PrettyLittleThing tycoon Umar Kamani today vowed to buy Topshop and “take it back to the good old days” as troubled owner ASOS eyes a sale.
Topshop was a British fashion phenomenon from the late 2000s to the early 2010s before ASOS bought it from the ruins of Sir Philip’s Green’s collapsed Arcadia empire in 2021.
Umar – the founder PrettyLittleThing in 2012, before selling his stake for £330m in 2020 and stepping down as CEO in April, announced his interest in the brand on Twitter today.
Commenting on a report about ASOS considering selling TopShop, he wrote: “I would buy this and bring it back like the good old days. It rocks and rolls.”
A purchase would be the latest milestone in the 35-year-old’s extremely successful career. Together with his brother Adam, he founded PLT in 2012 – and expanded it Simple website selling accessories to a global brand now worth an estimated £3.8 billion.
Umar Kamani with his fiancée, model Nada Adelle, at Naomi Campbell’s birthday party in Cannes in May
The couple posed with Campbell and American model Alton Mason
Umar with his father Mahmud, who founded Bohoo with Carol Kane in 2006
The businessman expressed his interest in the brand on Twitter today
Umar is a member of the founding family of Boohoo Group, which today owns a portfolio of brands including Nasty Gal, Coast, Wallis, Dorothy Perkins and Debenhams.
While the Kamanis enjoyed overwhelming success, their family business was at the center of a major scandal after allegations it used sweatshops in Leicester to make cheap clothes.
It was recently revealed that the company is facing a £100 million lawsuit after it was revealed in 2020 that staff were working in terrible conditions and were paid just £4 an hour.
Manchester-based Pretty Little Thing is known for its celebrity staff including Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Little Mix, Gemma Owen and Molly-Mae Hague, who is also the online giant’s creative director.
Umar is often photographed rubbing shoulders with A-listers such as Naomi Campbell, Paris Hilton and Liam Payne. Now a celebrity in his own right, over the years he has handpicked the talent he wanted to see in his fashion clothing brand.
But after a decade in the hot seat, he announced in April that he was stepping down as CEO, having previously sold his remaining 34 percent stake in PrettyLittleThing to Boohoo, which is run by his father Mahmud.
Umar is engaged to model Nada Adelle after proposing to her with a £1.45 million ring in 2021. Today a source insisted he was “serious” about buying Topshop and wanted to rescue the brand from its current downturn.
They told MailOnline: “He is confident he can return the company to its former glory in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when it became a fashion powerhouse.”
“Umar has a proven track record of incredible entrepreneurial and marketing skills, as evidenced by his previous ventures at PrettyLittleThing and more recently in real estate.”
“He was particularly innovative in using influencers to drive sales and his financial expertise is well documented.”
Umar’s father Mahmud co-founded Boohoo with Carol Kane in 2006 and the site quickly became a success because, unlike competitor ASOS, the brand only sells its own clothing, increasing profit margins.
Umar with Kylie Jenner at a 2016 PrettyLittleThing launch party in Hollywood
A purchase would be the latest milestone in the 35-year-old’s extremely successful career
The family’s fashion empire traces its roots to their grandfather, whose wholesale textile business, sourcing garments from India, became a major supplier to high street stores such as New Look and Primark.
During his decade as Director and CEO, Umar has made PLT attractive not only to the masses but also to his celebrity friends whose popularity has given the brand the desired effect.
Love Island viewers are now linking the most successful islanders to signing partnership deals with PLT after Molly-Mae continues to work with the company.
Last year, Umar personally selected Gemma Owen and Indiyah Polack as ambassadors, and in September PLT launched its first marketplace where users can buy and sell used outfits.
In recent weeks, PrettyLittleThing has also signed Katie Price and Peter Andre’s teenage daughter Princess and opened its first London showroom.
Umar founded PrettyLittleThing in 2012 before selling his stake for £330 million in 2020 and stepping down as CEO in April
Topshop was originally founded in the 1960s and enjoyed its heyday under the one-time king of the British high street, Sir Philip Green
While the Kamanis enjoyed overwhelming success, their family business was at the center of a major scandal after allegations it used sweatshops in Leicester to make cheap clothes. It turns out that workers at this factory in Leicester earn £4 an hour
The brand, which also has exclusive spaces for its VIP clients in Paris, Miami and Los Angeles, celebrated the opening with a huge party attended by Liam Payne and Molly-Mae, among others, and a performance by ArrDee.
Umar has other business interests outside the fashion industry and this year broke the record for Dubai’s largest ever property sale by selling part of Jumeirah Bay Island for 128 million dirhams (£28.07 million).
It was the second time he had broken the record in a month, after selling a 30,000ft undeveloped “sand pile” on the island for over £27 million in April.
The fashion entrepreneur bought the property just two years ago for a modest $20 million (£16.1 million) and made a total profit of around £12 million from the sale on May 11.
The total amount of land sales is almost $70 million (£56.34 million).
Located off the coast of Dubai, Jumeirah Bay Island is known for its exclusive properties and panoramic views of the city skyline. The new record underlines the high demand for high-quality properties in the region.
Umar with his girlfriend Nada Adelle in Monte-Carlo, Monaco
If his plans to buy Topshop go ahead, Umar would face a major battle to revive the company.
Originally launched in the 1960s, it enjoyed its heyday under one-time British shopping king Sir Philip Green, who rose to prominence for its fast, affordable fashion and high-profile collaborations with designers and celebrities.
The brand – owned by the billionaire’s Arcadia Group – has been a fixture at London Fashion Week and partnered with supermodel Kate Moss in 2007.
But the party ended in November 2020 when Arcadia came into government following the Covid outbreak.