Marks & Spencer style director Belinda Earl has been awarded an OBE for services to retail in the Queen’s Honours List published today.
Earl, one of the high street’s most high profile women, has been with the retail giant since 2012 and prior to that was CEO of Jaeger during the tenure of Harold Tillman, who sold the business in 2011. Before Jaeger Earl was CEO of Debenhams, a business she joined in 1985, after a stint with Harrods following her graduation from the University of Wales in 1983.
Earl is also a patron of retail sector skills council Skillsmart, a fellow of the City & Guilds Institute, a fellow of the University of Wales, and a member of the Positive Fashion Committee, a key pillar of the British Fashion Council.
Also honoured on the list are entrepreneur Adetola Kunle-Hassan, founder of Nubian Skin, the lingerie brand for women of colour, and Alison Lowe director and founder of fashion agency Felicities, which champions many emerging designers. Both been recognised with an MBE for services to the fashion industry. Model Erin O’Connor has also received an MBE for services to fashion and charity.
Lowe, who also teaches on several business courses at London College of Fashion and is a founding member of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said of her award: “I am humbled that I should be considered for such an award. I have always been passionate about supporting emerging fashion designers and I have been lucky to work with so many talented young people. I could not have achieved this honour without the support of my daughters, family, friends and the hard work of numerous colleagues over many years.”
The Honours List has been hailed as the most diverse yet. Half the 1,109 names on the list are women, 10% come from a black and minority ethnic background and 6.5% self-identify as having a disability. Prime Minister Theresa May did not pass comment on the nominations this year due to the timing of the General Election but it is said to reflect her desire to make the Honours more about those who contribute to society and their communities, and those supporting children and young people.