I think of myself as a hands-on designer. For me make is integral to my design philosophy. It is crucial how a piece of clothing feels when worn. I've always wanted clothes to be the way I drew them - relaxed and lived in, a natural look. I find men's clothes interesting in their structure, feel and functionality. I started by designing men's clothes, and then found that women wanted them.

I'm inspired by the authenticity I can find in nature, people and places, and I think it is the same quality I look for in the materials I choose. For example, the feel of hand-woven Harris tweed and the irregular slub of Irish linen. I feel passionate about landscape, and its connection with such fabrics and the skilled people who weave them.

I like to work with manufacturers who understand and share this passion for make and quality of fabric: specialists such as John Smedley in fine-gauge knitwear, Mackintosh and their part hand-made raincoats, and the Scottish knitting factories that continue their heritage of producing the best cashmere in the world.

I also find these qualities in other people's work. In 1970 I was encouraged by finding - at a jumble sale - an old, yet finely stitched pinstripe shirt. Today I still find it exciting to hunt out objects I consider to be well-made and enduring. In particular, mid-20th century products such as Anglepoise lamps, Ercol furniture, and Robert Welch stainless steel cutlery, represent the best of our heritage of timeless functional design.

I enjoy pulling these threads of British tradition, quality and skill together in clothes that are meant to be worn in the real world, where good design is about living with thoughtful style.



Collection 1977

Collection Sketches 1982

Jinnan, Tokyo

Wigmore Street, London

Place de La Madeleine, Paris

Piazza Carlo Goldoni, Florence


Fine Art Degree, Goldsmiths College.
University of London


Works From Home, Designs, Makes and Sells Accessories


Starts making mens shirts to her own designs. Employing one finisher and a part-time cutter


As orders increase Margaret sets up a studio and workshop employing ten skilled machinists. Wholesale clients include Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith


First Margaret Howell Shop opens in South Molton Street London Wi in association with Josepth Ettedgui


Develops range of Womens Clothes

First Wholly-owned Margaret Howell shop opens in St Christophers Place London WI


Nominated for Dress of the Year by Grace Coddington, Dress donated to the Museum of Costume, Bath.

Licensed signed with Washo, Tokyo to Manufacture and sell Margaret Howell Designs throughout Japan.


First stand alone shop opens in Aoyama, Tokyo


Shows at London Fashion week for First time


Opens flagship store and cafe in Jinnan, Shibuya, Tokyo


Opens flagship store in Wigmore Street, London WI. Housing Design Studio and Retail space for womens and mens collections, accessories and furniture

Begins series of exhibitions promoting work of British designers, such as Eric Lyons (Span Housing), Anglepoise, Robert Welch and Ercol Furniture


Opens shop on Fulham Road, London SW3


Awarded CBE for Services to the Fashion Industry and Royal Designer for industry by the Royal Society of Designers


Paris Shop opens at 6 place de la Madeleine, 8th Arrondisement


Opens first stand alone MHL shop on Old Nichol Street, London E2


Opens second stand alone MHL shop on New Cavendish Street, London W1


Florence shop opens at 5 Piazza Carlo Goldoni


Awarded Honorary Fellowship of Goldsmiths, University of London

Opens second Paris shop at 37 Rue Debelleyme, 3rd Arrondisement

Margaret Howell has seven outlets in the UK and ninety in Japan employing 350 people worldwide