Margaret Howell (born in 1946) is a clothing designer who has established herself as an enduring presence in contemporary British fashion. Her hallmarks are an exacting concern for quality of cut and fabric and an ongoing exploration of iconic garments such as the trench coat and the white shirt.
The company that bears her name was very much a kitchen-table enterprise, launched from her flat in Blackheath in 1972. Here Howell and her then partner Paul Renshaw designed and made shirts which were enthusiastically received and endorsed by designer-retailers such as Paul Smith and Joseph Ettedgui. In 1976 Howell opened a shop selling men's clothes in partnership with Ettedgui and by 1980 she had opened her first sole enterprise, the Margaret Howell shop in St Christopher's Place.
Howell has long championed the particularly British modernism expressed in the work of designers such as Ernest Race, Robert Welch and Ercol. Her flagship store on Wigmore Street regularly showcases furniture and design objects alongside the clothes in a beautifully integrated display that highlights a common concern with craftsmanship, materials and function.
Howell was awarded a CBE for services to the fashion industry and named a Royal Designer for Industry in 2007.
She joins the select group of British designers invited to contribute to twentytwentyone's celebration of the centenary of Robin Day's birth. Her edition of Day's enduring classic, the Reclining chair, is currently available from twentytwentyone.