River Island used to be called something completely different

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  • Who knew?

    We know, we know, it’s been a little while since we last schooled you on your favourite high street brands. Remember what H&M really stands for, and the first item Zara ever sold?

    So we thought we’d give you a bit of history behind another fave, River Island. Did you know that way back when, it used to be called something entirely different?

    As reported by Cosmopolitan, it first started out in 1948 as Lewis Separates, after being founded by Bernard Lewis.

    It was a far cry from the brand as we know it now, as it mainly sold grocery products and wool in five stores.

    In 1955, Lewis Separates was rebranded as Chelsea Girl, and became one of the UK’s first female fashion chains, with 70 stores at the time.

    The brand bought up Concept Man in 1982, thus expanding into menswear. Concept Man and Chelsea Girl both ran alongside each other, until 1988, when they were both merged into a third brand, River Island.

    You might have noticed in the past that some collections or products are called Chelsea Girl, and now you’ll know it was simply a nod to River Island’s origins.

    Always handy to have a bit of fashion history knowledge for the next pub quiz.


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