Margaret Howell: A British Fashion Icon

Margaret Howell is a contemporary British clothing designer who is known for her timeless and utilitarian style. She founded her eponymous brand in 1970 and has since expanded it to over 100 stores in Japan and several locations in Europe and Asia. She is also an avid beachcomber who collects stones, driftwood, and other seaside finds at her Modernist holiday home on the Suffolk coast.

Early Life and Career

Margaret Howell was born in 1946 in South London, where she grew up with her parents and two brothers. She attended Goldsmiths College and studied fine art, but soon discovered her passion for fashion design. She started making men’s shirts from vintage fabrics and sold them to Paul Smith and Ralph Lauren, who appreciated her attention to detail and quality. She then launched her own label, Margaret Howell, which initially focused on menswear but later expanded to include womenswear.

Design Philosophy and Aesthetic

Margaret Howell’s design philosophy is based on simplicity, functionality, and durability. She draws inspiration from traditional British clothing, such as workwear, military uniform,s and school uniforms, as well as from artists, architects,s and musicians. She favors natural fabrics, such as linen, cotton, and wool, and neutral colors, such as navy, khaki, and grey. Her clothes are meant to be worn with ease and comfort, without compromising on elegance and sophistication.

Beachcombing Hobby

Margaret Howell has a hobby of beachcombing, which involves collecting stones, bones, painted driftwood, and other seashore ephemera. She started this practice when she bought her Modernist holiday home on the Suffolk coast, near the small town of Woodbridge, about 20 years ago. She enjoys the remoteness and beauty of the area, where she often swims in the sea or walks along the coastline. She arranges her beach finds in artful ways around her home, creating small shrines and displays that reflect her personality and taste.

Legacy and Influence

Margaret Howell is widely regarded as a master of British fashion, who has influenced generations of designers with her understated and refined style. She has collaborated with various brands and institutions, such as Converse, Anglepoise, The National Portrait Gallery, and The Tate Modern. She has also received numerous awards and honors, such as the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2007 and the London Design Medal in 2015. She continues to design and oversee her brand with passion and dedication.

Current Projects and Collaborations

Margaret Howell is always busy with new projects and collaborations that showcase her versatility and creativity. For Spring 2023, she looked at her old clothes and changed them a bit. She added fun things like scarves, tucks, and zips. She also worked with Mackintosh, Trickers, and others who make good things.


Margaret Howell likes old British clothes and natural fabrics. She makes them look nice and smart. She teaches other designers and customers how to dress well. She continues to evolve and innovate with new projects and collaborations that showcase her versatility and creativity. She is a true master of British fashion and a living legend in the industry.


By Raymond

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