From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

FounderJohn Emary

Aquascutum was a British-based luxury clothing manufacturer and retailer. It is currently owned by Shandong Ruyi.[1][2]


Aquascutum was established in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, when tailor and entrepreneur John Emary opened a high quality menswear shop at 46 Regent Street. In 1853, after succeeding in producing the first waterproof wool, he had his discovery patented and renamed the company 'Aquascutum', Latin for 'watershield'.[3] In 1901, Emary moved to 100 Regent Street in the heart of London.

Coats for officers in the Crimean War (1853–1856) were made from Aquascutum's waterproof fabric, as were the trench coats worn by soldiers of all ranks in both world wars.[4]

Domestic and fashion applications followed, promoted in the 19th century by royal fashion leader King Edward VII; he was Aquascutum's first royal client, ordering an Aquascutum coat in the Prince of Wales check. In 1897, Aquascutum was granted a royal warrant, the first that would mark the British royal family's long patronage of the company. Aquascutum's trenchcoats have been worn by three Princes of Wales, Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.[5]

Cary Grant wearing Aquascutum
An Aquascutum scarf, showing the Club Check colours

In 1900, Aquascutum opened a womenswear department, offering water-repellent capes and coats, which were very popular among British suffragettes.

The company has created other fabrics and coats using similar names, such as the Eiderscutum light overcoat and (in 1962) the multicoloured wool-yarn weave, Aquaspectrum.[3]

The company has supplied aristocrats, political leaders, and actors, including three Princes of Wales, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Sophia Loren, Cary Grant, and Michael Caine.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Kingsley Matheson Pink, managing director of the Regent Street flagship store, dressed UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, including her visit to the USSR, and comprised coats and tailored suits, dresses and evening wear.

He was also subsequently responsible for dressing Prime Minister John Major, as well as a number of other international dignitaries including the King of Malaysia.[4]

Aquascutum was family owned until 1990, when it was purchased by Japanese textile conglomerate company Renown Incorporated, and, then, by Jaeger in September 2009. It became the property of YGM Trading, a Hong Kong fashion retailer, in April 2012. In March 2017, YGM Trading confirmed it would sell Aquascutum to Jining Ruyi Investment Co, a holding company of China's Shandong Ruyi, for $117m (£95m).[4]

Current day operations[edit]

In 2005, Renown was the Aquascutum ready-to-wear license holder in Japan with retail value of €50 million.[6]

In April 2006, Aquascutum appointed Kim Winser as president and chief executive officer. Winser is a veteran of the British apparel industry, having worked for Marks & Spencer and Pringle of Scotland.[7] The current heads of design are Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler, who won numerous awards including GQ style awards.

The brand, famous for its suiting range, modelled by Pierce Brosnan and Brett Anderson, also offers tailoring by Savile Row tailor Nick Hart. Gisele Bündchen and Jamie Dornan modeled Aquascutum designs and vintage pieces. Homeland star Damian Lewis was used for their Autumn Winter 2014 collection.[citation needed]

In 2008, Renown announced that it would sell Aquascutum, after the parent company experienced three straight years of losses.[8] In May 2009, Renown rejected a corporate buyout bid led by Kim Winser.[7] After the bid was rejected, Winser left Aquascutum. Renown continued acquisition talks with Chinese clothing retailer YGM Trading, which held licenses to sell Aquascutum clothes in Asia - the brand's biggest market.[8]

In September 2009, the management team behind the revival of retailer Jaeger, Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl, bought the company.[9] However, on 17 April 2012, the Financial Times published an article citing sources "familiar with the company's plans" stating that the company would shortly go into administration with the potential loss of up to 250 jobs.[10][11]

In April 2012, the company went into bankruptcy administration.[12] FRP Advisory were chosen to act as the administrators. Shortly after Aquascutum's Asia licensee, YGM Trading, acquired the company for £15 million.[13]

In 2013, the Aquascutum factory was again put up for sale, and has been purchased by a British owner. The original factory has been renamed The Clothing Works.[14] The retailer had to close 14 stores in China, its main market, as well as one in Taiwan.[15]

In December 2016, BBC reported that the Company was due to be sold for $120m (£97m) to two buyers, one of which is Chinese textile firm Shandong Ruyi.The unnamed acquirers made a $5m down payment for exclusive rights to the deal [16] The new owners took over the business in March 2017.

In September 2020, Aquascutum went into administration again.[17]

Aquascutum has granted Trinity exclusive rights to design, manufacture and distribute its products in Greater China and appointed Trinity as its exclusive licensing agent to manage its global licensing business.[18]

Royal Warrants[edit]

Aquascutum's first royal warrant


  1. ^ YGM confirms Aquascutum sale to Shandong Ruyi Group Vivian Hendriksz, 3 March 2017
  2. ^ Shandong Ruyi and Fosun Vie for a Spot in Luxury's Inner Circle The New York Times, Alexandra Stevenson, 19 November 2018
  3. ^ a b Room, Adrian (1982), Dictionary of Trade Name Origins, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, ISBN 0-7100-0839-2
  4. ^ a b c Felsted, Andrea (23 May 2009), "Aquascutum faces gathering storm", The Financial Times
  5. ^ Kollewe, Julia (8 September 2009). "Aquascutum: History of a trendsetter". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  6. ^ Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
  7. ^ a b Felsted, Andrea (23 May 2009), "Future of Aquascutum in doubt", The Financial Times
  8. ^ a b O'Brien, Rosalba (24 May 2009), "China's YGM Trading in talks to buy Aquascutum", Forbes, retrieved 24 May 2009
  9. ^ Thompson, James (9 September 2009). "Aquascutum returns home after Jaeger deal". The Independent. London. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  10. ^ Huffington Post, PA (17 April 2012). "Aquascutum, Historic Brand That Clothed Churchill And Queen Mother, To Go Into Administration". Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Aquascutum facing administration - FT". Reuters. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  12. ^ "BBC News - Aquascutum enters administration". 8 September 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Aquascutum sold to YGM Trading". BBC News. 10 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Old Aquascutum factory is reinvented as The Clothing Works". Make It British.
  15. ^ Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Angela (29 December 2016). "Aquascutum sold for 97 million pounds". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Raincoat maker Aquascutum sold for £97m". BBC News. 22 December 2016 – via
  17. ^ "Business briefing: Uber judged fit to regain licence after rogue rides". Metro Newspaper UK. 28 September 2020.
  18. ^ Jones, Marie (21 September 2020). "Trinity Entered into New Global Licensing Arrangements with Aquascutum".

External links[edit]