It’s half a century since Margaret Howell first ran her fingers over the cotton of the white shirt she is holding, but it still elicits a grin. “It’s that I was excited about,” she says, “Do you feel it? I wanted that softness, proper shirting and all the detail of buttons and buttonholes, but without any of the stiffness.” That feel was something she had first found in markets and jumble sales after she left art school in London in 1969. She initially used to refashion the old Jermyn Street shirts she rummaged for, and then, having sourced the precise weight of Egyptian cotton from David & John Anderson in Glasgow, started to make her own. The shirt Howell is holding is in the basement archive of her shop on Margaret Street in London. It is “filed” on a rack with some of her other original pieces, all made nearly 50 years ago, and lovingly retained, along with drawings and adverts and photos and press clippings that chart the beginnings of her eponymous brand. From those beginnings Howell has established not only her landmark Wigmore Street store up the road, but a global presence that includes outlets in Paris and Florence and New York, more than 100 shops in Japan and revenues in excess of £100m a year. Read more at The Guardian.