The History of High Street Fashion


‘I’m not sure who invented high heels, but women owe him a lot.’ – Marilyn Monroe.

And while we love a good shoe, Ms. Monroe sums up how we feel about high street fashion in one concise little quote. If you take a moment to think about it, where would we be without the high street? The picture of a bleak little world with colourless streets deprived of fun, trendy pieces and closets filled with boring basics that cost as much as your mortgage, comes to mind.

The dawn of high street fashion was a beacon of hope to the trend-driven youth wanting to make a fashion statement without breaking the bank. It was the answer to runway style at real-girl prices and revolutionized the way our wardrobes took shape forever.

Here, we trace the history of the shopping phenomena that gave, and continues to give, couture a run for it’s money.


1909 – During the Edwardian times, men went to work while the women stayed home and tended to the children and household chores. These women needed a safe, respectable place to visit when they had grocery shopping to do.  Recognizing the need for such an environment, the concept of a department store was born when Selfridges opened it’s doors.

1964 – Many years since passed and women gained liberation along the way. They began to express themselves like never before, adopted new roles as career women and party girls and needed statement-making clothes to dress the part. But the risk of being seen in the same outfit too often led to the need for an affordable, almost disposable fashion culture. In an attempt to fulfill this need, Topshop was born. It was then followed by Debenhams, Miss Selfridge and House of Fraser to name a few.


1998 – The high street as you now know it was in full swing. Attractive window displays and even more attractive prices filled the streets with excited shoppers. While maintaining their rightful place on the street, the stores also made their big move into malls. And while new brands were born almost everyday and business boomed for retailers, shopping at the high street did have it’s downfalls for the average consumer. Crowded streets, sale queues that reached all the way down the block, lack of originality or ‘same dress syndrome’, stores closing before people were finished with work, made the entire enjoyable process of shopping, rather inconvenient.

2012 – Even though we don’t see ourselves giving up on the traditional brick and mortar high street stores, a whole new world has opened up to shoppers by way of online shopping. With new e-commerce stores popping up everyday, consumers now have the luxury of shopping straight from the comfort of their own home or even at work!


2013 – This year ushers in the emergence of a revolutionary retail experience. While most sites offer a more conventional high street approach, at Stylista, we like doing things a little differently. We combine the best of designer and high street fashion by collaborating with the crème de la crème of designers, and offering their limited edition pieces to you at affordable prices. Further more, aim to give you the ultimate shopping experience – one that is collaborative, convenient (you can shop Stylista straight from you phone or computer!) and social.

With us, you’re the fashion influencer. You talk, we listen. Instead of being dictators of taste, we develop the styles you love. Be a part of the Stylista community and share your purchases with friends over Facebook, get advice before you buy on Twitter, flaunt your new outfit on Instagram, or simply call our hotline for tips and tricks from a personal stylist. 

The next generation of high street fashion is here. Be a part of the revolution. Be a Stylista.

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