Aquascutum, the 160 year old British brand, not recession proof

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Famously British and rivalling Burberry, luxury label Aquascutum has in the past been snapped being worm by Iron-Lady Thatcher to Hollywood starlet Greta Garbo. In recent times the Duchess of Cambridge sported one of the labels scarves, and proudly strutted the catwalk at London Fashion Week 2011. It was one of the hottest tickets to get your hands on and seemed totally recession proof.

Shockingly, administrators have been called in to the 160-year-old British clothing retailer setting the UK’s established brands and manufacturers into a panic and leaving 250 employees at risk of losing their jobs.

On Monday, owner Harold Tillman sold his majority stake to Aquascutum’s sister company Jaeger. It is thought the sale was to save Jaeger from any fallout through the collapse.

Tillman, who is also Chair of The British Fashion Council, invested around £20m in Aquascutum after purchasing it in 2009, and the Financial Times understands he can no longer afford to support its losses.

Here’s a little background to the brand: Aquascutum was founded in 1851 by tailor John Emary. He patented the technique of waterproofing wools and reportedly was the first tailor to introduce the cloth in his designs. Aquascutum is a fusion of the Latin words for water – aqua, and shield – scutum.

The Aquascutum brand was known for a style of trench coat worn during the First World War. The company was commissioned by the government at the time to make the official trench for soldiers.

So unless a buyer is found willing to invest more money into the label, it’s not looking like Aquascutum will survive to be seen at this year’s London Fashion Week.

As the UK High Street, manufacturers, creative designers and small business continue to suffer, we must take action to recession-proof our careers.

Please share your thoughts on how to recession-proof your careers/business, and survive. Will fast fashion win over established, luxury brands?

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