Karen Millen

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Karen Millen Fashions Limited
Private limited company
FounderKaren Millen
Kevin Stanford
Key people
Neil McCausland (Executive Chairman)[1]
Gemma Metheringham (Chief Creative Officer)
Beth Butterwick (Chief Executive Officer)[2]
ProductsWomen's Clothing
Women's Bags
Women's Fashion
Women's Dresses
OwnerKaupthing Bank

Karen Millen is a British women's clothing retailer, specialising in tailoring, coats and eveningwear. The company has stores throughout the United Kingdom, United States, Indonesia, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Russia, the Republic of Ireland and many other European countries.


Karen Millen studied Fashion at the Medway College of Design (now the University for the Creative Arts).[3]

The company was founded in 1981 when Karen Millen partnered with Kevin Stanford.[4] With a loan of just £100, the pair bought one thousand metres of white cotton and began manufacturing and selling white shirts to their friends. 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.[5]

The brand continued to expand throughout the Nineties, and was acquired in June 2004 by the Icelandic Mosaic Fashions. In 2009 Mosaic Fashions ceased trading and the brand transferred to Aurora Fashions. Karen Millen was spun-out from Aurora Fashions in 2011, remaining under the ownership of Aurora's owner, Kaupthing Bank.[6][7][8]


Creative Director Gemma Metheringham oversees twelve designers, producing two main collections and two transitional collections each season.

Karen Millen trades from 84 standalone stores and 46 concessions in the UK and Ireland. Internationally, Karen Millen trades from 16 company owned stores and 57 franchise stores in 23 countries.[9]

In the United States, Karen Millen has boutiques in Atlanta, Boston, Bellevue, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Short Hills, Tysons Corner, Washington, D.C. and San Diego. In March 2008 the company launched a new flagship store in New York City at 114 Prince Street. In October 2013 the first boutique in the Caribbean opened in Puerto Rico. It closed in March 2015, but reopened in September 2016.[10]


It was announced by the Times newspaper on 28 March 2017 that Karen Millen, founder of Karen Millen Fashions Limited, had been declared bankrupt in the High Court, London due to unpaid income tax. It came after the administrators to Kaupthing Bank, which own Karen Millen, had prevented the designer from using her name to launch a new brand. It was also stated that Millen was owing the Inland Revenue £6 million after attempting to use a 'tax avoidance' scheme which the Inland Revenue successfully contested in 2010.[11]


  1. ^ Armstrong, Ashley (4 September 2015). "Karen Millen boss quits after failed takeover attempt". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  2. ^ Armstrong, Ashley (16 December 2015). "Bonmarché's Beth Butterwick to join Karen Millen as CEO". Drapers. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  3. ^ http://www.ucreative.ac.uk/alumni/karen-millen
  4. ^ "'I want my name back,' says clothing entrepreneur Karen Millen as she prepares for High Court battle". Mail on Sunday. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  5. ^ About Karen Millen - Womens Designer Clothes - Karen Millen
  6. ^ Ruddick, Graham (3 January 2015). "Aurora moves closer to break-up as Karen Millen boss departs". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  7. ^ Taylor, Charlie (15 January 2016). "Mixed trading conditions for Aurora Fashions". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  8. ^ Roberts, Lauretta (17 August 2016). "Karen Millen founder loses battle for right to use her name". The Industry. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  9. ^ Baugur Group | Details | Karen Millen
  10. ^ Karen Millen opens New York flagship store | Fashion news | Marie Claire
  11. ^ Mostrous, Alexi; Hipwell, Deirdre. "High street's fashion icon blames fall on fraud by bank". The Times. Retrieved 31 March 2017.

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