TOPSHOP: a history. A look behind the highstreet brand

TOPSHOP has developed from its humble beginnings in the basement of a Sheffield department store to an icon of British style, beloved by students and celebrities alike. Nowadays the fashion chain has 440 stores across the globe, with 300 in the UK alone, and ships to over 100 different countries. Last week Leeds saw the opening of the high street giant’s latest outlet. Situated within Trinity Leeds shopping centre, the 31,000 sq foot store, spread over 3 floors, boasts exclusive collaborations, limited edition ranges, vast make-up and accessories collections as well as the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary shopping service. In celebration of this fact, we’re going to take a little look back at the evolution of the high street chain over the last 48 years…


1964: Sheffield department store launches its concession line by the name of ‘Peter Robinson’s Top Shop’. Aimed at younger shoppers, the store soon grew in popularity thanks to its innovative approach to fashion.

1965: The store expanded to the basement of the flagship Peter Robinson store in Oxford Circus

1970’s: TOPSHOP and their counterpart TOPMAN enter the high street as stand-alone retailers for the first time.

1980: TOPMAN reaches profits of over £1,000,000 despite only having opened two years previously

1992: The largest fashion store in the world opens as TOPSHOP and TOPMAN, united in Oxford Circus.

1994: The iconic TOPSHOP flagship store is unveiled at 214 Oxford Street, London, where it still remains today.

2000: is launched, beginning the brand’s online presence which has since expanded to a Facebook page, a Twitter account with almost 450,000 followers and TOPSHOP Tumblr as well as an Inside-Out blog, providing fans of the brand with inspiration and styling tips.

2002: NEWGEN scheme begins with the aim of championing new designers. Over the years it’s aided the careers of some of fashion’s biggest names, such as Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin, Marios Schwab and Jonathan Saunders.

2005: TOPSHOP’s Unique collection becomes the first high street brand to show at London Fashion Week. To this day, it’s one of the hottest tickets in the Fashion Week calendar.

2007:  First of 14 historic collaborations with fashion icon Kate Moss, designed to emulate her envied sense of style. The sought after collection proved so popular that the Daily Mail reported a 10% increase in profits and provided the public with high end fashion at affordable prices.

2009: The first TOPSHOP flagship store opens outside the UK in none other than New York City and becomes an immediate success.

2010:  The legendary partnership with Kate Moss comes to an end. Alongside her final collection Kate Iconic is launched, featuring her 10 most popular designs to date.

2011: Eagerly anticipated collaboration with J W Anderson hits stores.

2012: The second largest TOPSHOP store in the UK opens in our very own Leeds. The grand opening saw Pixie Geldoff take to the decks, eager shoppers queuing for hours and complimentary make-up treatments and manicures for visitors.

Now that we lucky Leeds lasses (and lads) have a new superstore conveniently at our disposal, there’s no excuse not to snap up that new dress you saw online or those new shoes in the special collection, they’re guaranteed to be in stock. Here’s to 10% student discount, overdrafts and TOPSHOP’s ever eminent style!

Becky Tipper and Kimberley Fishwick

Image: Rick Chung on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons licence.

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