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Next Directory -
a major influence on High Streets throughout the UK since 1982

The NEXT retail chain launched in 1982 and ever since has been a major influence on shaping the future of fashion retailing. catalgoue -1-cover (77K)

NEXT Directory, the ground-breaking mail order operation, launched in 1988 with a hardback book containing 350 pages, creating the blueprint for catalogue retailing. There are over 2000 pages in the Autumn/Winter 2008 book offering extensive collections for women, men, children and everything for the home.

Online shopping was launched in 1999 and the entire catalogue is available to shop from on the internet, page by page - another first in Home Shopping in the UK.

The History of NEXT in the 1980's
  • 1864 - J Hepworth & son, Gentleman's Tailors was established in Leeds.

  • 1981 - Hepworth bought the chain of Kendalls rainwear shops to develop a Womenswear group of shops called NEXT.

  • 1982 - The first NEXT womenswear store was opened on 12th February. There were 70 shops by the end of July.

  • 1984 - Launch of NEXT for Men in August. By December there were 52 shops. The first mini department store in Edinburgh opened incorporating womenswear, menswear, shoes and a café.

  • 1985 - Launch of NEXT Interiors range of soft furnishings for the home in August. First department store with womenswear, menswear and interiors opened in Regent Street, London.

  • 1986 - Parent company, J Hepworth & Son changed its name to NEXT plc. Acquisition of Grattan plc (mail order company).

  • 1987 - Launch of NEXT childrenswear.

  • 1988 - Launch of NEXT Directory in January. David Jones appointed Chief Executive of NEXT plc.

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    What's happening in the UK in the 80's?

    On the 21st June 1982 Diana, Princess of Wales, gave birth to a boy sixteen hours after checking in to St Mary's Hospital, in London. William, was born at 21:03 BST, weighing 7lb 1½oz and later that year Princess Grace of Monaco died of the injuries she sustained in a car crash near Monte Carlo.

    Argentina invaded the British territory of the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic. The islands, off the coast of Argentina, had been a cause of friction between the two countries since Britain claimed them in 1833. Channel 4 went on air for the first time and began broadcasting with Countdown. The government gave the go-ahead for satellite television.

    A Pan Am jumbo jet with 258 passengers on board crashed on to the town of Lockerbie near the Scottish borders. In total 259 people aboard the flight and 11 on the ground died in the crash which took place 38 minutes after take-off. Health minister Edwina Currie provoked outrage by saying most of Britain's egg production was infected with the salmonella bacteria.

    The average house price doubled from £24,000 in 1982 to £48,900 in 1988, the anti depressant Prozac was introduced and the first CD player was sold in Japan.

    You might have enjoyed watching Chariots of Fire, An Officer and a Gentleman, or ET at the cinema. and you may have sung along to Fame by Irene Cara, Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners or I should be so Lucky by Kylie.

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    Fashion in the 80's
    The Next Directory has always offered quality classic fashion with a twist,with clothes for everyday, weekend and special occassion , So what was the fashionable woman wearing in the 80's?

    At the start of the decade ra ra skirts and legwarmers were all the rage, no doubt influenced by the hit TV series Fame, all in one boiler suits were also in evidence! As the decade progressed masculine tailoring, shoulder pads and ankle socks with flat shoes was a popular look,again the hit TV show Dallas probably had an influence

    The first Next Directory in 1988 had just 350 pages and featured real fabric swatches. Skirts were longer, just above the ankle and alongside the Nautical look, the collection also featured an English country garden look and a retro 50's American look...just think Bananarama!

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Go to Next Directory at to get more information regarding the Next catalogue website and this site also reviews all the home shopping mail order catalogue websites available in the UK.
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