Barrett Wanlon, CEO of Angrila Bridal Limited.
Barrett was born in 1948. He attended Southgate, North London where he completed his secondary education. There, he obtained 13 ‘O' levels as well as 4 ‘A' level passes in GCE. He was admitted, in 1969, as an Honorable Member of Grays Inn. In 1971, Barrett graduated from Kings College, London with a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB Honors). In 1966, he teamed up with his late brother, Jay, who had started trading in the fashion business in Carnaby. Barrett, together with Jay founded Angrila Bridal Limited in 1971.
What began from a non-sizeable retail premises on a first floor in Carnaby Street eventually expanded into personally owned retail shops in Newburgh Street, Duke Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street.
Angrila was described in the 70's by Punch Magazine as "the power in Carnaby Street". Angrila styles' active, purposeful and successful retailing was eventually noticed by other retailers. To meet this demand, Angrila soon opened wholesale showrooms in Mortimer Street, the strategic and famous international center of London mainstream fashion, and Great Portland Street. By 1974, Angrila has established main offices, design studios and factory in new headquarters in Marylebone, NW1. In addition to this, it was maintaining its showroom in Great Portland Street. Also, it is now overseeing the administration of nine retail shops, including one in Illinois, Chicago and one in Lausanne, Switzerland. Nevertheless, there was a simultaneous continuous expansion of the wholesale side of the business, through local and international demand. This soon overtook its retail operations in importance as well as turnover.
Again, during the early 80's, Angrila again moved its headquarters into a much spacious freehold premises. This premise was situated in Wood Green, North London. With the tragic death of his brother Jay, in 1985, Barrett has lost his business partner and the closest companion. Jay's death prompted Barrett' decision to sell off the company's retail operation. Hence, he became focused solely on the wholesale operations.
In 1985, Angrila claimed double "Wedding" fashion awards, one for Best Bridal Wear and the other for Best Bridesmaid Wear. One of the awards was for Barrett, while the other was a posthumous award for his late brother, Jay. In 1992, Angrila was honored with a visit from the Princess Royal to its Wood Green headquarters in commemoration of his brand's 25 years of existence. In 1997, January precisely, Angrila won the 1996 British Apparel Export Award, for his outstanding achievements in exports. On 21st April 1998, Angrila was awarded The Queen's Award for Export Achievement 1998. Angrila has again won the award of the UK Fashion Export 2008, precisely on 5th June 2008. He was presented the award by Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, at a Gala lunch held at the Landmark Hotel, London. In addition to these, Angrila was also a finalist for this, and in May 2010, he won the first 2010 UKFT (UK Fashion and Textiles) Export Awards in the High Octane and Glamour category.
In recognition of his vision for the expansion of his brand, Angrila was declared the winner of the HSBC Business Thinking 2010 competition London region, for the most outstanding Business Plan for expansion. He was also a finalist in the UKFT 2014 Awards.
Throughout the 50 years of consistent trading, Angrila has never lost its identity in providing its loyal clientele as well as the international market with the latest styling of London High Street Fashion. Such specialized supply always in bridal, bridesmaid and wedding occasion wears. Angrila has partnered with such renowned designers as Anthony Price and Christiana Stambolian. Anthony Price designed Angrila's ‘Later Collections' in the early 90s, while Christiana Stambolian is renowned for her exclusive creations for celebrities, including the late Princess Diana and Deneuve.
With over 40 years' experience at the core of British Fashion, Barrett has always directed Angrila design teams to groundbreaking achievements, carting away several awards in the process. In the course of his extensive career, Barrett has been of service to the fashion industry through several committees as well as trade bodies. Apart from being a foundation member of the Fashion Industry Action Group (FIAG), responsible for the formation of the British Council, he was also an ex-Chairman of the BKCEC (British Knitting and Clothing Export Council)'s Women's Wear Committee. Barrett also served on the Midseason Exhibition Committee and the Advisory Board of the London Fashion Exhibition.
In addition to this, Barrett was also a founder member of the British Fashion Council (BFC) and resigned in 2009 as the longest-serving member of the council. He is the ex-Chairman of the BFC Mainstream Fashion Committee. The BFC is now the globally recognized forum of British Fashion. In May 1998, Barrett got an appointment to the Board of Management of the British Knitting and Clothing Export Council.
Barrett was also the founder of the British Fashion Design Protection Association (FDPA) in 1974. The board aims to protect the interests of original and creative designers while seeking the relevant changes in the Copyright Laws. Such changes were to extend copyright to fashion designs, which then, were not protected by the Law. More than any other body, the FDPA has been accountable for the positive changes in the Law that have been witnessed since its formation in 1974. Through collective efforts, the Law has now been effectively amended and has secured the extension of Copyright to cover original fashion designs in a High Court action in 1980. During this particular court proceedings, Barrett appeared as an expert witness.
In addition to this, the FDPA has undertaken negotiations of the legal fees insurance for its members. Such fees were negotiated to be at rates that even the smallest designer can afford. This enabled the smallest "David" to face the biggest "Goliath" if justice was on his side. Barrett, as the then Chairman of the FDPA, was also the UK's representative at the EEC meeting of the Association Européene des Industries de L'Habillement.
Barrett served as a Government Advisor through the CBI in the drafting of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1998. This Act eventually introduced the new Design Right extending I.P Protection to the three-dimensional garment. The Act is also considered as the fashion industry's leading lay authority in the UK on Intellectual Property Law.
Barrett also showed up on several national television as well as radio programs, including CNN, BBC and ITV, where he extensively analyzed different fashion topics. He was appointed to the Graduate Fashion Week Industry and Media Board alongside Design Board of Skillfast UK, in 2007.
In 2009, he was invited onto the UKFT Board, on which he still serves to raise significant sponsorship support for its yearly Fashion Awards Gala event. The event is usually held in the presence of UKFT's President, HRH Princess Anne, who presents the Awards to the Awardees.
With the launch of Angrila Couture in 2012, Barrett directed his company back into retail. The Angrila Couture is a designer collection comprising Red Carpet dresses, and which quickly became the favourite label for several celebrities to wear to their red carpet events. Such celebrities who accepted the Angrila Couture include Leona Lewis, Michelle Rodrigues, Kelly Rowland, Myleene Klaas, Amanda Holden, Susanna Reid, Holly Willoughby and others. As a result of the hard work of his new team of young fashion graduates, who are now prominent in the company's running, Angrila London was launched in 2014. Angrila London is a diffusion brand for Angrila designs solely retailed by Angrila in its stores and online with notable companies like John Lewis Debenhams, House of Fraser and its independent store at Brent Cross London and online at www.angrila.com.
Today, Angrila produces more than 40,000 high-quality garments monthly. It employs hundreds of people in the UK and overseas, directly and indirectly through its subcontractors. Barrett has consistently been a supporter and raiser of annual contributions for several charities, including the Save the Children, Make a Wish, Cancer Research, The Red Cross and more.