|Born||15 October 1945
Hampstead, London, England
|Education||Balham County Grammar School, London College of Fashion|
Tillman was born in Hampstead into a Jewish family and grew up in Brixton Hill, the only child of a Yorkshire-born tailor father who trained at Montague Burton's, and milliner mother. As his father's business developed, they moved to Streatham and then Wimbledon, where he went to Balham County Grammar School.
As his father had been injured in World War II and suffered from kidney problems, Tillman ran the whole family business for extended periods. He left school at 15 to study to be an accountant, before becoming one of the first male students at the London College of Fashion in 1962.
Aged 19, on graduation in 1965 he became an apprentice at Lincroft Kilgour in Savile Row, becoming its managing director three years later. Aged 24 he floated Lincroft's on the London Stock Exchange. Tillman developed a business plan based around good design, employing a young Paul Smith; and celebrity, using George Best to promote Lincroft's clothes.
Tillman returned to the world of fashion through the purchase of Honorbilt from Austin Reed. With a similar plan to Lincroft's, he floated the organisation on the FTSE. He then used this money to buy two organisations in Hong Kong and California, but the core group was financially unsound, and as Tillman negotiated the expansion the management he left in charge failed to stem the developing crisis. After Honorbilt was refused further bank funding, the board were forced to call in the receiver. The Department of Trade and Industry sent inspectors, who proposed to ban Tillman for life as a director, which he negotiated to a three year bar:
|“||I was virtually wiped out financially. I kept my house by my fingernails. But it taught me a valuable lesson. Now I keep in close touch with everything I do, and if I buy anything I always do due diligence||”|
Tillman rebuilt his fortune through buying and selling UK Yves Saint Laurent distributor Marchpole, then leading the buy out of BMB, a suits wholesaler that supplies Debenhams, Bhs and other retail chains, from William Baird.
Tillman returned to prominence with the 2002 majority investment in loss-making Jaeger, where he teamed up with Belinda Earl. After buying Allders, a large department store in Croydon in 2005, in 2009 the team bought Aquascutum. On 16 April 2012 it was announced that Tillman had sold Jaeger to Jon Moulton's Better Capital for just under £20m with a "substantial majority" used to settle its debts. Tillman retains 10% of the shares. The following day it was announced that Aquascutum had gone into administration.
Tillman retains interests in restaurants, including Harry Morgan’s Deli in north London, and a brasserie in west London.
Charity and community
In 2006, Tillman set up a scholarship at LCF, pledging £1 million to sponsor 10 MA students each year. He sits on the board of the Fashion Enterprise Forum, which raises cash for young industry entrepreneurs. Tillman is chairman of the British Fashion Council, a role he took over from friend Sir Stuart Rose. Tillman is chairman of the Alumni Board for the University of the Arts London.
- "Jaeger boss Harold Tillman buys Aquascutum". Jewish Chronicle. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "The Andrew Davidson Interview: Fashion’s dandy plots bounce-back at Jaeger - Page1". London: The Sunday Times. 18 January 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- Blackhurst, Chris (9 September 2009). "Interview: Rag trade veteran whose aim is to spruce up Aquascutum". This is London. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "Harold Tillman". University of the Arts. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "The Andrew Davidson Interview: Fashion’s dandy plots bounce-back at Jaeger - Page2". London: The Sunday Times. 18 January 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- Murray-Watson, Andrew (6 May 2007). "Harold Tillman: the best dressed man on the High Street". London: This Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- The London Gazette: . 12 June 2010.
- "Fashion Photographer of the Year". Clothes Show London.
- "Harold Tillman". Drapers Online. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2009.