Bowie was one of 10 individuals nominated by leading academics and fashion experts in the October issue of BBC History Magazine for their sartorial style and impact on British fashion history.
Other contenders for the title were Queen Elizabeth I; Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; and original dandy Beau Brummell, a fashion icon who reputedly spent six hours a day getting ready. The trio received 13.6 per cent, 9.5 per cent and 8.4 per cent of the votes respectively.
Less obvious nominations for the accolade included Henry III, a monarch known for his love of luxurious fabrics; Whig politician Charles James Fox and 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys.
David Bowie was nominated by designer Wayne Hemingway. Speaking to historyextra about why he believes Bowie deserves to win, Hemingway said: “Bowie has profoundly influenced so many of us. The first concert I went to on my own was David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane tour at King George’s Hall in Blackburn in 1973.
“After the gig, I went out, got my hair ‘feathered’, bought a tight-fitting canary yellow T-shirt from Clobber and Bowie’s album from Ames Record Bar. The next day we read in the Evening Telegraph that he [Bowie] had been banned from Blackburn for wearing one of his costume changes – the white sumo knickers. We all wanted to get banned too.
“Here was a creative genius who understood art and design, looked cool, inspired us and upset the establishment. All these attributes lead to things that drive humankind forward… change”.