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Karen Millen founder returns to namesake brand to create 30-piece collection

Lauretta Roberts
05 May 2023

Karen Millen OBE has returned to the brand she founded in 1981 and left in 2004 to create a special 30-piece collection with new owner Boohoo Group.

Millen collaborated on the collection, called The Founder, from "sketch to final product" and has included a nod to the evolution of the brand from its conception to the current day.

Key pieces upon which the Karen Millen brand was built are in the line-up including the classic white shirt and modern "colour pop" tailoring. Also featured are dresses with prints constructed alongside the in-house design team, and interchangeable co-ord pieces.

Millen said of the collaboration: I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to step back into the designing process with Karen Millen. Being amongst a creative team again and producing this small collection has certainly reignited my passion for the fashion industry and made me realise just how much I have missed it!” 

Brand director Natasha Hackett added: “It’s been an inspiring experience working with Karen Millen OBE on bringing this collection to life. By taking inspiration from both past KM pieces and her own wardrobe, we’ve created a capsule collection of wardrobe icons that can be loved for years to come.”

One of British fashion's best-known entrepreneurs, Karen Millen set up her brand in 1981 with a £100 loan, which she used to buy 1,000 metres of cotton and create white shirts to sell to her friends. The first store was opened in Maidstone, Kent in 1983 and the business rapidly expanding throughout the 1990s becoming the brand of choice for modern, professional women.

In 2004, Millen sold the brand to the then Mosaic Fashions and in doing so gave up the right to use her name on other fashion ventures. Five years later, the business was spun out of Mosaic and transferred the ownership of Aurora Fashions, which was owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing. By 2016 the brand had more than 80 stores and almost 50 concessions in the UK and Ireland, as well as owned and franchise stores in 23 countries. In 2018 it went on the acquire the assets of its sister brand Coast out of administration.

The following year both Coast and Karen Millen were acquired out of administration by the Boohoo Group and transformed into an online-only entity. Boohoo Group also went on to acquire former Aurora stablemates Oasis and Warehouse during the pandemic.

Karen Millen's The Founder collection is available now at priced from £89 to £399.

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