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|Industry||Fashion, Clothing, Textiles, Retail|
|Founded||1948: Lewis Separates|
|Founder(s)||Bernard Lewis and brothers|
|Headquarters||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Number of locations||Head Office: West London|
|Area served||United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Georgia, Armenia, Canada, Ukraine, Philippines|
|Key people||Bernard Lewis (Founder, Chairman)
Clive Lewis (Deputy Chairman, son of Bernard Lewis)
Ben Lewis (CEO, nephew of Bernard Lewis)
Vanessa Lewis(Creative Director, Bernard's wife)
Leonard Lewis (Non-Executive, son of Bernard Lewis)
|Products||Women's, Men's and Children's Clothing, Footwear, and Accessories|
|Revenue||£826m (December 2009)|
|Operating income||£160.5m (December 2009)|
|Owner(s)||Families of Bernard and David Lewis|
|Parent||Lewis Trust Group|
River Island is a London-headquartered high street fashion brand, which operates in a number of worldwide markets. Set up in 1948 by Bernard Lewis and his brothers in London, it is to this day still a private company owned by the Lewis family.
In 1948, Bernard Lewis started selling fruit and vegetables, and then knitting wool from a Nazi-Luftwaffe bombed-out site in the East End of London. Joined by his three brothers, the chain expands to nine stores under the title Lewis Separates.
By 1965 Lewis Separates had an impressive 70 store empire in the UK and it was decided that the brand needed a new identity. Lewis Separates was re-branded to Chelsea Girl, the name chosen because at the time the King's Road in Chelsea was the hub of fashion, music and popular culture. Chelsea Girl became the first UK fashion boutique chain, using strong colours, bold fashion imagery and pop music to reinforce the brand.
In the late 1970s, two of the brothers left the business, leaving Bernard, David and their families in charge. They formed the Lewis Trust Group, for which David ran the other businesses covering hotels, property and investments, leaving Bernard to run the retail operation. This allowed the company to expand into menswear in 1982 with the launch of Concept Man stores, before they were merged with Chelsea Girl to become one retail brand under the name of River Island in 1988.
In 1993 the brand opened its first shop in Republic of Ireland. Since then it has expanded into a dozen markets including Russia, Poland, and various countries in the Middle East.
River Island now has a global portfolio of over 300 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Russia, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, the Middle East, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Singapore alongside a successful transactional website riverisland.com which ships to over 100 countries worldwide.
The brand sponsored Graduate Fashion Week for six consecutive years from 2005-2010 and now sponsors London Fashion Week’s FASH/ON FILM Festival, an initiative created by River Island and the British Fashion Council to support up and coming designers and film makers in fashion. FASH/ON FILM launched in February 2012 with an exclusive capsule collection from Julian J Smith and will return in September 2012 with a range designed by William Tempest.
- James Hall (20 March 2011). "Ben Lewis interview: River Island chief on reviving 80s-style Chelsea Girl". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- James Hall (20 March 2011). "From Chelsea Girl to Concept Man: history of River Island". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "International Shipping". River Island. River Island. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "About Us". River Island. River Island. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "About Fash/On Film". British Fashion Council. British Fashion Council. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "First Look: William Tempest for River Island Design Forum". Style Insider. Style Insider.