Joseph Hepworth founded J. Hepworth & Sons, Gentleman's Tailors in Leeds, England, in 1864. The company expanded into a retail giant in the UK during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it specialized in men's suits. In 1981 Hepworth's bought the women's wear retailer Kendall's to complement its men's collection. Management decided to re-brand the vast chain of Kendall's stores under a new moniker, Next. The first Next shops opened in 1982, and they were so successful that executives began converting several Hepworth's stores into Next locations as well. In 1986, the brand relocated its headquarters to Leicester and officially changed the name of the parent company to Next plc.
Though the late '80s and early '90s saw financial turmoil for Next, it eventually recovered and revamped its branding strategy to appeal to a wider demographic. Long committed to providing exemplary retail and catalog shopping experiences, it also added an ecommerce option in 1999. Next expanded internationally during the early 2000s, and it officially brought home shopping to the U.S. in 2009. In 2012, Next became the largest clothes retailer in the U.K. by sales. Today, the brand operates about 550 stores and has a presence in more than 70 countries across the globe.
Babies & Kids Merchandise
Since the mid-'80s, Next has been making and distributing high-quality apparel for men, women, and children. Baby clothes are classic and traditional with a distinctly European flair. For infants, you can find sleepsuits, rompers, bodysuits, bibs, tights, leggings, booties, and blankets, as well as specialty items like outerwear and pram shoes. Clothes for slightly older babies include cardigans, dresses, t-shirts, and more. Apparel for younger boys and girls (3 months to 6 years) are perfect for any occasion. They include graphic tees (many with licensed prints), jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, jackets, sweatpants, overalls, swimwear, and a selection of formalwear for special occasions. The collection for older boys and girls (ages 3 to 16) puts more of an emphasis on style while still focusing on comfort. You'll find plenty of casualwear, schoolwear, activewear, and more.
Women's apparel is another major category for Next, and options run the gamut in terms of style. Dresses are available for practically any occasion, and you can also find a wide array of tops, blouses, and tunics. Jeans feature the most popular cuts and washes, while shorts and skirts round out the brand's bottoms. Working women can choose stylish jackets and suits to wear to the office. Lingerie is a category all its own, and Next is a supplier of lots of different bras, panties, shapewear, and sleepwear. In shoes, you can find sneakers, boots, booties, sandals, pumps, flats, and more.
Though it has only started to make a name for itself stateside in the last few years, Next is a universally recognized brand in the U.K. With a long heritage that dates back more than 150 years, the company has successfully entered almost every major clothing niche and category imaginable. Next clothes blend traditional design with quality construction, and they are somehow simultaneously quaint and fashion-forward. Though apparel isn't exactly cheap, it is still more affordable than many domestic brands and is also a great choice for buying secondhand. We give Next 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1864 (J. Hepworth & Sons)
- European general apparel
- Sold at:
- Next stores and online
- Types of items:
- Bodysuits, sleepsuits, onesies, beanies, bibs, dresses, skirts, t-shirts, jackets, leggings, rompers, blouses, graphic tees, tunics, shorts, jeans, activewear, suits, formalwear, trousers, sweaters, cardigans, sweatshirts, hoodies, swimwear, bras, panties, shapewear, sleepwear, shoes, boots, sandals, home décor
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