It has more than 850 stores throughout the UK, but Marks & Spencer’s history dates back to a penny bazaar opened in Leeds in 1884.
And staff from the high street giant have recently been digging through its fashion archive in the city for a new 31-piece womenswear collection to be launched in April.
The new collection, inspired by M&S’s extensive archives in Leeds, is being launched with TV presenter Alexa Chung and will be called Archive by Alexa.
Ms Chung and the M&S design team say they are bringing back and updating classic pieces for the 31-piece collection.
M&S said the clothes will have “modern fabrications and an updated colour palette” but will still have “a heritage sensibility”.
Ms Chung was first linked with the retailer last year when she wore a much-talked about 1970s-style suede skirt that helped improve the image of the firm.
Last April helped its clothing division register its first rise in sales in more than three years, albeit for a brief period.
Ms Chung said: “I have always had an affection for Marks & Spencer. I am thrilled to be part of this special and unique project. There was something very touching about looking back through the British fashion and social history for which M&S is synonymous.”
Marks & Spencer was formed in 1884 when Michael Marks, a Polish refugee, opened a market stall in Kirkgate Market, with the slogan ‘don’t ask the price, it’s a penny’.
In 1894 Marks went into partnership with Thomas Spencer, a former cashier from the wholesale company, Dewhirst.
Last month M&S said chief executive Marc Bolland is to bow out in April after a six-year battle to turn around the high street giant.
He will be replaced by M&S veteran Mr Rowe, who has been with the group for more than 25 years and was recently promoted to head its general merchandise business.
Details of the change at the top came as M&S revealed that like-for-like sales in its general merchandise arm, which includes clothing, slumped by 5.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 26.