Jane Shepherdson

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Jane Elizabeth Shepherdson[1] CBE (born 23 August 1961[2] in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire) is an English businesswoman, and is currently the chief executive of UK clothing brand Whistles and was previously the brand director for high-street women's wear store TopShop.

She grew up in Bristol where her father was head of the mathematics department at the university, and her mother was a biochemist. She was educated at Clifton High School, where she began customising her clothes. She studied Business Studies at the University of North London, joining the Burton Group (now the Arcadia Group), after being inspired by her mother's story of a fashion buyer friend.[3]

Shepherdson started as a warehouse picker sending stock to stores, and was then promoted to become a buyer in the jersey department. She ordered a shipment of tank tops, of which 500,000 were sold in a week. Her initiatives at TopShop have included:

  • TopShop Freshers' Week party - with annual discount evenings and free alcohol to tempt teenagers to spend their student loans
  • TopShop To Go - 100 select items are delivered by Mercedes to home
  • TopShop Express - a fleet of Vespas deliver up to five items within three hours of the online order

She is credited with being the leading British proponent of "fast fashion" in the mid noughties, a trend demonstrated by TopShop's reaction to demand for "boho chic" in 2004-5.[4][5]

A week after TopShop owner Philip Green announced that supermodel Kate Moss had signed a deal to design clothes to be launched in 2007, Shepherdson resigned from Topshop.[6] Since resigning from the brand, she is now producing a fashion chain for Oxfam, aimed at "ethically conscious shoppers". She is receiving no pay for this work and has hit out at "cheap, cheap" clothes (possibly referring to Kate Moss's range) that exploit workers in developing countries.[7]

As of January 2008, Shepherdson bought a 20 per cent share in Whistles and was appointed chief executive.[8]

Shepherdson is married to a criminal defence lawyer, and cycles from their flat in South London to work. She lists her hobbies as running, horse riding, skiing and shopping.[6]

Already Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to UK retail business.[9][10]


  1. ^ http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/911469367
  2. ^ http://www.dellam.com/06691868-PEOPLE%20TREE%20FOUNDATION.html
  3. ^ Shy Genius Who Turned Flopshop Into The High St Darling Topshop - Mirror.Co.Uk
  4. ^ Sunday Times Style, 17 September 2006
  5. ^ "The way we dress now". The Times (London). 2006-09-17. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  6. ^ a b "Topshop ructions as fashion boss quits". BBC News. 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  7. ^ Davey, Jenny (2007-06-24). "Oxfam stores get touch of Topshop". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  8. ^ Davey, Jenny (2008-02-03). "Return of fashion queen Jane Shepherdson". Times Online (London). Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61092. p. N10. 31 December 2014.
  10. ^ 2015 New Year Honours List

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