Thomas Pink

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Thomas Pink
Industrymen's shirts
FounderJames, Peter and John Mullen
Area served

Thomas Pink is a British shirt-maker[1] that was founded in London in 1984 by Irish brothers James, Peter and John Mullen.[2]


The Mullen brothers were no strangers to shirt making; their father was a shirt manufacturer in Dublin. James Mullen had read law at Trinity College Dublin, followed by a business degree at University College Dublin. He went on to set up a launderette business in Dublin, before coming up with the concept of Thomas Pink. [3] The company was named after Thomas Pink, an 18th-century tailor in Mayfair, London.[2] The shirts were initially produced using fabric spun and woven in mills in Lancashire, however these closed down shortly after the company was established, with the fabric then being sourced from Italian mills.[3]

The first Thomas Pink shop (opened in 1984) was located in Chelsea. Of the location, James Mullen was quoted in 1997 as saying "we can afford to be in slightly secondary positions because the sort of customers who come to us know what they want and as long as we advertise, as long as it's still very convenient, it works."[3]

At one stage the brothers employed their father's factory to manufacture shirts for the company, but this connection had ceased by the mid-1990s, although the shirts were still produced at that time in Ireland.[3]

During the 1990s customers included Michael Portillo, Viscount Linley, Hugh Grant, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Elle Macpherson. In July 1997 the company opened its first overseas store in Ireland, on Dawson Street in Dublin, with a store in New York City following in September 1997.[3]

In 1999 Thomas Pink became part of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy group[1][2][4] when they purchased 70% of the company for around €48m.[5]

By the time of purchase by LVMH, Thomas Pink had 20 shops, including 17 in the UK, one in Dublin and two in the United States. The store on Madison Avenue was the largest shirt store in the world and was almost twice the size of the flagship store on Jermyn Street.[6]

LVMH purchased the remaining 30% stake in the company they did not already own in 2003.[5]

In 2012 Thomas Pink launched legal proceedings in the UK against Victoria's Secret, which was marketing lingerie under the label "Pink"; Thomas Pink claimed Victoria's Secret was infringing on its trademarks, confusing customers and tarnishing its image pursuant to the Trade Marks Act 1994.[1] Although Victoria's Secret attempted to raise a number of defences including revocation for non-use, and attacking the validity of the marks for descriptiveness and lack of distinctiveness, in July 2014 in the High Court of England and Wales Judge Colin Birss ruled in Thomas Pink's favour.[4] Victoria's Secret, which is owned by L Brands, is making efforts to protect its trademarks in the United States,[7] where the British trademark ruling did not have any effect.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b c d Elizabeth Paton (8 June 2017). Thomas Pink Appoints John Ray as Creative Director. The New York Times. Accessed July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Thinking of Pink". Sunday Business Post. 2 December 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e Penelope Dening (4 June 1997). "Picking the perfect places to keep customers in the pink". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b Nick Webb (15 January 2012). "Thomas Pink founder makes another fortune -- from wellies". Independent.IE. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ Antoine Banet-Rivet (25 September 1999). "Luxuries group adds Pink to its growing portfolio". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ Alanna Petroff CNN Victoria's Secret loses PINK brand battle 5 August 2014
  7. ^ Matt Ellis Victoria's Secret Loses U.K. Trademark Infringement Battle London-based retailer wins 'pink' case 4 August 2014
  8. ^ Stock, Kyle (1 August 2014). "In War for the Word 'Pink,' a Menswear Retailer Defeats Victoria's Secret". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg L.P.