Karen Millen

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Karen Millen is a brand used by online women's clothing retailer Boohoo plc. The brand specialises in tailoring, coats and evening wear. It was acquired in 2019 following the collapse of Karen Millen Fashions Ltd, a company that operated a chain of clothing stores in many countries worldwide. The company was originally founded in 1981 by British entrepreneur fashion designer Karen Millen. She sold it in 2004 and was not subsequently involved in businesses bearing her name.

Company founding and growth[edit]

Karen Millen at The 4th Asian Awards
Karen Millen's former logo

English fashion designer Karen Millen studied fashion at the Medway College of Design, now known as University for the Creative Arts.[1] She founded the Karen Millen company in 1981, partnered with Kevin Stanford. With a loan of £100, the pair bought one thousand metres of white cotton and began manufacturing and selling white shirts to their friends.[2] A party-plan network followed, and in 1983, they opened their first store in Maidstone, Kent, which was followed a few years later by branches in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, Guildford and London.[citation needed]

The company continued to expand throughout the 1990s, opening dozens of retail stores. In June 2004 the founder sold the business to Mosaic Fashions, a company from Iceland, had no further involvement in the Karen Millen company and under the terms of the sale was not permitted to use her name for other ventures.

After departure of the founder[edit]

In 2009, Mosaic Fashions ceased trading and the brand transferred to Aurora Fashions. The Karen Millen brand was spun-out from Aurora Fashions in 2011, remaining under the ownership of Aurora's owner, Kaupthing Bank.[3][4][5]

In 2016 the Karen Millen company had 84 standalone stores and 46 concessions in the UK and Ireland. Internationally it had 16 company-owned stores and 57 franchise stores in 23 countries.[6]

The Karen Millen business acquired the assets of its sister company, Coast, out of administration in October 2018.[7] In August 2019, the two companies' online businesses were bought out of administration by internet retailer Boohoo for £18 million. Only the online employees were taken on by Boohoo and the standalone retail stores eventually closed.[8]


  1. ^ "UCA | University for the Creative Arts". Archived from the original on December 2, 2010.
  2. ^ About Karen Millen - Womens Designer Clothes - Karen Millen
  3. ^ Ruddick, Graham (3 January 2015). "Aurora moves closer to break-up as Karen Millen boss departs". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  4. ^ Taylor, Charlie (15 January 2016). "Mixed trading conditions for Aurora Fashions". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  5. ^ Roberts, Lauretta (17 August 2016). "Karen Millen founder loses battle for right to use her name". The Industry. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  6. ^ Baugur Group | Details | Karen Millen
  7. ^ "Karen Millen Buys Coast Assets as Fashion Chain Goes out of Business". Business Of Fashion. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  8. ^ Naomi Rovnick; Jonathan Eley; Nic Fildes (6 August 2019). "Boohoo snaps up Karen Millen and Coast in £18.2m pre-pack deal". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 April 2021.

External links[edit]