Ghost (fashion brand)

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Ghost London
Industry Clothing
Founded 1984
Founder Tanya Sarne and Katharine Hamnett
Headquarters London, NW8
United Kingdom
Products Ready to wear Collection, Occasionwear, Bridal Collection and Bridesmaids dresses, Homeware, Beachwear, Essentials
Owner Touker Suleyman

Ghost is a London fashion label founded in 1984 by Tanya Sarne.[1] It is known for classic vintage clothing-influenced viscose crêpe, satin and georgette designs, which are modified slightly each season to keep them up to date, but do not follow trends.[2][3] The Design Museum in London described the introduction of the Ghost dress as "one of those quiet revolutions" where the significance of an event in fashion history goes almost unnoticed at first.[4]


The Ghost label was founded by Tanya Sarne and the designer Katharine Hamnett.[5] They called the label "Ghost" after Sarne's business methodology, which was to employ a team of in-house designers who would create, or "ghostwrite" the collections that would be linked to her name, under her supervision.[1] Among the designers who worked for Ghost were Andrea Sargeant who created the original look,[2] Nicholas Knightly (who had worked with Stirling Cooper and later went on to design for Mulberry and Louis Vuitton),[6][7] Suzanne Deeken, who went on to design for Marc Jacobs,[8] and Amy Roberts (a former Galliano assistant) who introduced knitwear in 2001.[9] In the early 1990s, Ossie Clark, renowned for his fabric cutting skills, helped out at Ghost.[10]

Ghost became known for its distinctive use of rayon (viscose) fabrics, which if shrunk and dyed, developed a crinkled texture similar to vintage crepe.[1] Not only could the fabrics be made in various weights and sizes, the clinging garments made from them were easy to wear, easy to care for, and could be worn by women of all ages and shapes.[1] Ghost became known for its strongly vintage-influenced designs,[4] and by 2006, was a globally recognised brand name.[1] In 1996, the department store Liberty gave Ghost more floor space than any other designer due to the popularity and saleability of the clothes.[11] The clothes were also praised by industry insiders such as Nicola Jeal from Elle, who described them as products akin to Levi's jeans or Gap, and Grace Coddington, who described them as "clothes that women like to wear."[11] Ghost clothing was designed as a range of versatile and interchangeable separates which could be worn from one year to the next without looking out of date.[2] Although seemingly delicate, Ghost clothes were hard wearing enough to survive being screwed up in a rucksack without needing ironing, which made them very attractive to tourists and travellers.[4]

In May 2006, following the sale in December 2005 of controlling interest to Kevin Stanford and the Icelandic investment group Arev, Sarne resigned from the company.[1] The Independent suggested that Sarne's unorthodox behaviour and approaches did not work well with Stanford and Arev's business ethos.[1]

Since 2006[edit]

Two years after its founder resigned, Ghost went into administration in 2008 as a result of the Icelandic banking crisis.[12] In late 2008 it was bought out by Touker Suleyman of Hawes & Curtis.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kirby, Terry (25 May 2006). "Fashion Queen defrocked: Ghost story". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Worsley-Taylor, Robert O'Byrne ; consultant, Annette (2009). Style city : how London became a fashion capital. London: Frances Lincoln. pp. 120–124. ISBN 9780711228955. 
  3. ^ Rushton, Susie (20 September 2005). "Puff! Top UK designers retain fashion magic". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Design Museum (2009). Fifty Dresses That Changed the World. London: Hachette, UK. ISBN 1840915870. 
  5. ^ Seipel, Tracy (1 December 1989). "Ghost on the rise in fashion Popular line's resort collection comes in loose, flattering shapes". The Denver Post. Retrieved 18 January 2013. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Tungate, Mark (2005). Fashion brands : branding style from Armani to Zara (3rd ed.). London: Kogan Page. p. 143. ISBN 9780749464479. 
  7. ^ Webb, Iain R. (8 February 1995). "Designer lines on the high street" (65185). The Times. 
  8. ^ Prosser, David (21 December 2005). "'Ghost' founder makes £5m as chain plans expansion". The Independent. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Robson, Julia; Molly Gunn (21 February 2001). "Prince crowns McQueen as British fashion king". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Blanchard, Tamsin (8 November 1998). "Dress sense". The Independent. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Picardie, Ruth (27 April 1996). "Ghost of a chance". The Independent. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Mason, Rowena (20 November 2010). "Fashion mogul Kevin Stanford is haunted by Ghost". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2013.