Topshop Women’s Fashion & Topman Men’s Fashion
Part of the Arcadia Group – owned by Sir Philip Green
View Topshop/Topman Fashion collections on London Fashion Review Blog
History of Topshop and Topman
Topshop and Topman form part of the Arcadia Group, the UK’s largest privately owned clothing retailer with over 2,500 retail outlets. Arcadia Group is owned by Taveta Investments Ltd, the investment vehicle owned by Sir Philip Green and his family. Other brands that make up the Arcadia group include Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and shopping concept Outfit, each with its own distinctive identity and market segment.
Since its humble inception in 1964 as a small department within a single Peter Robinson store, Topshop, as of 2011 has over 300 stores in the UK alone, as well as overseas stores in Japan, Russia, Sweden and a large flagship store in New York.
- 1964: Topshop is founded as a small department within the Peter Robinson store in Sheffield.
- 1965: The brand expands into a 2,000sq ft space in the basement of the Peter Robinson store at London’s Oxford Circus.
- 1974: Topshop is launched as a standalone retailer with a targeted audience of 13 to 25-year-old girls.
- 1978: Topman is launched as a menswear brand to complement its sister brand, Topshop. The expansion was prompted by sales in the young male’s department of Burton’s.
- 1980: Just two years after its launch, profits of Topman reach £1 million.
- 1993: The Topman stores undergo a refit to appeal to a younger customer.
- 1994: The brand opens its London Oxford Circus flagship in a 90,000 sq ft space. As of 2011, it remains as of the world’s largest high street flagship stores, attracting over 200,000 shoppers each week.
- 1996: The Moto menswear and shoe collections are launched.
- 2000: In a brand shake-up, a new management team is put in place for Topman under Brand Director David Shepard. Topshop launches its e-commerce business via topshop.com. As of 2011, the online shop ships to over 30 international locations. The site is said to be updated daily with over 300 new styles each week.
- 2001: Topshop sponsors Graduate Fashion Week to help support and develop new British design talent. Additionally, the brand launches its Style Advisor initiative at selected stores, offering a free personal shopping experience and free fashion advice to customers. Topman begins its relationship with Male Cancer Campaign Everyman. Additionally, Topman introduce new range of fashion-led footwear.
- 2002: Topshop becomes sponsor of New Generation (NEWGEN) at London Fashion Week to provide young designers with financial support and a promotional platform to produce their collections. The scheme has helped the careers of fashion designers such as Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Louise Goldin and JW Anderson. Topman appears at London Fashion Week for the first time with the Topman Design collection.
- 2003: Topman launches a showcase for young design talent, The VOID, at the Oxford Circus flagship store.
- 2004: The brand launches an innovative scheme, Topshop-to-Go, bringing the brand’s latest Topshop fashions to customers within the M25, by booking appointments with the brands mobile team. Customers can try and buy the clothes in the comfort of their own home. Also this year, Topshop launches its first line in maternity clothing.
- 2005: The Unique collection by Topshop becomes the first high street range to be shown on the catwalk as part of London Fashion Week. The range is picked up and stocked by New York boutique Opening Ceremony. Topman sponsors of the NME Awards, which supports up-and-coming bands.
- 2006: ‘Saviour’ of Topshop Jane Sheperdson quits after 20 years at the Acradia group and joins Whistles as creative director in 2008. A collaboration with Celia Birtwell is launched with a range of vintage-print dresses and blouses which sold out in three minutes; four further successful collections followed.
- 2007: The Kate Moss for Topshop collection launches, resulting in long queues and sell outs. Topman’s Manchester store wins the Drapers Award for best new store. The Topman brand extends its reach internationally with openings in Russia, Japan and Sweden.
- 2009: The US flagship store opens in New York’s Soho area.
- 2010: Kate Moss leaves Topshop and owner Sir Philip Green, hires his daughter Chloe Green to join the design team.
- 2011: Topshop receives Store Design of the Year Award for its flagship Oxford Street store at the Oracle Retail Week Awards, and Retailer of the Year NRF Annual Award at the National Retail Federation Awards. The first fashion fair-trade collection is released in February to coincide with Fairtrade fortnight. Additionally, London-based Greek designer Mary Katrantzou launches a capsule collection for Topshop.
Topshop and Topman: Cancer Campaigns
Topshop have been working with the charity, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer since 2005, producing printed canvas bags and T-shirts each year. More recent offerings include, a vest with the slogan ‘Love to Love’ in 2010, followed in 2011 with a soft jersey T-shirt with the slogan ‘Starts with L and ends in E and in the between are O and V’. To market the 2011 campaign, Topshop have enlisted the help of fashionable friends to be photographed in the T-shirt in their unique style to give added support.
Topman have been working with the Male Cancer Campaign ‘Everyman Charity’ since 2001, over the years collaborating with big names to produce a range of products – with part of the profit going to the charity. In 2005, a charity underwear collection was designed by Martin Anderson; in 2006 the brand commissioned five UK bands, including the Kaiser Chief’s and Maximo Park; and in 2007, top jewellery designer, Hussam El Odeh to produce a charity pin badge.
In 2011, Topman supported the Teenage Cancer Trust’s ‘Rock Your Shades’ with four exclusive designs of sunglasses. Each style has been designed with the input of young cancer patients who were treated in a Teenage Cancer Trust unit.
Future of the Topshop fashion empire
In recent times, it hasn’t been plain sailing for Topshop and Phillip Green. In December 2010, Ukuncut protestors targeted Green for tax avoidance by attacking and closing down the flagship Topshop store. Additionally in 2011, immigration officers descended on the Arcadia headquarters after discovering illegal immigrants were working there. Despite these problems, the Topshop/Topman brand and the Arcadia group continues to go from financial strength to strength. The total Arcadia group pre-tax profit from the 52 weeks ending 28 Aug 2010 was £213.2 million up, 6.4% from the previous year.
Further international brand expansion is planned with a move to Canada, amongst others. The brand recently branched out in North America after its successful New York debut in a franchising deal with local retail group Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The HBC is also Canada’s leading department store group and is planning to open the first three Topshop stores in Vancouver and Montreal, with an outlook of 30 to 50 outlets in the next five years. HBC is seeking standalone units but it is also planning to open Topshop-branded shop-in-shops in its The Bay chain. It is thought HBC will buy product from Topshop and pay a royalty based on purchases. Additionally, Green is looking to open stores in Australia, Brazil Indonesia, Japan, Russia, and Thailand.
As one of UK’s largest and most successful brand names, it is hard to see the Topshop and Topman names falter. However, with international expansion directly on the cards, the biggest test will be capturing the foreign fashion-lovers eyes. Time will tell whether Sir Philip Green can turn the Topshop name into a global fashion empire.
To take a full look at the recent collections of Topshop visit the official Topshop website.