Leading article: We're all fashionistas now

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The Independent Online

Time was when returning to this country from abroad was an experience designed to lower the spirits. The rain, the state of the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow Airport - and above all the dowdiness of the national dress. A sea of greys in an era when high fashion was the preserve of the few, not the many.

How things have changed. The über-chic designer Stella McCartney caused a nation of shoppers to cast aside their inhibitions and ingrained habits of queuing to scramble for cheap chic at H&M last week. While Philip Green, already rich beyond dreams, has become even richer still as his reward to himself for turning Topshop around. Once a synonym for teenage tat, Topshop has pulled off the trick, easy to describe but almost impossible to do, of seizing catwalk trends and producing mass market versions at low prices.

Stella, Philip and the unsung army of British fashion designers and entrepreneurs leading the renaissance: a nation salutes you.