers.
 
Move the clock forward 147 years, Oxford Street has become a world recognised fashion homeland. With over 200 British fashion brands, many using British manufacturing skills, Oxford Street employs over 50,000 style experts, cultivates the design skills of over 2,000 fashion alumni and welcomes over 100 million visitors spending £4.9billion annually.
 
Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, Chairman of New West End Company, says:  “The eyes of the world will be on London this June as we embark on one of the biggest summers in modern British history. We wanted to be sure the West End, starting today with Oxford Street, paid a huge tribute to such a momentous occasion by celebrating its credentials as the world’s leading fashion destination.”
 

“As the UK gears up for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, there's no better time to celebrate the best that Britain has to offer. Contributing over £2 billion to the UK economy, with world - renowned fashion designers, fantastic shopping and distinctive style our fashion industry exemplifies British creativity, passion and entrepreneurship.”
- The Right Honorable David Cameron MP, Prime Minister
 
The 10 Hero Fashion Flags which were installed by designers Piggots, to give a flavour of what makes Oxford Street a national asset. From 1st May Oxford Street shoppers will be able to find out the full meaning behind the flags at www.oxfordstreet.co.uk
 

THE 10 HERO FASHION FLAGS OF OXFORD STREET’S FLAG SHOWCASE

Celebrating the street’s claims to fame:
  • 200 British designers, including Alexander McQueen, Aquascutum, Mulberry, Stella McCartney, Alice by Temperley, Jenny Packham, Betty Jackson, Joe Casley-Hayford, BIBA, Amanda Wakeley, Anya Hindmarch, Erdem, Gareth Pugh, Lulu Guiness, House of Holland, Burberry, Rupert Sanderson and Barbour.
  • 70 fashion flagships, with more high street and mainstream brands than its global rivals including Selfridges,  House of Fraser, Debenhams, River Island, Topshop, John Lewis, Miss Selfridge and Next.
  • 50,000 fashion experts , 1.5 miles of fashion expertise from the personal shoppers and style consultants at over
  • 10,000 stylists from Selfridges to the fashion advisors at Topshop.
  • 100 million style hunters,  from fashion royalty Kate Moss to UK’s most renowned Royal style icon the Duchess of Cambridge, over 100 million shoppers come from 200 countries per year.
  • 6 of the 49,000 skilled manufacturers which make the British fashion industry so unique, from the Outer Hebrides based Harris Tweed weavers to renowned Midlands outerwear seamstresses at Cooper & Stolebrand are featured on the dedicated hero flags.
Furthermore, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, Oxford Street retail outlets will be launching 1.5 miles of limited edition Jubilee memorabilia. Shoppers can get into the Jubilee spirit from bunting classes at John Lewis to a spot of Crazy Golf and tea at The Big British Tea Party at Selfridges.
 

OXFORD STREET FASHION LANDMARKS

1864 Oxford street went through a radical remodelling to form a modern high street with early retailers including shoemakers and haberdashers.
1864 John Lewis begins trading on Oxford Street as a small store selling ribbons and haberdashery
1895 John Lewis purchase of the Cavendish Buildings
1909 Selfridges opens its doors
1921 H&M launches its first store
1928 The John Lewis partnership is inaugurated
1938 M&S took over the Pantheon
1950 Debenhams becomes the largest department store group in the UK
1959 Oxford Street puts up the first Christmas lights
1966 Selfridges opens Miss Selfridge
1970s Selfridges becomes the first British department store to advertise on TV
1981 First Celebrity Switch on for the Lights
1990 Oxford Circus Tube Station opens on the Central Line
1994 Topshop takes over 90,000sq ft space on Oxford Street which becomes the iconic flagship store
1995 Designers at Debenhams launched
1999 the world’s largest Nike store opens on Oxford Street
2002 Zara’s largest European store opens on the corner of Oxford Street and Bond Street
2003 River Island opens Oxford Street flagship store
2004 H&M unveils first guest-designer collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld
2005 First Traffic Free day on Oxford Street
2005 Stella McCartney for H&M launched
2007 Kate Moss reveals her first collection for Topshop
2009 Diagonal crossing at Oxford Circus
2010 Biba re-launched at House of Fraser
2010 Oxford Street hosts a vertical fashion show during High Street Fashion Week
2011 Selfridges hosted Peter Pilotto's London Fashion Week show in its car park
2011 H&M launches its guest-designer collaboration with Versace
2011 Fashion Circus to launch High Street Fashion Week
2012 Jenny Packham joined Designers at Debenhams
2012 Marni for H&M launched
2012 Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games fever hits Oxford Street with one million additional shoppers expected to visit London’s West End

For Press Enquiries:
Lizzie Costelloe and Fiona O’Rorke at Rain Communications  
fashionflags@raincommunications.co.uk
+44 (0) 20 7828 0118

Image: Harold Tillman CBE & Jasmine Guinness at the launch