Our History

We might have seven decades behind us. But at River Island, we don’t feel our age. Our brand is as fresh, exciting and forward-looking as it’s always been. With 300 stores across the world, an award-winning online fashion retail site, one of the biggest in-house design teams on the British high street and a deep commitment to nurturing new talent, we’re one of the most successful fashion retailers in the UK. But watch this space. We’re only just beginning.

Our Timeline

Founded in 1948, Bernard Lewis tried his hand at running his own business by selling fruit and vegetables to the people of London.  He soon changed his product entirely to wool for knitting and found a dis-used bomb site in East London to sell from.  The rest, as they say, is history…

1948

Bernard Lewis starts selling yarn from a dis-used bomb site in East London

1955

Lewis Separates as it’s become known, grows from 5 stores to 9

1965

The 70 store empire of Lewis Separates is transformed in to Chelsea Girl

1982

The first Menswear store is launched under Concept Man

1991

Chelsea Girl & Concept Man are merged to become RIVER ISLAND

1993

The first International store is launched in ROI

2005

RI sponsors Graduate Fashion Week for six consecutive years

2008

Style Insider blog launches offering news on trends & styles

2010

Ben Lewis becomes CEO

2012

The Design Forum is launched in association with The British Fashion Council

2013

Partner with global super star Rihanna

2015

Launch of RI Kids

2018

Launch of RI Home

2019

Will Kernan joins River Island CEO