Jasper Conran was born in 1959, in London, the son of Sir Terence Conran, who has influenced British and European home furnishing design since the 60's. He founded Habitat where homes were built on authenticity and and design integrity. His mother is Shirley Conran who is a successful writer and journalist. She was Woman's Editor of the Daily Mail. She organizes "Mothers in Management" a group formed to help working mothers.
Conran studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York from 1975 to 1977, and his first collection was produced for Henri Bendel in the United States. He returned to the UK and worked briefly for the British company, Wallis, as design consultant, producing its Special Label. He introduced his first independent womenswear collection in 1978 showing black cashmere trousers, and coats and jackets lined with cream satin.
In 1977, he joined the British firm of Wallis as a consultant.
Conran considered Jean Muir as his mentor in fashion style.
In 1978, when he was only 19 years old, Jasper Conran showed his first collection under his own name. For more than two decades, he has retained a simplicity of approach which produces an easy, soft fit that suits many of his society clientele. He uses quality fabrics, cut into comfortable garments, which do not impose themselves on the wearer.
In addition to designing under his own label, he creates a capsule wardrobe for Debenhams, simply called "J". He has a playful sense of humour, an incisive mind and a reputation built on an instinctive knowledge of what a woman wants to wear. Conran has chosen not to give fashion shows, but concentrates on his collections.
In 1985 Jasper launched his Menswear line, which now represents 60 % of his clothing sales. He is a perfectionist and has spent years perfecting the shape of a jacket, months getting the cut of a pair of trousers just right.
In 1992 Jasper Conran joined with Philip Treacy, master hat maker, to design the costumes for a touring production of "My Fair Lady".
In 1990 Conran signed a ten-year licensing agreement with the Marchpole Group Plc, the UK subsidiary of Bidermanns S.A., to produce and market his men's clothing lines. Michael Reiney, managing director of Marchpole, described Conran (Bidermann's first British designer) as a "very talented guy who has not had the opportunity to expand himself to his fullest extent. We believe he has great potential." This arrangement would allow for Conran's menswear designs to penetrate the market in Continental Europe and the U.S., and to expand his men's collection to include coats and accessories. Conran would also be able to produce a more affordable line of menswear as well.
Founded with a loan from his father of about $ 2,000 and since repaid, the Jasper Conran empire now (2004) has a turnover of about 260 million pounds annually. 14 million pounds comes from his signature line, the rest from licenses including from the Debenhams group which offers Conran designer outfits at lower prices.
Jasper has set up a new place in London for everyone to go and buy Jasper Conran's range of womenswear and numerous other products, the house is a Georgian dwelling renovated in modern style. It was originally designed by 18th century architect Henry Flitcroft, and has 5500 square feet area over four floors overlooking Piccadilly.
Conran said that his father took a big hand in the decoration and settings. He didn't sound too enthusiastic though. But he does say that he is very happy being his father's son, although the father's celebrity status is a bit overwhelming at times.
Dubbed the "Calvin Klein of London," Jasper Conran creates menswear and womenswear collections that epitomize urbane, classic lines. As the British Fashion Council's Fashion Designer of the Year in 1986, Conran has balanced British imagination with international chic. His designs are inspired by early garments of Coco Chanel and the American look of Claire McCardell's monastic and "popover" dresses but the outcome reflecting modern sophistication, not retro style. He is known for updated, yet elegant, versions of traditional British tweed suits. Color has been an important factor in the overall look of Conran's collections: i.e., the brightly colored cashmere jackets in cerise, orange, chrome yellow, and mint green, produced for the 1992 collection, and earlier eveningwear in fuchsia, cobalt, and kelly green organza highlighting the clean lines of each garment. Silk separates have since been designed in ice blue, cocoa, bright red, and sorbet tints. As his designs moved into the new millennium, Conran, who continues to be considered one of the most successful designers in the UK, toned down his color pallette. His early 2001 womenswear collection featured baby blues, dusky pinks, white, beige, and black. Skinny tie-belts, diamond prints, and tube tops were reinvented, trousers were low-waisted, and A-line leather skirts and satin frocks were suggested for evening wear. His menswear collection was an updated version of the classic English gentleman look featuring double-breasted jackets, sleeveless pleated shirts, and pinstripes.
Diana, the late Princess of Wales