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Focus on: Celebrating 50 years of French Connection

Author Editor - 4 minute read

It's not every day that we celebrate 50 years of French Connection. We’ve been inspiring, exciting, and connecting with you since 1972.


Introducing our digital FC50 digital magazine - telling our brand story and celebrating our anniversary through our most-loved campaigns, iconic moments, and words from our wider community.  



This is us at 50. Here’s our story... 



Founder, Stephen Marks, established French Connection in 1972 – a year after the film of the same name was released – and set out with the aim to create design-led, fashionable clothing. Then in 1976, the brand then expanded to encompass menswear with the help of French designer, Nicole Farhi.  





Following the success of the brand, in 1983 French Connection was listed on the London Stock Exchange. 


“Reaching a milestone like 50 can be hard in the world of fashion when “new” is so often a key to success, but French Connection has evolved, adapted, and let their design lead the way, so that they are still fashionable five decades later. Happy Birthday FCUK.” - Lisa Smosarski, Stylist Editor-in-Chief & Board Director. 





In 1997, the abbreviation FCUK was born after Trevor Beattie visited the French Connection offices and noticed the abbreviation FCHK on an internal memo, standing for French Connection Hong Kong. From this, Beattie suggested the brand use FCUK, standing for French Connection United Kingdom. In the spring of ’97 a controversial ad campaign featuring the simple line ‘fcukfashion’ hit the headlines becoming a universally recognised great fashion moment and the rest as they say, is history.  


“My love affair with French Connection began in my late teens in the '90s.” - Lisa Smosarski, Stylist Editor-in-Chief & Board Director. 





Following the millennium celebrations, we then expanded successfully into complementing licensed products including both men’s and women’s fragrances, accessories, watches, eyewear and footwear.  


"I remember wearing a FCUK top to a NYE party in 2001 and thinking I was the coolest girl there! As a teenager, French Connection was one of the stores I most looked forward to visiting on Oxford Street" - Roya Farrokhian, GQ Style, Commercial Fashion Director   





In the twenty tens, our advertising campaigns continued to be a talking point. One memorable campaign you may remember was “From Sketch to Store” in Autumn/Winter 2013. This was our first campaign with photographer Rankin's in-house agency, featuring sketches of our designs superimposed onto naked models, showcasing the fearless nature of the brand and our design credibility but with a twist. 


"Like most people in the UK, I’ve been familiar with French Connection from its inception, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to work with them. The brand has produced some incredible campaigns with that characteristic cheeky French Connection humour. But I’ll always have a soft spot for the brand, as they were the first ’brand’ campaign that my creative agency completed from beginning to end. It was also really fitting as it was the ‘From Sketch to Store’ concept, which really was the full circle. Happy 50th Anniversary French Connection - long live FCUK!” - Rankin 



In 2018, we were making moves across the pond, where we started to showcase collection at New York Fashion Week. Then in 2019, we opened our exciting new concept store on Duke Street, and to this day it continues to be a hub of inspiration and connection.  




Fashion goes beyond just the garments, it's a form of expression, creativity and influence. It's an art that creates a powerful connection. At the heart of our brand story is you, our community. Since 1972, we've been inspiring, exciting and connecting with you, our community. 



The community has always been at the heart of our story. We're celebrating our 50th Anniversary by recognizing and empowering the people who have made the brand what it is today, our global community.  




“From NYC to London, French Connection has helped define so many parts of my journey - having now lived on both sides of the pond, it's a brand I've had the pleasure of both working with and wearing as I continue to evolve and become the woman I am today.” - Emily Roberts - @emroberts.m 



“It all started in Norfolk, 11 years ago with my first retail job as a teenager at French Connection - it was then that I fell in love with the colours and the shapes of their clothing. French Connection have always been a firm wardrobe favourite of mine, from then right up until now. It’s a brand that fits into my life, no matter what age I was then, to where I am in life now, French Connection just works” - Alex Serruys - @alexincolour 



“My love for French connection dates back to my late teens - there was a dress I adored that I saved for ages. It was bandeau, structured and a heavy winter fabric. I wore that dress non-stop for years. I also have such fond memories of my first FCUK t-shirt. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Happy 50th anniversary FC! Thanks for the memories x” - Millie Cotton - @millie_cotton 



“How wonderful to be celebrating 50 years of French Connection! I grew up admiring the FCUK collection as a teen - it was the epitome of cool and had the provocative, rebellious spirit you’re always striving to capture as a teen. Now, I always turn to FC for an outfit to make me feel my best. Whether it’s a simple, quality suit, or a special dress, I can always rely on FC to have something that I’ll love. Here’s to many more years of FC!” -  
Eva Kettle - @whatevawears 







This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come...


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