Austin Reed : quality tailoring

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The Austin Reed brand has long been synonymous with quality tailoring.

The company holds Royal Warrants of appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. In addition to supplying members of the Royal Family, Austin Reed supplies members of respective household staff with items of business clothing for day wear uniform such as suits, shirts, ties and footwear.

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From a single shop in the City of London, Austin Reed has transformed itself from a traditional business into a successful international group with 90 outlets in the UK and international licensees across the globe.

After opening his first shop on Fenchurch Street, London in 1900, the  founder Mr. Austin Reed, began the business that would continue to carry his name for over 100 years.

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The founder, Austin Reed

The ‘roaring 20’s’ would prove to be an extraordinary decade of retail growth for London, led by the ‘centennial redevelopment’ of the capitals most important shopping areas, Regent Street. Austin Reed took up his part in the redevelopment and created  his flagship Regent Street store.  At this time having studied emerging retailing trends in the USA, in 1925 Austin Reed took the revolutionary step of offering a high quality, value-for-money ready-to-wear suit alongside his existing bespoke services.

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Austin Reed onboard the Cunard Aquitania

Austin Reed’s international expansion began in 1929 when Cunard selected Austin Reed to open a shop on the transatlantic liner the Aquitania, reflecting the extent to which the company had established itself as the UK’s premier menswear retailer. This was followed by concessions on two great ships, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, in 1936 and 1946 respectively.

By the eary 1930’s, Austin Reed had built a firm business that was becoming a national chain. It was renowned for its clever advertising developed by artists like Tom Purvis for his elegant art deco posters and Fougasse for his quirky cartoons.

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A 1920's Austin Reed advertising poster

Austin Reed became a household name due to its quality of clothing and service and clever advertising with the tagline, “It’s just part of the Austin Reed service“.

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Austin Reed military tailoring

During the second world war, Austin Reed manufactured uniforms for both men and women in the military forces. The company’s most famous customer was Prime Minister Winston Churchill for whom Austin Reed developed the famous one-piece siren suit (many were made for Sir Winston, including in red velvet).

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Sir Winston Churchill in his siren suit (nicknamed 'rompers' by his family)

The Austin Reed Group has continued its successful growth and in the late 1990’s acquired the  fashion brand  Country Casuals and in early 2009, rescued the 220 year old womens brand Viyella giving it a new lease of life.


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