Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley, one of the world’s best-loved fashion and home furnishings companies.

Laura and Bernard Ashley started printing fabric on their kitchen table in London in 1953, following a Women’s Institute exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum on traditional handicrafts. Laura was inspired to make her own patchwork quilts, but couldn’t find any suitable fabrics in the shops, so the young enterprising couple decided to try producing their own. At first they produced small squares with geometric patterns, which reflected the limited space in their tiny flat.
The company celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1993, as Sir Bernard retired as Chairman, and became honorary president, a post he held until 1998. In 1994, a plaque at 83 Cambridge Street, Pimlico was unveiled by Sir Bernard and Jane Ashley, marking the beginnings of the Laura Ashley empire. In May 1998, MUI Asia Limited became a major shareholder in Laura Ashley, and they remain committed to taking the company from strength to strength.

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