The Brit List: Five Great British Fashion Designers

Alexander McQueen show, Autumn Winter 2012, London Fashion Week (Christopher Ena via AP Images

London is widely regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, and with good reason. The UK has produced some of the world’s most influential designers and fashion trends. In honor of our Summer of London look at the UK’s best up-and-coming fashion figures, here are five enduring icons whose extraordinary contributions have helped change the face of British fashion.


Mary Quant

Welsh designer Mary Quant epitomized ’60s Mod fashion and revolutionized the industry by being one of the first to tap into the lucrative youth market. Younger consumers were yearning to break free from the stuffy, traditional looks of the ’40s and ’50s and seeking clothes that were cool, modern, and cutting edge. Quant’s mini-skirts and hot pants shocked older generations while her shift dresses and use of synthetic fabrics redefined British fashion.


Vivienne Westwood

This punk-rocker turned British Dame is a true fashion maverick. Westwood first came to prominence with her designing for the Sex Pistols and pioneering the Punk fashion movement in the 1970s. Suddenly spikes, bondage gear, and safety pins made their way into mainstream fashion. Westwood quickly became the female face of punk and remains one of Britain’s most iconic fashion designers with no signs of stopping. Her current designs continue to incorporate elements of the punk aesthetic.


Alexander McQueen

The late, great Alexander McQueen brought avant-garde to the masses with his outlandish, imaginative designs. McQueen was decidedly non-conformist and challenged conventions held in the fashion industry with his theatrical—and often times shocking—runway shows. The above video is a look at some of McQueen’s most memorable runway moments.

Hussein Chalayan

This British-Turkish designer is known for creating highly experimental designs and combines technology and fashion to produce incredible, transforming pieces of clothing that need to be seen to be believed.

Christopher Bailey

Christopher Bailey revitalized the Burberry brand when he became their Chief Creative Director in 2001. Responsible for the company’s overall image, Bailey brought Burberry into the new millennium by modernizing the designs while still retaining a quintessentially British feel. Bailey’s also kept Burberry relevant to younger markets by using cool, up-and-coming figures in British culture, such as Emma Watson, Alex Pettyfer and Agyness Deyn in their ad campaigns.

Who have we missed in this list? Tell us below: