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Celebrating 50 years of French Connection

Author Rachel Malazarte - 6 minute read

It's not every day that we celebrate 50 years of French Connection. We’ve been inspiring, exciting, and connecting with you since 1972.


Introducing our digital FC50 digital magazine - telling our brand story and celebrating our anniversary through our most-loved campaigns, iconic moments, and words from our wider community.  



This is us at 50. Here’s our story... 



Founder, Stephen Marks, established French Connection in 1972 – a year after the film of the same name was released – and set out with the aim to create design-led, fashionable clothing. Then in 1976, the brand then expanded to encompass menswear with the help of French designer, Nicole Farhi.  





Following the success of the brand, in 1983 French Connection was listed on the London Stock Exchange. 


“Reaching a milestone like 50 can be hard in the world of fashion when “new” is so often a key to success, but French Connection has evolved, adapted, and let their design lead the way, so that they are still fashionable five decades later. Happy Birthday FCUK.” - Lisa Smosarski, Stylist Editor-in-Chief & Board Director. 





In 1997, the abbreviation FCUK was born after Trevor Beattie visited the French Connection offices and noticed the abbreviation FCHK on an internal memo, standing for French Connection Hong Kong. From this, Beattie suggested the brand use FCUK, standing for French Connection United Kingdom. In the spring of ’97 a controversial ad campaign featuring the simple line ‘fcukfashion’ hit the headlines becoming a universally recognized great fashion moment and the rest as they say, is history.  


“My love affair with French Connection began in my late teens in the '90s.” - Lisa Smosarski, Stylist Editor-in-Chief & Board Director. 





Following the millennium celebrations, we then expanded successfully into complementing licensed products including both men’s and women’s fragrances, accessories, watches, eyewear and footwear.  


"I remember wearing a FCUK top to a NYE party in 2001 and thinking I was the coolest girl there! As a teenager, French Connection was one of the stores I most looked forward to visiting on Oxford Street" - Roya Farrokhian, GQ Style, Commercial Fashion Director   





In the twenty tens, our advertising campaigns continued to be a talking point. One memorable campaign you may remember was “From Sketch to Store” in Autumn/Winter 2013. This was our first campaign with photographer Rankin's in-house agency, featuring sketches of our designs superimposed onto naked models, showcasing the fearless nature of the brand and our design credibility but with a twist. 


"Like most people in the UK, I’ve been familiar with French Connection from its inception, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to work with them. The brand has produced some incredible campaigns with that characteristic cheeky French Connection humor. But I’ll always have a soft spot for the brand, as they were the first ’brand’ campaign that my creative agency completed from beginning to end. It was also really fitting as it was the ‘From Sketch to Store’ concept, which really was the full circle. Happy 50th Anniversary French Connection - long live FCUK!” - Rankin 



In 2018, we were making moves across the pond, where we started to showcase collection at New York Fashion Week. Then in 2019, we opened our exciting new concept store on Duke Street, and to this day it continues to be a hub of inspiration and connection.  




Fashion goes beyond just the garments, it's a form of expression, creativity and influence. It's an art that creates a powerful connection. At the heart of our brand story is you, our community. Since 1972, we've been inspiring, exciting and connecting with you, our community. 



The community has always been at the heart of our story. We're celebrating our 50th Anniversary by recognizing and empowering the people who have made the brand what it is today, our global community.  




“My love for French Connection and its reliably on-trend offering runs deep—right back to my days styling & producing the fashion shows at Dublin City University long before I began my career in NYC. And as a young shopper, I’ll always remember the excitement of going into that airy Powerscourt Center store in Dublin (and up and down the glass staircase!!) with whatever babysitting money I had at the time burning a hole in my pocket as I tried to hunt down my latest sequin obsession.”
- Freya Drohan - Executive Fashion Director at The Daily Front Row



“Last year, I teamed up with French Connection for my first art collaboration ever. It was a beautiful project together with friends and I was given the platform to share my creativity freely.
I'm forever grateful for that opportunity and FCUK will always feel like family”
Demit Omphroy - Artist



“I remember becoming aware of French Connection back in high school when the cool girl European brand finally landed in town, instantly making the one mall that housed it the superior mall. Every day on my commute to school, I’d pass by those iconic sweatshirts emblazoned with a large FCUK on the chest, harbingers of my style aspirations. It wasn’t until a few years later during university that I'd be able to make one of their pieces mine: a gorgeous tasseled flapper dress that I didn’t need at all, but that I also very much needed, you know? It turned out to be a solid investment, because I still have it to this day and I take it out for a spin (literally–it's a great dancing dress) once in a while.”
Hélène Heath - Content Creator and Freelance Writer



In 2019 W.A.F.F.L.E had one of its biggest annual dance events. Not only did French Connection help sponsor, they sent over a bunch of merch for us to give away as prizes. Two years later, it’s 2021 and it’s time for another event. This time we switched things up collaborating on T-shirts that shook the culture. With bold statements like “FCUK WAFFLE” “FCUK LITEFEET” “FCUK SHOETRICKS” everyone wanted one. Wearing the brand is more than just throwing on a clothing item, it gives you the opportunity to express yourself as an artist/individual.” -  
Joel Kozik - Dancer and Co-Founder of W.A.F.F.L.E



“French Connection will always feel like home. It was one of the first big brands I worked for when I officially signed as a model in New York. I was received beautifully by the team and remember feeling welcomed and incredibly loved. It will always feel like home to me even when I walk into a French Connection store in a different city where no one knows me.” -  
Munira Maltity Zul-qa - Fashion Model



“French Connection was the first fashion brand I started working with as a content creator when I moved to New York. I was obsessed with the clothes and their longevity! I loved wearing their signature floral dresses in the summer and super cozy coats and sweaters in the winter. They were/are a staple in my wardrobe. With time, I started developing a close relationship with the brand, especially the team leader Kristi, who organized so many cool activations and events that really put the brand name out there on social. Fast forward a few years and I am now the one managing the social media accounts and influencer partnerships in the US (with her guidance :))! My relationship with the brand has somehow come full circle and I couldn’t be more grateful. Happy 50th Anniversary to my French Connection family!” -  
Tesa - Social Media & Influencer Marketing at French Connection







This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come...


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