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TRUE COLOURS HAPPY BIRTHDAY The brands celebrating big anniversaries this year RETAIL SCENE WWB visits two of Cheltenham’s most coveted indies SOMETHING SPECIAL Occasionwear retailers discuss the challenges and opportunities of their sector

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C O N T E N T S / M A Y 03



Occasionwear retailers discuss where the market is heading

34/ S P E C I A L O C C A S I O N Short order styles for the party and wedding season



WWB visits two of the town’s best boutiques



A preview of the next edition of the sourcing show







Expert e-commerce advice



With Holly Allenby, founder of ethical store The-Acey



06/ N E W S 10/ B A C K S T A G E 12/


Your views on the issues shaping the industry

14/ I N T E R V I E W With Sven Segal, CEO of ethical footwear brand Po-Zu



18/ S H I R T S & B L O U S E S The key pieces channelling this season’s hottest trend to get in-store now

20/ R A C I N G C E R T A I N T Y How Canadian brand Joseph Ribkoff has gone from strength to strength in its 60-year history



Spotlight on the brands celebrating big anniversaries this year




WWB’s selection of short order brands to top up your in-store offer


C O M M E N T / 05

Editor Isabella Griffiths Contributors Christina Williams Victoria Jackson Laura Turner Writer Rebecca Jackson Design & production Michael Podger

Editor’s comment Isabella Griffiths

Clive Holloway James Lindley Richard Boyle Sales manager Sam Chambers Editorial director Gill Brabham Portfolio director Nick Cook Marketing director Stephanie Parker Reprographics & printing ImageData Group 01482 652323

WWB is published 9 times per year by ITE Moda Ltd The Old Town Hall, Lewisham Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AL. Call 01484 846069 Fax 01484 846232 Copyright © 2017 WWB Magazine Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any written material or illustration in any form for any purpose, other than short extracts for review purposes, is strictly forbidden. Neither ITE Moda Ltd nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication.

Here at WWB we pride ourselves on our good relationships with retailers and we try to stay as closely in touch with you as possible. Part of this is being out and about and visiting independents up and down the country on a regular basis: one of the favourite aspects of my job – and certainly one of the most interesting, too! Last month I took a little tour around the edges of the Cotswolds and dropped into a number of fashion boutiques in Cheltenham and Cirencester (you can read part one on page 36 and more online). All four stores that I visited on the day were hugely successful, individual and had their very own USP, from niche designer labels via premium brands through to the best that mainstream fashion has to offer. If ever anyone was in doubt that independent fashion is alive and kicking, I would urge them to get out there and see for themselves how versatile and inspirational the boutique landscape still is. But don’t just take my word for it – latest statistics published by the Local Data Company shows that the UK is still very much a nation of shopkeepers and that traditional independent retailers opened more shops than they closed in 2016 across the top 500 town centres in Great Britain. In fact, independent shops saw an increase of 159 shops (0.15 per cent) in 2016. This equates to a 36 per cent lift from 2015, where 117 shops were added. Chain retailers, meanwhile, have remained in decline, with a net loss of 896 shops

in 2016 across the top 500 town centres, compared to 498 shops in 2015. It seems that despite the obvious challenges retail and business generally brings, independents are still holding their own. Sure, all the retailers I spoke to admit that you have to work a lot harder for success these days, which is why they are super active in terms of marketing, social media, events, fresh initiatives like wardrobe makeovers or collaborations with stylists or other related businesses, and it was great to see how much gumption and determination there is out there. And since we’re in a bit of a celebratory mood, we have also focused in this issue on some of the great brands who are having a big birthday this year and deserve a big pat on the back and some love. Businesses such as Joseph Ribkoff, Faber or Pomodoro enjoy longlasting success not only because of their consistent commitment to quality and innovation, but also because of the people and personalities behind them, driving them forward. On a closing note, I would like to share some of our own, very exciting news – we have worked very hard behind the scenes and will be unveiling our brand new website, at the end of the month, with not only a beautiful new look but also fresh features and even more content to enjoy. I hope you drop by and check out the site – and as always, let me know what you think; I’d love to hear from you!

WWB is a fashion business publication produced by ITE Moda Ltd. Other titles include MWB and CWB. ITE Moda Ltd is an ITE Group PLC company


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FASHION INDIES REPORT SOLID SPRING/SUMMER SEASON Promotions, events and carefully curated brand edits contribute to positive trading amid mainly mild weather and satisfactory Easter.

Spring/summer 17 trading has been buoyant, with fashion independents reporting solid sales amid early sunshine in March and warmer weather at the end of April, including Easter, and start of May. According to a WWB straw poll, most indies have been proactive in terms of promotions as well as analytical in their selection of labels to drive sales, which has contributed to a strong performance both in stores and online. In Leek, Staffordshire, Anne Morris, owner of Anne Morris Fashion, says after a quiet start to the year, s/s 17 business caught up over the last couple of months, driven also by the arrival of new, fresh labels to the store and a conscious effort to run a series of targeted promotions and events. “So far, s/s 17 is going really well,” she says. “The season has progressed nicely from the start of the year and people are buying for the warmer months. I have introduced a couple of extra brands for the season, including Joseph Ribkoff, Faber and Just White, which all offer fresh colours and something for everyone, from occasions to a smart casual look.” With regards to s/s 18 buying, Morris says she will be focusing on commercial price-points, but will mainly stick to her brand mix with the introduction of a couple of new names. “I always have to watch my price points and stay within budgets, so I will be continuing this focus. I’ll forward-order and then top up as needed mid-season. This works well and allows me to be reactive to different factors such as the weather,” she says.

Sally Longden, owner of Stick & Ribbon in Nottingham, paints a similar picture. “Currently, we are level with last year, which is a positive in terms of the retail market at present. We had an amazing March, which put us back on track,” she says. “Our core products have been our bestsellers this season – jeans, cashmere, basics. The wedding season shoppers are now starting to make decisions, which helps to move the more fashion items. We had a good run up to Easter weekend – as always, the weather plays a big part in Easter trading.” Longden will also mainly be sticking to her current brand mix for s/s 18: “I don’t want to really get rid of any particular brands, but consistent low performers will be dropped. Also, buying from the EU and the fluctuations in the euro will be a major consideration. Our main aim is to keep things as fresh as possible for our regulars and also offer something a little bit different from the average high street retailer,” she says. Tanya Hardy, owner of Orchid Boutique in Louth, Lincolnshire, also concurs. “With the early spring weather having been mainly good, s/s 17 trading has been strong, with casual separates the strongest sellers. I’ve bought fewer occasion dresses this spring, concentrating instead on more transitional and versatile styles. The way sales have been this season, I’m not currently considering making many changes to my buying strategy for s/s 18, however I am always sourcing new and exciting collections to introduce into the shop, to create interest and offer some diversity, so I will keep an open mind,” she adds.


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British womenswear brand Emreco has relocated its head office to Slough, after 91 years based in Glasgow, where the label was established. The new premises will bring together management, design, sales and customer service offices as well as warehousing under one roof. “With fashion being an ever-changing industry, we recognise that we must move with the times as well. Our new home will allow the team to work closely together in a creative hub, where we can be meticulous about our products and service,” says managing director Richard Reinhold. “Obviously, being in the fashion industry, being near London is also of strategic importance and a number of key people have already joined the company as part of this move.” The brand will be exhibiting its s/s 18 collections at Moda Woman and Pure. For more information contact Emreco at its new number 01753 873000 or email

Andy Thompson has been appointed new UK and Ireland country manager for the Veldhoven Group, owner of contemporary womenswear brand Sandwich. The appointment follows the departure of Charlotte McHardy, who left her position as managing director of Veldhoven Group UK at the end of March. McHardy played a critical role in both the acquisition and successful sale of womenswear brand Olsen in December 2016, following Veldhoven Group’s decision to simplify its portfolio and centralise its operations in Amsterdam to focus on its core brand Sandwich. VeldhovenGroup will retain its showrooms, sales team and retail concessions in the UK and Ireland. Thompson has had a longstanding career in the fashion industry, having most recently worked with Danish group DK Company.

REVENUE BOOST FOR TOAST British lifestyle brand Toast has reported a 17 per cent increase in full year revenue to the end of January. Growth was boosted by the a/w 16 collection and continuity product, which saw an 81 per cent increase in full-price sales versus the prior year. Growth was positive across all channels over the full year, with e-commerce lifting 20 per cent and retail 14 per cent and full-price sales replacing markdown. A new store was opened in Cambridge during August, bringing the total number of standalone stores to 12 nationwide. The performance is attributed to an increase in demand and higher average order value. “Our full year results are very strong despite challenging UK trading conditions. Revenue has increased against last year as we have refined our product range to create a collection that is increasingly appealing to our growing customer base,” says CEO Suzie de Rohan Willner.

SOLID GROWTH FOR ONLINE SALES UK online retail sales were up 13 per cent year-on-year in March, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This represents a solid performance as Easter fell in March in 2016, while it was in April this year. The continued positive growth for online retail sales appears to be driven, at least in part, by higher average basket values through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) for both multichannel and online-only retailers. The total average basket value for m-retail was up by 18 per cent on March 2016, marking the seventh straight month of growth. UNIQLO REOPENS WIMBLEDON STORE Japanese brand UNIQLO has reopened its Wimbledon store, unveiling a refurbished 600 sq m space that stocks the core men’s and women’s ranges as well as kids’. After occupying the space for 16 years, the Wimbledon branch is the oldest store still open outside of Japan. Today the company has more than 1,700 stores in 17 markets. DR. MARTENS OPENS CAMDEN STORE Iconic shoe brand Dr. Martens has opened its 30th UK store in Camden, London. Situated in the Camden Market area, it offers two floors covering approximately 4,000 sq ft and employs a crew of 25. The store is a grade II* listed 19th-century building, originally used as a tack room for horses. With many of the original features still remaining, it is a natural fit for Dr. Martens’ retail concept, which focuses on an industrial and stripped down environment. In addition to carrying the full Dr. Martens range across men’s, women’s and kids’, consumers will get the opportunity to view exclusive, limited edition designs.

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The Swedish H&M group has announced the launch of a new brand, Arket, this year. Offering essential products for men, women, children and the home, the first store will open in early autumn on Regent Street in London and online at in 18 European countries, followed by stores in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich. Arket, which means ‘sheet of paper’ in Swedish, is currently in production in collaboration with designers, buyers, pattern makers, architects, writers, chefs and more and is billed as a ‘modern-day market’. The range includes men’s, women’s and children’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections as well as a homeware department – all composed of Arket’s own products alongside an edited selection from other brands. Selected stores will also include a cafe, based on the New Nordic Kitchen and its vision of quality ingredients and healthy living.

German fashion house Gerry Weber has launched brand-specific online shops for its three lines Gerry Weber, Taifun and Samoon, with respective websites, and The overall marketplace offering all Gerry Weber core brands has also been relaunched at All four online shops are connected to a single shopping cart, allowing consumers to switch conveniently between the individual sites. Numerous new features such as the extended filter functions, more detailed navigation and an optimised search function have been introduced, while additional features and functions will be implemented in the coming weeks and months. Gerry Weber’s branded online shops continue to grow. In the past financial year 2015/16, the Gerry Weber Core online shops generated sales revenues of ¤26.1m, up 10.3 per cent on the previous year.

EARLY SIGNINGS BOOST MODA’S S/S 18 LINE-UP National trade exhibition Moda has confirmed that a significant percentage of last season’s exhibitors have already committed to the s/s 18 edition. The show has revealed a comprehensive lineup of returning and first-time labels across its menswear, womenswear, footwear and accessories product categories. This season will also see the introduction of Body/Active, targeting the industry’s fastest-growing sector and hosting a range of fashionable and relevant athleisure collections for the womenswear and sports-specific sector. Moda Woman will showcase the likes of Steilmann, following its successful return in February, while other key returning labels include Thought, Lily & Me, Michaela Louisa, Tilley & Grace, Peruzzi, Marble, Pause Café, Latte, Naya, Rino & Pelle, Smashed Lemon, Foil, Tivoi, Emreco, Brakeburn and Eva Tralala. Moda takes place at the NEC on 6 to 8 August.

ACTIVEWEAR STARTUP SECURES INVESTMENT Activewear startup Every Second Counts has successfully completed a £1m investment round to fund its next stage of growth in the UK and overseas. Singapore sports retailer Triple Pte has acquired a strategic minority stake, in return for a £1m fund injection and a commitment to grow the brand’s distribution in Asia, with Triple acting as the distributor across the region. Every Second Counts was launched in 2014 by ex-magazine fashion director Sally Dixon, merging the boundaries of sportswear, leisurewear and ready-towear. LOVE BRANDS EXPANDS WITH RYUJEE Fashion distribution agency Love Brands has expanded its portfolio with the addition of Japanese brand Ryujee. Ryujee is a Japanese brand born in 1978 in the district of Ginza by Ryujee Takeshi. The modern, clean, minimalist influences from Japan have been re-interpreted for an international customer, blending a Parisian lifestyle mood with active technological fabrics. Offering retailers on-trend contemporary womenswear and menswear – the latter to be launched by Love Brands for s/s 18 – Ryujee currently has around 60 stockists, with its core target the 25-55 age group. VICTORIA GATE NAMED BEST SHOPPING CENTRE Victoria Gate in Leeds has been awarded Best Shopping Centre in the MIPIM Awards 2017. Part of MIPIM, the industry’s largest real estate exhibition, the MIPIM Awards honour the most outstanding and accomplished projects around the world, with Victoria Gate competing against Lee Tung Avenue, Hong Kong, Morinomiya Q’s Mall BASE, Japan, and Parc Central, China. Adjacent to the city’s Victoria Quarter and forming part of the new 53,400 sq m Victoria Leeds shopping destination, Victoria Gate is anchored by a flagship John Lewis, the largest outside London.

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Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council and Professor Christopher Moore, director of the British School of Fashion, Glasgow Caledonian University, have launched the British Fashion Council’s British High-End Manufacturers Database. Forming the first milestone of 2017 for the BFC’s Positive Fashion initiative, the free-to-use national database of UK-based manufacturers aims to make it easier for designers to form supply chain relationships and reach production units. The initial manufacturers recommended for the British High-End Manufacturers Database were sourced through designer recommendations as well as through research, with the list expected to grow organically. The database forms part of the BFC Designer Fact File, a business learning platform providing insights and training across a wide spectrum of topics. For more information visit

Following last year’s successful launch, PRS for Music is once again offering fashion independents the chance to win a ‘Music Makeover’ worth £5,000. Devised to showcase and raise awareness of the impact music has on businesses, customers and staff, last year’s competition attracted more than 130 entries, with Accent Clothing in Leeds winning the coveted prize (pictured). For 2017, PRS for Music is once again offering the £5,000 makeover alongside runnersup prizes of £2,500. To enter, retailers need to have a valid PRS for Music licence and complete the quick entry form online on www.prsformusic. com/musicmakeover. The deadline for entries is Friday 16 June at 5pm. PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced.

VOLO COMMERCE EXPANDS FASHION FOCUS Multi-channel software and service provider Volo Commerce is expanding its fashion client base, with an increasing number of fashion retailers using the company to grow their businesses across multiple online marketplaces and channels. Providing an easy-to-use e-commerce system, Volo’s services include business review, account management, reporting and analytics. The Volo platform automates multichannel business from purchasing through to fulfilment and post-sales customer service. The company’s dedicated team of account managers ensures a smooth transition, while analytics tools provide information on revenues, profits and cash flow. Volo is already servicing a large number of fashion e-tailers and is planning to extend this focus further across womenswear, menswear and childrenswear stores. For more information visit

WHOLESALE PLATFORM EXPANDS BRAND LIST BrandLab, an online platform for wholesale fashion which was launched at the end of last year, has signed over 200 brands to its site, varying from emerging designers to large international labels. The platform, which is free to join, gives fashion brands access to a network of global buyers, as well as providing them with professional pictures and videos of their collections and creating personalised marketing content on social media. BrandLab is actively expanding and forecasts signing a further 500 brands within the next nine months. UK RETAILERS TACKLE MARGIN SQUEEZE WITH SECONDARY REVENUE More than two thirds of retailers are exploring secondary revenue options to boost profitability, new research conducted by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Webloyalty reveals. In the report, Beyond the Core, 67 per cent of UK businesses surveyed reported that at least one per cent of their revenue comes from secondary sources, with 18 per cent deriving at least a fifth of their turnover from noncore profit lines. Examples of secondary revenue methods include affiliate marketing, selling advertising space, cross-selling additional products and services and offering credit. MEADOWHALL DEVELOPMENT ENTERS SECOND PHASE British Land, joint owner of Meadowhall in South Yorkshire, has announced six new signings and upsizes totalling over 85,000 sq ft as the £60m refurbishment moves into its next phase. Primark is to extend its existing unit by 21,000 sq ft, creating a 95,500 sq ft flagship store. The increase in size is being facilitated by a move into the former BHS unit. Sports Direct has leased the remainder of the former BHS unit, increasing its presence to 44,000 sq ft. Work is already underway, with the new regional flagships due to launch this autumn.

10/ P E O P L E


The events, campaigns and parties not to miss 01/

LIV TYLER APPOINTED FACE OF TRIUMPH ESSENCE Lingerie brand Triumph has announced actress Liv Tyler as the face of Triumph Essence for its global campaign this autumn/ winter. Celebrating female sensuality and body confidence, the campaign has been photographed by Rankin, marking a new direction for the Triumph Essence brand. Suzanne McKenna, global head of brand at Triumph, says: “Liv Tyler encapsulates everything synonymous with Triumph Essence. Beautiful, elegant and exuding female confidence, she truly is a modern woman in every sense, a mother and actress with a fierce sense of femininity that women across the world can relate to.” 02/

JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN SCOOPS TOP ACCOLADES Cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin won two honours at the second annual Made In Scotland Awards, hosted at the Glasgow Science Centre last month. The brand was honoured with the Manufacturer of the Year award before also winning the prestigious Made In Scotland award. Chief Executive Simon Cotton (pictured) collected the trophy on behalf of his teams in Elgin and Hawick. The Made In Scotland Awards champion Scottish innovation and receive entries from a broad spectrum of industries, including manufacturing, recycling, life sciences and food and drink. 01/

03/ HANDBAG CLINIC TAKES UP RESIDENCE IN HARVEY NICHOLS MANCHESTER Handbag Clinic has launched an exclusive new service at Harvey Nichols in Manchester. From cleaning and protection, hardware and stitching work, through to repair and restoration, its expert technicians will restore bags of all brands using specialist procedures. “We are delighted to be working with Harvey Nichols in Manchester; there is a real synergy between its customers and our clients. It offers Harvey Nichols customers a the opportunity to protect, maintain and repair their most loved accessories,” says Handbag Clinic MD Ben Staerck. 04/ COTTON USA COLLABORATES WITH LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY Cotton USA is collaborating with Loughborough University to encourage future industry professionals to make innovative use of US cotton. As part of the partnership, an Innovation Competition aimed at second year students from the university’s Textiles: Innovation and Design programme is launching, with Cotton USA promoting participants’ work to a global network of brands and retailers, giving the undergraduates a platform to demonstrate their technical knowledge and elevate the profile of their creative designs. 02/



12/ O P I N I O N

Talking Point

Your views on the issues shaping the industry Brave new (digital world) – continued

MARTA WISNIEWSKA, owner, Having decided to bid farewell to high rental prices and business rates, and say hello to the endless opportunities of e-commerce with the launch of, I want to share the lessons I have learned so far on the journey. Should you entertain the idea of having a bespoke e-commerce account built by a team of talented developers who will charge an arm and a

A lifetime as a womenswear agent

CLARE MORGAN, owner, Clamor Agency When you are an agent, you target specific shop owners, sometimes for many years. You are desperate for them to view your collection. Then, one day, they agree to see you at their shop, or make an appointment to view at a show or showroom and, hooray, they buy – success at last! However, there is much work to be done before that happy day arrives. Primarily, visiting your existing and potential clients to give you a feel for their customers and if you have a label which can help increase their turnover and your own.

leg for every single mouse click they make, I wish you good luck. However, if your budget is not in excess of a hefty five figures, you need to plan the launch with a digital pencil in your hand, following a cost-effective strategy. The first step is finding a platform that will charge you on a monthly basis for hosting your online store in their virtual space. Think of it as a plot lease – you pay a monthly fee and you can use the plot as much as you wish. These days there are hundreds of hosting companies; you are looking for a provider you can trust and who will not charge a fortune. Just Google “website hosting” and an abundance of offers will be at your hand. I trust you already have a business email but if you are building your business from scratch, having a professional email address instead of a generic Gmail sounds like you are in the knowhow game. Before committing to a specific domain hosting company, read their small print carefully. Often the initial fee increases exponentially in the following year, but most of the time these prices are still acceptable. As a start-up, I had the liberty of creating my brand name from scratch; however if you are already established, and a domain with your

business name is taken by another account, I do recommend altering it slightly. The internet has no frontiers: someone based in India may have come up with exactly the same business name as you and three other people on this planet. Adding the name of the city or street where your business is located is a good idea but try not to make your website address too long. Customers value their time and anything as lengthy as will drive them mad. Instead, opt for You can then select .com,, .org, .biz, and many other domain suffixes (or extensions). You can also buy a full packet of domains with your name and different domain suffixes to ensure no competitor has access to the domain with your name and to increase your online visibility. Once you’ve signed your host contract, start thinking about your next step – building your online store. You have three options. Build it yourself (perfect if you are super tech-savvy), build it from a template, or have a company develop it for you. Fear not, the future is bright. More about solving the website building dilemma next month, so stay tuned.

‘Going on the road’ has improved over the years that I have been in the business. In the beginning I was always getting lost, as my sense of direction leaves much to be desired. Then electric windows became standard so it was easier to lower the window to ask directions. Then hallelujah, the satellite navigation system was invented and I never had to get lost again. My worst experience on the road was when my car broke down in Great Yarmouth. I live near Manchester and thought I had breakdown cover with my bank account, but it did not include taking me and my poorly car back home. I had to sell many more frocks that season to pay for the repairs and my return home. Visiting existing customers and cold-calling is always fascinating. Some appreciate that you have come a long way and would appreciate a drink or a bathroom break, some will even share their lunch with you. Taking a collection out with you is the hardest part, as parking nearby is increasingly difficult these days. Having a sample collection in the shop is always a guarantee that customers will come in and you have to find ways of politely telling them they cannot look at your rail, as they

are not for sale (and they also have wholesale prices on), but it never seems to stop them... I love seeing ‘Jo Public’ trying on new clothes. One such occasion sticks in my mind. A lady came into my customer’s shop during her lunch hour, looking downtrodden. She had come in to find an outfit to wear at her son’s wedding which was to be the first occasion she would meet her ex-husband with his new partner. My customer assured her that she would find something perfect for her. Out of the fitting room she popped a few minutes later looking inches taller and absolutely amazing – such is the power of fashion. Many moons ago, I travelled to Australia to produce a fashion show for a customer. The local TV network picked up that someone was coming all the way from Europe to put on this show and so it was filmed by a ‘One Show’ type programme. Much to my surprise, the voiceover at the end, showing the final couture wedding dress, claimed that the star of the show was actually me, and that I had been “plucked from the typing pool to do the most glamorous job in the world.” An exaggeration on both counts but even so, I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

14/ S V E N S E G A L / I N T E R V I E W

With its sights set on a flagship London store next year, award-winning ethical footwear brand Po-Zu has major plans for growth, including the launch this autumn of its highly anticipated Star Wars collaboration collection. Tom Bottomley gets the lowdown on the future from founder and CEO Sven Segal. Tom Bottomley: How is Po-Zu ethical in its approach to design and manufacturing? Sven Segal: It’s really a combination of ethics and sustainability. We have a toxic-free policy, so our shoes are more sustainable but at the same time we ensure that the workers in our supply chain are treated fairly, not only in terms of how they get paid, but also in terms of their health and wellbeing. That’s something that isn’t always considered in ethical practices. It’s something that I personally feel very strongly about, especially after visiting shoe factories in many parts of the world and seeing workers being exposed to harmful substances like solvent-based glues. Breathing that in on a daily basis can cause various neurological problems, damage internal organs, and even cause cancer. TB: Where do you manufacture? SS: We work with a handful of factories in the north of Portugal. We used to work with one particular factory for many years, but now we have scaled up our capacity and have started working with a few new factories. I must say that not all of them are entirely solvent-free, but we are trying to change the way they work, and they generally welcome our input in terms of protecting their own workers. It’s not a straightforward switch, but they can see the long-term benefits. One of the factories is actually in the process of switching entirely to water-based glues, which is really wonderful to see.


TB: Do you think consumers in general have become more concerned about what they wear and how it’s made? SS: Yes, the awareness is growing, but perhaps a little too slowly. Greenpeace are doing a fantastic job with a detox campaign, not only raising awareness but targeting all those brands who use toxic substances in their manufacturing. Some of the brands are also listening and changing the way they operate. I welcome any small initiative by any of the big brands to start cleaning up their acts, but a lot more needs to be done. The clothing industry is, after all, the second worst polluting industry in the world, and shoe manufacturing is a fair chunk of that. TB: How do you see ethical fashion developing? SS: As consumers become more aware, and are demanding

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greater transparency and better ethics, then the brands are almost forced to change the way they operate, because, at the end of the day, they have to create what the consumers want. So it’s the consumers that have a big say in how the industry will eventually be shaped. The transition can take a long time, but it’s quite clear that the industry is going that way and, as a brand, we are seeing greater interest in our products because of the way we operate, as well as the style of our shoes. We no longer promote the brand purely on ethical and sustainable grounds. At the end of the day, style and comfort are more important factors to attract consumers in the first place. But our message still remains strong and increasingly people feel better about supporting brands that do good. TB: You recently brought Safia Minney in to help grow the Po-Zu brand. Why such a high-profile appointment? SS: Safia Minney joined us as Managing Director in January. She founded People Tree and was CEO for over 20 years. There is a mission to grow the brand significantly in the UK and internationally going forward, and Safia has the right skills and motivation to help us achieve our goals. She wants to make PoZu the go-to ethical footwear brand. Safia is also about to launch a book, called Slave to Fashion, which looks at the stories of men, women and children caught in slavery, making the clothes sold on the high street in Europe and the developing world. The book also profiles best practice of brands and designers within the fashion industry to prove that slave-free fashion is achievable. TB: This autumn sees the launch of your Star Wars collection. How did the collaboration come about? SS: That’s a good question! Basically we were approached by the Lucasfilm team at some point, and it’s just evolved from there. They must have seen and liked the look and style of our shoes, and thought there was a worthwhile connection. There will be some limited edition options, but the collection in general is almost equal in size to our mainline Po-Zu collection. The cobranded Star Wars/Po-Zu collection is quite premium, with a slightly higher price point than our main line. The first collection of three is for this autumn/winter. The initial licensing deal is for three seasons.

TB: Are you also going to be wholesaling the Star Wars collection? SS: We are still in the process of securing some wholesale deals for the last quarter of this year, including potentially with one of the big UK department stores. A pop-up shop-in-shop may also be an option. TB: Are the styles in the Star Wars collection linked to characters in the film? SS: They are indeed, and the shoes are given the names of the different characters too. So there’s Rey, played by Daisy Ridley in the film; Finn and Poe, both male characters, and also Stormtrooper, BB-8 and Chewie styles. The second film in the latest trilogy, The Last Jedi, is due to be released this December, and all the characters are in that too. The shoes are based on what the characters wear in the film. The majority of the styles are boots, and the Rey style is a mid-cut boot with a rear lace-up system. It’s made from a wool tweed and parts of the boot are in a natural cork. The sole is made from natural latex with a built-in coconut fibre Foot Mattress. TB: Aside from the Star Wars collection, what’s new in the mainline? SS: We have been busy strengthening our mainline at the same time, particularly on the women’s side which represents about 70 per cent of our offer – and that’s growing. I would say we are generally taking a more fashion-driven route with our designs. So far, we’ve been more of a casual based shoe brand, with attention to comfort. I’m not suggesting we are now compromising on comfort, because that’s very much what we are about, but going forward we are focusing more on fashion across the board. TB: Do you have any own brand retail plans for the future? SS: Yes, we certainly do. Our plan is open our first flagship store in London next year. We are also looking at a pop-up store this summer and autumn, with the Star Wars collection. That would be a good way for us to test the water before we launch our flagship store in 2018.

16/ F A S H I O N

Style File

The hottest brands not to miss this month q NO SWEAT Athleisure specialist Elle Sport’s a/w 17 Opulence Collection focuses on performance and luxury, featuring the brand’s signature DriActive technology. Whether it’s for a session in the gym or an off-duty look, Elle Sport has it covered in style. Wholesale prices start at £10 for a sports bra or branded T-shirt, rising to £36 for a supertechnical all-weather jacket.

u SUMMER NOSTALGIA Inspired by sun-bleached summers, White Stuff ’s high summer collection is infused with pretty pastels and delicate embroideries. Contemporary ethnic prints are brought to life in a palette of carnation pink and cerulean blue, with natural tones of ecru and stone acting as a neutral base. Broderies and textural detailing add a fresh and nostalgic quality, juxtaposed against the underlying bohemian spirit of the collection.

Italian jewellery and handbag brand Isla Fontaine’s latest collection embraces fine leathers and clean, minimalist shapes. Designer Eleonora Mayerle takes inspiration from contemporary art, design, architecture, photography and fashion. The colour scheme is understated and timelessly chic.

t COOL CUBISTS Dutch fashion house ST. Studio’s collection brings Picasso’s cubist influences to life with refined colour blocking, collage-style patchworks and multi-layering combined with modern 3D lace accents. The brainchild of Dutch fashion entrepreneur Olcay Gulsen, who also founded fast fashion label SuperTrash, ST. Studio embodies feminine sophistication whilst maintaining the cool, trend-led aesthetic Gulsen is renowned for.

p FEET FIRST Manchester based footwear retailer Ego has reported average year-on-year growth of 640 per cent since it first started trading in 2015. The brand delivers affordable, trend-inspired footwear with currently more than 500 designs available and new styles launched every week.

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Shirts & Blouses So much more than workwear, today's shirts and blouses in floaty fabrics, new silhouettes and light colours suit any occasion. WWB picks the top styles available for in-store delivery now. 04/





1/ N12H £37 • 2/ GLAMOROUS £11.50 0161 819 2229 • 3/ PAISIE £20 4/ RAILS £63 020 7633 9888 • 5/ RIXO LONDON price on request 020 7460 7683 6/ NEON ROSE £10 0161 835 2064 • 7/ SUGARHILL BOUTIQUE £16 01273 911393 • 8/ WOLF & WHISTLE £19.20 07807 361457 Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale

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PRS for Music launches Music Makeover 2017 competition for fashion retailers Following on from its successful launch last year, PRS for Music is proud to relaunch its Music Makeover competition for fashion retailers with the winning prize of a £5,000 makeover. PRS for Music devised the Music Makeover campaign to showcase and raise awareness of how good music can impact businesses. The quality of the sound system itself, the acoustics, music choice and volume all impact your customer and staff experience. Celebrating the value of music in fashion stores, PRS for Music is also offering a bespoke music consultation from a leading music and technology expert advising them on the best use of music in their store and a launch event to celebrate and promote their win featuring live music from PRS for Music members alongside the £5,000 prize. Last year attracted more than 130 entries, with Accent Clothing in Leeds being crowned the winners. The store, which was also voted Best Fashion Retailer in Leeds in 2016, received a bespoke music consultancy from leading record producer Steve Levine who helped them to revamp the store for live performances as it continues to support the local scene. The £5k prize also allowed them to upgrade their in-store sound system across both floors to improve the shopping experience. Accent feels music plays a vital role in their business; it’s about how customers interact when they come into store and creating an environment that they feel welcome in and can relate to on a personal level. As part of the celebrations, PRS for Music hosted a launch party, where rising Leeds act Bianca Gerald, who was dressed by Accent Clothing for last year’s MOBO Awards, and PRS Foundation-supported Marsicans, also from Leeds, performed live upstairs in the revamped store, gaining prestigious national and regional media coverage. “We’re absolutely thrilled with the result; winning this competition is a huge deal for Accent Clothing,” says Becky Schneider, eCommerce Manager at Accent Clothing. “This has given us the ability to do something that we have wanted to do for years: host high quality live music events in store. With the rise of online shopping it is more important than ever that bricks and mortar stores innovate in order to keep customers returning – they have to be a ‘must-visit destination’ in their city. Thank you PRS for Music.”

For 2017, PRS for Music is offering a winning prize of a £5,000 makeover alongside a runners up prize of £2,500. So do you think your fashion store would benefit from a Music Makeover? To enter you need to: 1. Have a valid PRS for Music licence 2. Complete our quick and easy entry form For full details on how to enter, previous winner information and full terms & conditions, please go to: Deadline is Friday 16 June 2017 at 5pm

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Racing certainty Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Canadian brand Joseph Ribkoff is going from strength to strength and is investing in both its UK base as well as its head office operation as a result. The brand’s CEO John Ferraro tells Isabella Griffiths what’s been behind such global success.

Leading Canadian label Joseph Ribkoff celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and it’s fair to say that the six decades have been marked by extraordinary success. Hailed as one of the key labels across many high-profile indies and regularly topping retail’s bestseller lists, Joseph Ribkoff has never recorded a negative year of trading in its entire history, and its latest financial results reveal yet another 12 per cent increase on the previous year. The obvious question to ask is what the brand’s recipe for such enduring success is, and the best person to answer that is CEO John Ferraro. “I think it boils down to some very fundamental principles – a lot of hard work, a great team, good design, good prices, reliable deliveries and an innate understanding of who our customers are,” he says. “Over the years we have obviously tweaked and adapted how we work to changing market conditions, but on the whole, we have always adhered to these core values that Joseph Ribkoff himself built the foundations of the company on. It’s in our DNA. We have a strong identity, and that’s what drives us,” he adds. Ferraro knows the business inside out, having joined Joseph Ribkoff 24 years ago and worked his way up from the

credit department through customer service, sales, shipping and logistics and almost every department in the company before becoming co-president in 2007 and CEO in 2010. A big believer in constant dialogue with customers – both on retail and consumer level – he spends a lot of his time out on the road, traveling to the 66 export countries Joseph Ribkoff is represented in, and catching up with his teams around the world. “I like to talk to our retailers. I think it’s important to hear first-hand what they need, what the market demands, what their customers want etc, and then put that into practice for the next collection. A close cooperation with our global teams, reps and agents is vital to that, too. They are the people on the ground. A lot has to do with listening and then translating that into the label,” says Ferraro. Joseph Ribkoff is stocked in over 4,000 stores worldwide and 300 accounts in the UK, which is among its top five export countries. The brand is loved for its flattering dresses with a reputation for impeccable fit, versatile separates and more formal occasion styles, providing customers with an adaptable all-round wardrobe that is clearly in demand. The brand recently opened a new showroom in

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Windsor House, Great Castle Street in London to further cement its strong presence in the UK. “We decided to invest in a London showroom again because it helps with strengthening our brand image and generally with PR. It’s a good way of showing our customers the whole Joseph Ribkoff collection and having a central place where they can immerse themselves into our universe,” says Ferraro. Equally, back in Canada, the brand recently expanded its head office with additional premises stretching over more than 6,000 sq m. “We had outgrown our current premises and needed more space to accommodate our various departments and an increasing number of staff, too. The new addition gives us the opportunity to maximise our operational capabilities,” Ferraro explains. With more than 90 per cent of the brand’s merchandise produced in its own factories on-site, one of Joseph Ribkoff ’s selling points is the Made in Canada attribute, which allows the brand to keep a tight rein on production and quality control, something Ferraro is keen to carry on for as long as possible. “We are facing the same pressures as most brands in terms of rising production and logistical costs, but I do believe that the

fact we are still producing in our own factories in Canada is a part of our identity, which we remain committed to,” he says. “It’s a balancing act between maintaining the level of quality that we are known for whilst also adapting to an increasingly fast-paced market, so we are constantly working on improving our production. I think fast fashion in particular is a challenge for most brands; the question is how you adapt and stay ahead of the game.” Perhaps surprisingly for such a global business, Joseph Ribkoff does not operate own stores or an e-commerce set-up but instead remains fully focused on wholesale – which comes as a relief for most of its stockists. “We deliberately haven’t got any own stores – well, we have a few, but they are run as a franchise by people who know what they are doing in their area – and it’s not in our vision to do so. “We put our trust in our retail partners and boutique owners; they have the direct contact with their customers, they know what they want and how to best service them. I don’t think we would be as successful if we tried to take that over. I very much believe in wholesale and the strength of specialist fashion independents, it’s our bread and butter,” says Ferraro, >>>

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who has a similar stance on e-commerce: “You have to be blind to say that e-commerce doesn’t exist or that it’s not successful. But we find that the customer who shops online tends to be a different customer to ours. For the time being we have no plans to go down that route. We have, however, many retailers who have their own e-commerce sites, and rather than competing with them, we have invested in supporting their efforts and being represented online that way.” After 60 years, Joseph Ribkoff continues to evolve, one key effort being to expand its traditional customer base and to capture the next generation of Joseph Ribkoff ladies. “Traditionally our customers are in the 40+ age bracket, but our customer is definitely and noticeably getting younger, and we’re actively working on getting that 25+ lady that we can dress,” says Ferraro. A bolstered design team, as well as new staff across HR, IT and finance helps with this pursuit, bringing new ideas and a fresh dynamic. After all, Ferraro himself is a people person and believes that it’s the people who define the culture of the company. “Our teams and people are crucial. I myself have been lucky enough to work directly with Mr Ribkoff and to

have him as a mentor, and I think it says a lot about a company when staff retention is as high as it is here. Mr Ribkoff ’s mantra has always been to employ people with an ownership mentality, who believe the business is also theirs and thrive to better it, and that has always been my mentality, too,” he offers. Asked about key landmarks in the brand’s history, Ferraro cites the brand’s first expansion into the US market and then into Europe in the 80s and 90s, as well as the company’s rather bold move at the time to add separates to its specialist offer of dresses. “We used to be strictly a dress business, but then, about 20 years ago, Mr Ribkoff could see the market shifting, and he made the decision to move into separates, too, which at the time many thought was a bit crazy. But he was proven right and it was partially this decision which helped grow the business to what it is today,” he says. Joseph Ribkoff rightly has reason to celebrate, and for its anniversary it’s planning a big party at its Montreal HQ later in the year. And Ferraro remains optimistic for the future: “We’ve had 60 consistent years of growth; not many companies can say that. Here’s to more of the same!”

coming soon...

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Celebration time

2017 is set to be a historic year in the fashion world, with a number of key players celebrating milestone anniversaries. Isabella Griffiths takes a look at some of the brands with big birthdays and reminisces with the people behind them about landmark achievements and future plans.

220 years Johnstons of Elgin In the two centuries following its foundation in 1797, just two families – the Johnstons and the Harrisons – have owned Johnstons of Elgin. All of the brand’s production takes place in two mills, one in Elgin, the other in Hawick, where cashmere styles are created for Johnstons and for some of the world’s most coveted designer brands, employing over 1,000 highly skilled textile craftsmen and women in the process. The brand prides itself on unparalleled expertise in cashmere and is the only manufacturer in Scotland with the capability to take natural fibres from their raw state through all 30 stages of the production process, creating sought-after investment pieces that stand the test of time. Milestones in the company’s long history include the opening of its knitwear factory in the Scottish Borders town of Hawick in 1980 and receiving a Royal Warrant of Appointment from the Prince of Wales for manufacturing Estate Tweed Fabric. A more recent landmark came in 2015 with the opening of the brand’s first flagship store in London. “We credit our success to our longterm strategy that ensures continual and steady growth. We have always invested in the newest technology to maintain the top processes, which ensures our products are always the very best. Our close collaborations with industry partners also ensure that there is a mutual respect for our product and quality,” says creative director Alan Scott, who believes that the brand’s ability to adapt to constantly changing market conditions have been crucial in the endurance of the company. “The [market] changes over the history of the brand have been enormous: technology, global markets, consumer habits, and management have all had an impact. The family at the heart of the brand, however, has not, which has helped retain the philosophies of Johnstons over the years,” he adds. Going forward, the brand plans to expand its vertical manufacturing capabilities, introduce new product categories and explore new routes to market. A new creative direction and a refreshed vision will be on display from August, while new offices and showroom in New York pave the way for imminent expansion in the USA.

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70 years Faber Founded by Ernst Faber in 1947 in the Bavarian city of Isaar, German knitwear specialist Faber remains in family hands and is now run by the third generation of the Faber family, brothers Walter and Markus. What started as a small home-run enterprise is now a considerable international business, with agencies and representatives in 11 countries and counting. Remaining true to its values and traditions while adapting to the ever changing requirements of the modern market have been key to the brand’s success, as well as close cooperation with its trade partners, as managing director Markus Faber says: “We have always focused on our own handwriting and haven’t tried to chase short-lived trends or do what others do, and this has been one of the reasons for the longevity of our brand for over seven decades. But I think it’s also the fact that we work in close partnerships with our customers, agents and colleagues, which has also been key and is a cornerstone of our brand philosophy.” Markus and Walter Faber took over the management of the company in 2000, and have been shaping the fortunes of the label since. Key changes have included technical innovations and the switch to CMS knitting machines, product expansion into complementary non-wovens, and developing the export side of the business, which now accounts for over 50 per cent of overall sales. In its anniversary year, Faber is once more investing in its infrastructure and products, with an expanded design and technical team set to build on the current success, and further product extensions in the pipeline. “We want to strengthen the Faber brand further and prove that you can be a family business with traditional values and still adapt, innovate and grow. We have a lot of ambitions for the future, one of which is to ensure that the business is in good shape so one day the fourth generation of the Faber family can take the helm and continue our story,” says Faber. >>>

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70 years Wrangler Celebrating its 70th anniversary year, the Wrangler brand was established in 1947 as ‘the’ jeans brand for rodeo cowboys, as designed by celebrity tailor Rodeo Ben. With women’s styles added in the early 50s, the brand eyed the growing fashion market in the 1960s, and by the early 1970s Wrangler was ‘the’ biggest denim brand in terms of jeans sales. Between 1970-71 the label collaborated with Peter Max, an artist famous for psychedelic art; the collaboration collection sold three million pairs of jeans in one year. Marking both Wrangler’s 70th anniversary, and the 50th of the ‘Summer of Love’, a new collaboration for this year sees a premium, all European-made line for both women and men, which has the same boldly colourful, upbeat feel. While the archive inspired clothes are updated with modern fits, all unisex packaging is a direct replica of the 1970s original. The anniversary collection features high-waisted, hip-hugging straight-cut jeans, shorts, western shirts and jackets, printed sweats and tees. For its mainline for a/w17, Wrangler has also revisited its archives to reintroduce Stone Dyed jeans, originally produced in 1978. There’s also an early 1980s bleach wash, called ‘Wild Wash’, featuring a jacket and a jean. “The 70th anniversary is a prime opportunity for us to get our new focus and brand message across. We want the brand back in the minds of younger and cooler consumers, where we feel it has a right to be. It’s one of the original denim brands, with a fantastic story,” says Sean Gormley, Creative Director at Wrangler. “There’s also now a resurgence of authentic brands, and we’re just trying to make the whole thing more relevant and younger again.”

240 years Dents One of the oldest surviving fashion companies in the world, Dents was founded by master craftsman and skilled leather glove maker John Dent in Worcester in 1777. Thanks to his meticulous workmanship and eye for creativity, Dents soon developed a reputation as a leading leather glove company. From the beginning, it used only the very finest English and French leather and perfected techniques of cut and fit which became world famous as “Dents’ secret fit”. Its gloves and accessories were soon being sought by the famous and fashionable in Paris, New York, Montreal and Sydney. Traditional skills and craftsmanship in leather selection, cutting and glove making have been handed down from generation to generation. Today some of Dents’ fine leather gloves are still cut and sewn by hand, one pair at a time. In the 240 years since its inception Dents has successfully balanced heritage with innovation, and embracing change has been at the heart of the brand’s longevity. Beautiful leather may be the foundation of Dents, but the brand also ensures it stays on top of new materials that are being developed; it was one of the first companies to introduce special touchscreen leather so that customers could wear gloves and still operate their phones and tablets. “One of the most exciting – and challenging – things about working in the fashion industry is dealing with change. If there is one thing that is a certainty in fashion, it is that next year things will be quite different from now,” says chief executive Deborah Moore. “But in any long term business, embracing change is a key factor.” Change, of course, also means investment. In 2011 the company moved into a new, state of the art head offices and factory in Warminster. Last year Dents was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to the Prince of Wales for the manufacture of gloves. “We have been making gloves for the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s time, but this was a very special recognition for us,” says Moore.

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25 years Pomodoro Pomodoro was founded in 1992 by husband and wife team Noreen and Hemant Puri. A chartered accountant by trade, Hemant had the foundation for the financing and management of the business, while Noreen combined her economics degree with a strong eye for style to focus on the design and marketing aspects of the company. In its 25-year history the brand has evolved from a small label with a predominantly s/s offer to a fully-fledged fashion brand with a loyal customer base and year-round products, with coordinated collections that mix key knitwear and jersey pieces in statement colours and prints. Over the years, the brand has grown rapidly and now has a strong presence in over 500 independent boutiques and department stores throughout the UK, as well as an everexpanding stockist base across Europe and the US, though it remains a family business with strong family values at heart, with key milestones of the business intrinsically linked with the personal achievements of the husband and wife team. “Being a family business, in many ways our personal milestones and that of the brand are one,” reminisces Noreen Puri. “Getting married in 1999 was a significant milestone as our wedding became a talking point in the industry. Over half the guests at our wedding were in some way related to the fashion industry and as it was a destination wedding in Egypt, we even shot our brochure on location.” Pomodoro’s success is driven by the passion both Hemant and Noreen feel for the business, and an innate understanding of their customers’ needs. “Our recipe for success is definitely the fact that we love what we do. We have an immense passion for our industry, the people who are involved in it and the product itself. It’s a wonderful thing when a career and a passion come together,” says Noreen, who has witnessed some key changes in the industry over the years. “The market has become more competitive and price conscious, so we have addressed this by sourcing more effectively. With the more recent developments on Brexit and the fall in sterling, we are sourcing and producing a large percentage of our product locally to maintain our prices in spite of the exchange rate fluctuations,” she says. This season, the brand is showcasing ‘Made in the UK’ and ‘Made in Italy’ products which bring a new look to the brand. Dresses remain a key product for the company, though the brand is also increasingly adding lifestyle collections to the mix. For s/s 18 Noreen and Hemant are planning to celebrate Pomodoro’s anniversary in style: “We will definitely be marking the anniversary at the forthcoming trade shows and have a few ideas up our sleeve, which are still in the planning stages,” says Noreen. “But if there’s one thing we at Pomodoro do well, it’s throw a party!”

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Speed Queens





Summer presents an abundance of parties, races, events and weddings, and now could be the perfect time for a mid-season top-up. Rebecca Jackson profiles the key brands available for in-store delivery now.

PEOPLE TREE Widely recognised as a leader in ethical and environmentally sustainable clothing, People Tree partners with Fair Trade producers worldwide to create its range of eco fashion collections. S/s 17 presents a colourful explosion of prints, which vary from floral to tropical. Key styles include the brand’s offering of colourful jumpsuits. Wholesale price range: average £30 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 020 7042 8900,

BELLFIELD The s/s 17 range from Bellfield consists of three major trend themes: Escapism, Pause and Urban Folk. Each theme is designed to create contemporary styling and reworked timeless silhouettes. Overall, the brand presents a collection that’s easy to wear, feminine and also consists of great basic pieces – all of which are effective for layering and outfit building. Wholesale price range: Average £12.50 • Turnaround time: 1-2 weeks Contact: 0844 477 4856,

NEEDLE & THREAD Taking its inspiration from the idea of a whimsical English rose garden, combined with traditional Indian decoration and embroidery, Needle & Thread focuses on colour and femininity within contemporary styling. With design studios in London and Delhi, the bridging of these two territories creates a fresh fusion of directional British design with artisan elements. Wholesale price range: On request • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact:

SUGARHILL BOUTIQUE Known for its statement hand-drawn prints, British brand Sugarhill Boutique turns to the seaside for inspiration with its s/s 17 line. Vibrant candy stripes and mermaid and cherry batik prints can be found on tops and dresses. The brand also presents signature butterfly designs taken from the archives, which feature embroidery details and cutwork finished in Bali. Wholesale price range: £12.15-£23.30 • Turnaround time: 1-3 days Contact: 01273 911393, >>>




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GLAMOROUS For s/s 17, Glamorous continues with the previous season’s cool-girl aesthetic to bring together a collection of wearable pieces which combine feminine details with decorated denim and contemporary sporty looks. Summer denim, inspired by adventurous street style, is updated to include paint splatter, patchwork, bleaching and stitch detail. Meanwhile, floral embroidered denim stays true to the classic brand look. Wholesale price range: £7-£50 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 0161 819 2229,

DR MARTENS Dr Martens presents a diverse offering of footwear that strays outside of its classic 1406 boot. For s/s 17 the brand includes sandals which mix simplicity with the brand’s staple durability and comfort. A specific range of Made in England products are manufactured in the brand’s original Northamptonshire factory, using traditional shoe-making skills. Wholesale price range: Average £47 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 0845 437 3141,

ANGELEYE Established in 2008 out of the vintage markets of London, AngelEye has quickly expanded into an internationally recognised brand. Staying true to its roots, the brand takes inspiration from London’s landmarks and bustling streets. In the s/s 17 collection, bold floral prints and clashing statement colours are balanced by toned-down pastel shades and feminine shapes. Wholesale price range: £8.95-£24.50 • Turnaround time: Next day Contact: 020 8838 5979,

JOSEPH RIBKOFF Statement prints are the standout trend of the season in Joseph Ribkoff ’s s/s 17 collection. From tropical prints to painted plaids, colourful abstract prints, mixed florals/stripes and bold geometrics, prints can be found on most pieces in the line. Bright pinks, reds and blues emphasise the eyecatching theme. Wholesale price range: Average £75 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 01392 876390,

JUS D’ORANGE Based in Paris, Jus d’Orange presents a mix of sophisticated and glamorous designs which focus on creating timeless style. Combining both a chic and modern aesthetic, the brand’s diverse collection ranges in purpose from casual events to more formal ceremony occasions. Wholesale price range: Average £30 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 020 3432 6385, CLOVES AND LACE Inspired by different concepts, the s/s 17 range from Cloves and Lace focuses in particular on the idea of minimalism, presenting an elegant look across the line. Utilising a refined pastel colour palette, the brand weaves different light hues together on the same garment to create a subtle, yet glamorous look. Varied fabrics are also used to the same effect, with white lace playing a key role this season. Wholesale price range: Average £25 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 020 3432 6385,





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TRUE DECADENCE For s/s 17, True Decadence presents a combination of signature feminine ruffles, dusty pastel pieces mixed with bright shades and hints of tailoring to create a bold collection. Silhouettes promote movement and fluidity, as seen via the use of exaggerated ruffle and delicate tulle detailing on mini and maxi dresses. The romantic side of the collection is balanced out by wide legged trousers and culottes in muted shades. Wholesale price range: £30-£100 • Turnaround time: Immediate Contact: 0161 819 2229 PAISIE For s/s 17, Paisie takes inspiration from the French Riviera. Nautical styles are the focus of the season, with Breton tops, powder blue maxis and lightweight white pieces paired with floaty wide trousers and culottes. Toned down and relaxed, the latest collection is a nod towards understated elegance. Wholesale price range: £14-£40 • Turnaround time: 1-2 days Contact:,

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Talking shop Rebecca Jackson quizzes four occasionwear specialists on what is currently influencing their sector and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


CO-OWNER OF BAROQUE BOUTIQUE, ABERGAVENNY, MONMOUTHSHIRE What do you feel has been the key change in the occasionwear sector? Weddings are still the key market. As the economic world offers an uncertain future, we believe people still need something positive to look forward to and what better way than two families coming together to celebrate the love between two individuals? That, and everyone loves a good party! Is spring/summer still your busiest season? Spring and summer are still the predominant seasons chosen for weddings, and they are first choice for proms, as well as the races, with lots of ladies looking for the perfect showstopping outfit for Royal Ascot and the like. However, over the last two years we have noticed that weddings during winter months have become more popular. Venues tend to offer a lower rate in the quieter months of November, January and February and brides are certainly cashing in on this as it means they can have a little more financial flexibility when buying that all-important white dress. What factors are influencing the occasionwear market the most? Social and tangible media are hugely responsible for the influence of ladies wanting to look a certain way for their special occasions. Everyone wants to look picture perfect in the closest thing to what the Royals and celebrities are modelling in the glossy magazines. The biggest problem is the budget they have to do this with, as disposable incomes are increasingly squeezed. What do you consider your biggest challenge as an occasionwear specialist? The biggest challenge is probably the buying stage, trying to bring in the right style in the size that will sell; something you will never get 100 per cent right. What is your future outlook on the industry? I think the future is exciting. There will always be challenging factors that are out of control, such as the economy and politics, or the quality of goods or changes in consumer habits and needs. However, we hope to go from strength to strength by providing first class customer care, offering a beautiful range of fashion forward, high-quality merchandise and generating positive word of mouth advertising and continuing to grow our client base.


What do you feel has been the key change in the occasionwear sector? The variety in style of wedding has been the biggest change in the last few seasons. We’re seeing more unusual venues: fields, woods, tipis and a lot more abroad, not only to traditional wedding islands but to places that people have an association with through growing up or their first holiday. This has demanded a greater choice in what we offer. Is spring/summer still your busiest season, or is this changing? Spring and summer are still the busiest wedding months, with the season being extended through into September and October. What factors are influencing the occasionwear market the most? Social media has a big impact on the market. There is more information online and ideas for weddings, so the variety of functions has an effect on what people will wear. We have to continually work with our existing brands and look for new labels that might offer a different look to what we already stock. What do you consider your biggest challenge as an occasionwear specialist? Our biggest challenge is likely to come with a new generation. Mothers of the bride/groom still very much appreciate the service and advice that is offered in store. They like the fact we do complimentary alterations, we have all the accessories so they can buy a complete outfit in one place and the after-sales service continues. Daughters are more used to accessing information online and they may base their decision on virtual information. If that continues, we need to adapt to that to be ready for when they are looking for their own occasionwear outfit. What is your future outlook on the industry? Our opportunity comes from the same area as the biggest challenge. There is plenty of advice via online/social media on the actual wedding but very little on mothers of the bride/groom and guests. We get asked by mothers for all sorts of advice including how to accessorise, what to do with their hair or what lipstick to wear. Promoting ourselves as experts in this field online is a great opportunity for us.

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What do you feel has been the key change in the occasionwear sector? In terms of occasionwear, a lot of mothers of the bride and groom are certainly wanting something a little different to the ‘uniform’ of a dress and bolero jacket. Mums of the bride also want a more trendy look. Many of them are younger now or certainly dress younger. For some mums of the bride, price is not an issue and our high-end brands have been our strongest selling labels. We always make sure we cater for all budgets; everyone has different priorities when it comes to weddings and you need to make sure you can cater for those requirements in terms of budget and also the wedding venue and style. With regards to proms, the big ballgown look has certainly slipped in popularity. Teenage girls want celebrity-inspired dresses that are slinky and glamorous. Price certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue, with parents prepared to pay over £400 in many cases. We have found that offering a payment plan where our prom customers can spread the cost of buying the dress has helped people to up their spend with us. Is spring/summer still your busiest season, or is this changing? Spring/summer is definitely still our busiest season and this year it kicked off as early as December. It was a real help to have our 2017 collections delivered as early as last November. The wedding market is really seasonless from the customer’s point of view. I am selling outfits now to women who are mothers of the bride and groom in October. They want to get sorted and are under pressure from everyone else asking them what they are going to wear. What factors are influencing the occasionwear market the most? The Duchess of Cambridge and what she wears seems to generate a lot of interest and she has certainly helped to give occasionwear a boost. Women look at her in her formal dresses and jackets and see that you don’t have to look frumpy to be formal. The Spanish designers are also a strong influence and are cornering a lot of the UK market. The fact that finally we are able to offer age-appropriate outfits with sleeves to cover arms and styling to flatter the waistline also helps. Mums of the bride are also much more savvy than they used to be. They do their homework and spend hours online looking at websites and social media. Many are creating Pinterest mood boards which they even bring into the shop to help us understand what they are looking for. What do you consider your biggest challenge as an occasionwear specialist? To keep revitalising the collections and our offering. When it comes to occasionwear, women quite rightly expect a lot of choice. If they are mother of the bride or groom, this is one of the most important days in their life and they need to get what they wear right. They want to be able to see lots of different options. Exclusivity is another area of importance. If a designer saturates an area with a label, it takes away the uniqueness of it for the customer. They don’t want to feel they are wearing something that is commonly available. The labels that have given us a good radius protection perform the best for us and we buy more from them, so it is a win-win situation.

What is your future outlook on the industry? The occasionwear market seems far more buoyant than in previous years, but for it to continue to do so, designers must not rest on their laurels. New looks and styles need to be injected each season, along with the reworked bestsellers. Price point was a big concern for a/w 17. Many occasionwear brands have upped their prices, apparently because of Brexit issues, which has meant some outfits would retail at over £1,000, which is a scary place to go. When you consider many brides can buy a wedding dress for under £500, many mothers of the bride would not entertain spending over a thousand on their own outfit and then having to get the shoes and hats, too. We have noticed that more women are happy to buy occasionwear online and the launch of our new e-commerce site, although a lot of work to manage, is proving fruitful, too. This has to be a growth area as we are one of only a handful of special occasion boutiques in the UK offering the opportunity to shop 24/7. If you are prepared to invest heavily in the occasionwear market and make it your speciality, then it does pay off – with a lot of hard work and dedication.


OWNER OF MARTHA V, NEWMARKET, SUFFOLK What do you feel has been the key change in the occasionwear sector? We have found a significant change is that customers are buying occasionwear much earlier, up to one year in advance. Also, we have seen an increase in younger mums of the bride, who are seeking a more modern look. Is spring/summer still your busiest season, or is this changing? The spring/summer season is without a doubt still our busiest time for occasionwear. Most of the turnover for wedding outfits is in the first three months of the year in preparation for all the summer and early autumn weddings. What factors are influencing the occasionwear market the most? Costs and desire for versatility. When shopping for occasionwear, ladies are looking for an affordable outfit which will take them to numerous events across the year. What do you consider your biggest challenge as an occasionwear specialist? The biggest challenge for us is finding new and exciting styles every season that are a little bit different, and staying ahead of the game. What is your future outlook for the industry? My outlook on the future of the occasionwear sector is to stay positive and loyal to my customer. A key challenge is to improve the market all year round, particularly the later part of the year when occasionwear sales typically decrease. I think that the rise in social media will benefit the occasionwear sector. For us, social media allows the Martha V brand to reach a whole new customer base for occasionwear. Furthermore, it allows us to share content with all our customers to keep them in the know with what occasionwear we currently stock.

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With the season of races, parties and weddings well underway, last minute orders and top-ups needn’t be a problem. Rebecca Jackson selects the occasionwear brands available for short order.

MASCARA Offering a distinctly eclectic collection for s/s 17, Mascara specialises in its signature long length, glitzy and glamorous designs while also introducing new features for the season. Trends include Pure and Simple, a range of gowns with clean lines and elegant draping. The collection utilises rich colours such as wine, forest and teal. Fabrics include silk, jersey, chiffon and lace, in styles which boast smooth, fitted silhouettes.


MAC DUGGAL Mac Duggal presents a diverse collection which ranges from couture one-of-a-kind styles fabricated for red carpet, performance, stage and screen to cocktail dresses and gowns to mark special occasions. Popular features in the collection include streamlined silhouettes, intricate draping and body-conscious shapes. Meanwhile, jewelled, beaded, embroidered and embellished styles grab attention to create more show-stopping looks.


JARLO Presenting a mix of iconic styles in the occasionwear field, Jarlo focuses on figure-flattering designs within its Prom collection. Timeless style is combined with contemporary fabrics and cuts to present elegant designs. Sweeping maxi hemlines mix with attentiongrabbing bodycon silhouettes across a collection of luxe fabrics and embellishment. Colours are kept light and mainly feature pastel hues in the latest offering.


JOHN CHARLES For s/s 17, John Charles focuses on sleeves and presents a number of different options in this area, from pleated cap sleeve dresses to a cut away cape style jacket. This season, the coat design has evolved and is available in a soft chiffon or laser cut into striking patterns which, though less formal than in previous seasons, still offer a chic look.

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SONIA PENA Inspired by the novel Gone with the Wind and its spirited protagonist, Scarlett O’Hara, the s/s 17 collection from Sonia Pena presents a collection of cocktail, party and ceremony style options which revolve around a dreamlike theme. Sophisticated floor-length styles in bright summer colours and bold floral patterns combine with feminine, curve enhancing shapes. Chiffon and lace are used to channel the rebel spirit and romantic sub-themes within the collection.

CARLA RUIZ This season, Carla Ruiz incorporates curve-flattering silhouettes, floaty fabrics and refined details to create an ultra-feminine collection. Presenting refined design details such as patterns applied to sheer fabrics, sophisticated styles dominate the s/s 17 line. With a diverse range of colours and styling options and the contemporary modern woman in mind, the collection has been adapted to cater to a number of different occasions, from races to weddings.




LIZABELLA Established in 2014, Lizabella comprises Mother of the Bride outfits, wedding guest outfits and versatile day pieces. The brand’s main focus is to provide flattering shapes while using high end quality fabrics to keep on trend. Pieces revolve around a stylish and sophisticated aesthetic, while also boasting versatility.

HigarNovias presents traditional designs typically enhanced by delicate details. A broad range of styles, from party to ceremony and bridal, are made and designed in Spain. Styles feature clean lines and sophisticated, feminine shapes which work alongside luxurious fabrics. Some items in the range also feature sheer coverings and lace fabric.

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Cheltenham style With a buoyant independent retail scene, Cheltenham boasts some of the best fashion boutiques in the country. WWB took a trip to the edge of the Cotswolds to visit two indies with very different – but very successful – USPs.

BLUE Run by mother and daughter team Suzanne Temple (pictured) and Chloe Harrison-Temple, Blue is situated in central Cheltenham, in the town’s classy Montpellier area. The Cheltenham store is one of two Blue branches, with a bigger concept store which also includes a furniture and homeware department and award-winning cafe located in Bath. But while the Cheltenham business, which was established 18 years ago, focuses predominantly on fashion, footwear and accessories, the same philosophy and high service standards dominate in both Blue branches. The store stocks brands such as Bitte Kai Rand, Annette Görtz, Rosso, Lilith, Patrizia Bonfanti, 120% Lino, Lurdes Bergana, Mama B, Pret Pour Partir, Rains and Rundholz, specialising in progressive, individual looks that appeal to women of all walks of lives. “We have no stereotypical customer,” says Temple. “Most of our customers are 30-plus, but really, our customer base is varied because our collections are, too,” she says. Named after a blues room in the squash club Temple and her husband used to run before opening the store, Blue has an active social media presence, employing a dedicated social media manager, as well as hosting fashion shows and pop-up events throughout the year. “We try to be proactive and organise a lot of different events and initiatives, both in-store and across our social

media. You can’t be without these days. For instance, a few months ago we hosted a fashion event and we had designer Zandra Rhodes in-store, which our customers loved,” says Temple. “We have a lot of loyal customers and many have become good friends over the years. But we also benefit from passing trade. We have a literature festival here in Cheltenham, for instance, which brings in a lot of people during that time, and that always noticeably boosts our footfall,” she adds. Having been in the fashion business for almost two decades, Temple says that the biggest headaches for independent retailers are business rates and the increasing competition from online stores and chains – which is why Blue has such a diverse and unique product mix. “We are big risk takers when it comes to the brands we buy. We try to offer our customers something that they can’t get anywhere else, but always something we would wear ourselves. You have to be unique nowadays, otherwise, what’s the point?” she says. Going forward, Temple hopes to undertake a major refit of the Cheltenham store later on in the year to give the store a fresh facelift, as well as further pop-up events. “Retail is constant evolution, and you have to keep on reinventing yourself and bringing in the new,” she says.

BODEGA When Sarah-Jane Worboys opened her first store seven years ago, having left her career in recruitment after 14 years, it was supposed to be nothing more than a stopgap. She took over a secondhand shop in Worcester, where she lived at the time, and made her first tentative foray into the fashion world. Fast forward to 2017, and the stopgap has become a permanent – and successful – new career, with Worboys now running two Bodega stores, the original one in Worcester, as well as a Cheltenham branch, which she opened in 2013 after moving there with her family. Named after the Hispanic word Bodega, which roughly translates as a corner shop or convenience store, Bodega’s concept is based around a similar philosophy, namely offering women of all ages versatile fashion “that can take them to a lot of places”, as she says – and fittingly, both stores occupy corner locations on their respective streets, 34 Suffolk Parade in Cheltenham and 24 The Tything, Worcester. Stocking brands such as Access, Yaya, Soya Concept, Nadine Merabi, Paperdolls, Hybrid, Hayley Menzies and The White Shirt Company, as well as a seasonal mix of merchandise Worboys picks up from stock in Paris, Bodega has become a popular destination store, attracting both local customers as well as those from further afield. “Here in Cheltenham we are based on the Suffolks, which is

a little bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the main centre, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Most of our customers come here specifically to shop, and within our immediate vicinity there are also 11 hairdressers, so we benefit from quite a bit of footfall, too,” explains Worboys. Add to this a considerable amount of in-store events, including fashion shows in collaboration with various charities and style consultations with renowned local stylist Michelle Blake. Worboys hosts in-store initiatives fortnightly, contributing to Bodega’s growing customer base. Individual styling sessions where customers can bring in a wardrobe item that they don’t know how to wear or what to combine it with are also proving increasingly popular. “It’s about not just selling, but about offering our customers real solutions to a fashion or styling problem,” says Worboys, who is also very active in terms of marketing and social media management. “We do a lot of events and also promote the store on social media, which seems to be working really well for us, especially Facebook and Instagram. We invite our customers to share their photographs of styles they’ve bought, and I think that makes it very relatable to other ladies who see ‘real women’ in our outfits. We already have over 20,000 Facebook likes and it’s growing, which I’m really thrilled about,” she adds. It’s fair to say that Worboys has well and truly caught the fashion bug, and she admits that she loves both retail and the industry and can’t imagine a different career path now. Future plans include the expansion of Bodega’s web presence, as well as potentially more branches. “I have really grown to love this industry and the people as well as the direct customer contact,” she says. “It would be nice to build on our current set-up more; for instance to develop our online presence further, and nearby Bath and Bristol are also areas I’m always eyeing up for another shop or two. The industry is so dynamic, and whilst retailing isn’t easy, it’s also very exciting,” she says.



To apply for a stand contact or visit


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Fashion SVP The next edition of the apparel sourcing show takes place on 27 to 28 June at London’s Olympia, offering a bolstered line-up of manufacturers from a growing number of countries, enhanced product categories and brand new features.

For its June edition, Fashion SVP, the largest and fastest growing apparel sourcing show in the UK, is adding fashion accessories to its traditional offering of apparel products. According to Buzz Carter, director of Fashion SVP, the new focus has been introduced following demand by sourcing buyers from European brands and retailers: “We’ll be offering a wonderful hand-picked selection of fashion accessories including bags, belts, shoes, neckwear and small leather goods,” he says. “This has been requested by our buyers and will be in addition to the high quality wovens, jerseywear, knitwear and denim collections on show at our largest and most innovative event yet. It’s surpassing all our expectations and is already over 30 per cent larger than our 2016 show.” Over 120 exhibitors from more than 16 near-shore European countries as well as a special group from Mauritius will be showcasing their manufacturing capabilities, combined with excellent networking and information gathering opportunities for all those involved in sourcing fashion. The show is suitable for independent womenswear retailers and brands as well as high-end fashion houses, who all attend. Manufacturers not only show their latest collections but also share up to date knowledge about production, product development and innovation. For buyers, the event is a key destination to discover the latest in sourcing know-how and evaluate and meet potential new fashion manufacturers, many of whom offer full design services, in addition to networking with other professionals from the fashion industry. Visitors can also take advantage of the new features, which for 2017 include a New Designer Award, a competition aiming to find emerging talent with a fresh take on design, with the winning creations being showcased at the event and the final winner announced at the show. A special focus on athleisure and activewear fashion, a jobs forum for anyone looking for new opportunities in the fashion market and a manufacturing feature with actual production being demonstrated by experts all round off the event. The producers at the show will range from large to small scale, with many accepting low minimum orders aimed at emerging brands and fashion retailers sourcing directly from manufacturers for the first time. In addition to general fashion, daywear, party wear, eveningwear, casual, denim, formal wear, outerwear and more, the new focus on fashion accessories manufacturers will be an addition to the event and will include quality producers such as Garlita (Lithuania: knitwear), Tetribérica (Portugal: day and eveningwear), Cashmere International (UK: cashmere and knitwear), Denateksa (Lithuania: hosiery), Nordstark (Portugal: activewear, athleisure

and performance wear), Têxtil Nortenha (Portugal: knitwear), Paul James (UK: knitwear), Edmundas (Lithuania: soft tailoring and outerwear), ETC (Tunisia: jeans and denim) and many more. Fashion SVP will also once again host its popular Sourcing Briefing seminars, which will include insightful sessions about the latest developments on the market, the likely impacts of Brexit, the very latest developments in ethical trade and sourcing as well as presentations and discussions led by industry experts. For more details as well as free registration, visit

Meet the makers! The fastest growing show in the UK brings you over 120 hand-picked producers from 16 countries of high quality fashion wear – day wear, party wear, evening wear, casuals, denim, formal wear, outer wear… and more!

Plus, NEW for 2017: New Designer Awards - Athleisure apparel & high performance fabrics focus Fashion Accessories – Hosiery & socks – Jobs Forum Sourcing Briefing seminars - Live manufacturing demonstrations

To register for your free pass, and to view full show details, go to Show partners: @FashionSVP FashionSVPLondon

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How blogger events can boost your fashion brand’s visibility Kirsty Rockliff, online campaign manager for fashion retailer bonprix, reveals how best to navigate partnerships with digital influencers.

Thanks to the evolution of social media, the online fashion landscape is busier than ever. Brand awareness is no longer monitored with simple store numbers and advertising space, and instead, your company needs to be in the public eye and accessible to its customers at all times. But how can smaller brands compete with household names? What makes someone choose you over everyone else? One of the best ways for brands to promote themselves is to get active in the fashion blogosphere with an event. Bloggers are fast becoming influential forces in the fashion industry, cultivating online audiences of thousands, sometimes even millions, through blogs, tweets, and Instagram posts. Hosting a blogger meet and greet can lead to extremely fruitful relationships and grow your brand’s visibility with a massive return on investment. You don’t need to break the bank to host an effective blogger event; you simply need to arrange a day of activities that put your brand’s values at the heart of proceedings. Are you promoting cocktail dresses? Host a cocktail party! Focusing on winter coats? Arrange a photoshoot for bloggers to show off their style outdoors. Just a few mentions of your brand in a correctly timed post can gain you massive attention. Here are four ways blogger events can help promote your brand: Taking you offline Many small businesses start online and take years to reach the high street, if they ever do. This can be difficult for fashion brands in particular, as it means potential customers are unable to try clothing on before they buy, which can impact uncertain shoppers. A blogger event gives your brand a true physical presence and brings your products to life in everything on offer – from a beautifully decorated venue to the activities you organise. By setting a theme for your event you can highlight a particular product range, and bloggers wearing those products provide your brand with a natural form of advertisement. Social interaction Competing with major brands can be incredibly difficult when it comes to social media. How do you cut through the noise and make sure potential customers are listening to you? By hosting an event, you can concentrate and

co-ordinate social interactions with your brand to make them more effective. For example, events run with dedicated hashtags can drum up posts before, during, and after the event takes place, to the point where the hashtag starts trending. Once this happens, not only does your brand become more visible on social media, it can also attract the attention of other bloggers you could potentially invite to your next event. Creating brand ambassadors The best people to champion your brand are those who wear your products and can encourage others to enjoy them as well. Many bloggers build huge online followings and post to them regularly through multiple channels, including Twitter and Instagram. Therefore, building a relationship with bloggers through an event can mean your brand becomes part of that regular communication. Whether it be a particular garment, accessory, or a gift given to them at your event, bloggers are likely to post about them (and therefore promote your brand) over and over again. Real endorsements Customers know the difference between an advertisement and the authentic enthusiasm of someone who wears, and loves, a brand. Successful brands are relatable and personal, encouraging genuine endorsements from bloggers that act as glowing reviews. Nothing is more personal than taking time out of your day to treat others and truly get to know them, making blogger events your opportunity to create an experience they want to share with others. Bloggers work hard to give their following genuine and exciting content every time they read, so you know an endorsement by them is truly heartfelt. Bloggers are a massively influential network of people who develop themselves as personal brands and grow large online followings. Developing relationships with them can show potential new customers a personal side that other companies may lack – it all starts with dedicating the time to them and an event of any size shows that you care. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party for a room full of people, or treating a select few to a photoshoot, blogger events can boost your brand’s visibility and can create a wealth of future endorsement opportunities.

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Retailer spotlight:



The 2017 Worldpay Everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme has launched its search for the industry’s most inspiring female role models. This year’s theme, Reinventing Retail, recognises technology and the role it has played in transforming the retail industry. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the programme is inviting nominations by and for women whose career triumphs have shown true vision and inspiration. The 2017 Ambassadors will be announced at an awards ceremony and dinner on 12 September in London.

Yorkshire womenswear retailer Pookie Womenswear celebrates 10 years in business this year. Marking the occasion last month, the store treated customers to 10 days of discounts, free prizes and competitions. Store visitors had the opportunity to win gift cards, jewellery, scarves, tops, purses and more. The celebration also included 10 per cent off on all stock. Store owner Rose Horsfield came up with the concept of Pookie a decade ago when she opened the boutique in Silkstone, Barnsley.

Retail Forum The latest in-store news from the industry


Web watch:


Established in 2015, Victoria Beau in Islington stocks an array of established and new womenswear brands. The store’s transactional website also provides visitors with the opportunity to browse labels including Second Female, Rixo London, Seven Boot Lane and Pyrus London. The store maintains an exclusive tone, with a strong focus on artistic prints, ethical production and unique design. Aside from clothing ranging from tops and jackets to dresses and playsuits, Victoria Beau also stocks jewellery from the likes of Tada & Toy and Missoma and candles from Katie Loxton. Visitors to the site can read designer interviews and brand reviews via the online Journal feature. There’s also the option to peruse fresh stock via the New In tab.

TRACY HARVEY Managing director of Harveys, Halifax, West Yorkshire

What is your current bestseller in-store? Masai has started the season very strongly yet again. There are some new styles as well as the favourite shapes and the brighter colours have proved very popular. Joules and White Stuff are consistently good sellers and Superdry, as a new brand to Harveys, has taken off brilliantly. How have you found trading over the last month? Spring has been a strong season for fashion. Customers were really ready for some better weather, and they are loving the colourful and playful brand selection this season. What have you been doing to drive traffic in-store? We recently held a very successful fashion show in-store, which we ran in conjunction with our local newspaper. They run a model competition, then we host the final. The models perform in our fashion show and the winner is announced during the evening. Our winner from the 2015 competition is currently appearing on the television show Britain’s Next Top Model. What’s on your agenda for the coming month? We have our ever-popular footwear show planned, as well as fashion workshops and some private evening events for groups and businesses.

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Retail therapy: Share your retailing bugbears

DR. MARTENS OPENS CAMDEN STORE Iconic shoe brand Dr. Martens has opened its 30th UK store in Camden, London. Situated in the Camden Market area, the store offers two floors covering approximately 4,000 sq ft and employs a crew of 25. In addition to carrying the full Dr. Martens range across men’s, women’s and kids’, consumers will get the opportunity to view limited edition, exclusive designs that can only be bought in the new store. Classic DM satchels are also available, with or without studding features, alongside T-shirts with a unique ‘Made for Camden’ illustration.

ST ALBANS INDIE LAUNCHES ‘STYLE ME’ The Dressing Room in St Albans has launched an online styling service, Style Me, to enhance its multi-channel retail experience. The service offers customers the opportunity to book a one-on-one appointment with a trained stylist, who will provide advice either in store or over the phone. Owner Deryane Tadd says, “Our new Style Me service makes our in-store styling experience available to everyone at the touch of a button. It offers a unique way to tap into our knowledge and expertise whilst bringing a touch of The Dressing Room personality to the shopping experience.”

JOANNA DAVIES Owner of Black White Denim, Wilmslow, Cheshire I used to feel like a treasured and valued distribution point for brands. Now I feel I am having to battle for brands to understand just how sensitive independent bricks and mortar businesses can be. We have launched lots of previously unknown brands in our area and truly championed them, raised awareness, developed a following and have become a destination boutique as a result. Sadly though, once we have taken the risk and put in the hard work, as soon as a large e-tailer decides to list the collection we are put to the bottom of the priority pile. Sometimes this leads to our online door being closed whilst the behemoths benefit from online exclusivity for a while – despite not having taken any of the initial risk. It’s really unfair.


What’s your s/s 17 bestseller?



Owner of Starburst Boutique, Dartmouth

Director of The Women’s Society Boutique, Hertford, Hertfordshire

“The clematis crepe tunic from Pazuki and a V-necked tunic shirt in washed fuchsia pink by 120% Lino. The tunic from Pazuki sold out within 48 hours, which was amazing. Both pieces were easy to wear and this combined with a good price point and strong colour, which made these pieces very commercial.”

“Customers are certainly buying to wear now and that is having a real impact on how we buy and delivery schedules. Surprisingly denim has performed better in s/s 17 than any other s/s and even a/w 16. Tops and shirts have also been flying out, with the demand for lighter colours and less concern over price points.”

CHARLOTTE MANBY & CAROL BRADBURY Owners of Room 7, Roundhay, Leeds

“Our bestselling brands are Norma Kamali and Victoria Beckham. Norma Kamali use fabulously fluid fabrics that can take you from day to night at fantastic prices. Vicky is a firm fashion favourite at the moment, and we just love her frocks!”

PAULINE SPIERS Owner of Catwalk, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

“The Veni Infantino collection by Ronald Joyce, an exceptional range in soft taupe and ivory which matches beautifully with the delicate soft tones of bridesmaid colours which have been popular this season. In particular, the longer coat styles with a statement dress underneath have been fabulous, teamed with a bespoke headpiece from Snoxell, and the Marilyn shoe and bag from Lisa Kay London.”

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Brand Directory Carla Ruiz 07989 014141 Dents 01985 212291 Faber 020 8441 6305 Glamorous 0161 819 2229 Jarlo John Charles 020 8888 8833 Johnstons of Elgin 01343 554000 Lizabella 0113 245 9064 Mac Duggal Mascara 020 8965 1522 N12H Neon Rose 0161 835 2064 Paisie Pomodoro 020 8961 4000 Rails 020 7240 9898 Rixo London 020 7460 7683 Sonia Pena 0034 9522 40368 Sugarhill Boutique 01273 911393 Valerio Luna by Higar Novias 0034 9577 12780 Wolf & Whistle 07807 361457 Wrangler 0800 0855622

Next Issue


SHOW & TELL The key trade shows for s/s 18 not to miss. — RETAIL LIFE Newcomers and established retailers share the biggest lessons they have learned about running a fashion boutique. — PLUS... Interviews, features, fashion and news. Don’t miss the June issue of WWB.

A D V I C E / 45

E-tail Clinic

Essential e-commerce advice The expert view: How new delivery models are changing the game In 2016, online sales reached an all-time high of £133bn, exceeding the 2015 figure by £18bn. Bolstered by seasonal events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, of course Christmas, it is easy to see why so many retailers want to tap into this lucrative market. However, with this comes a growing customer expectation that they can offer rapid or same-day delivery to different locations. It is increasingly rare that time-pressed consumers want a package to arrive at their home address, unless they have chosen a specified time. Offices are an obvious alternative but with some businesses cracking down on personal deliveries because of the disruption it causes, other drop-off points are needed. For the customer, it is certainly frustrating if they have to spend a Saturday morning retrieving a parcel from the local depot because it couldn’t be delivered first time around. As the volume of online orders grows, consumers are demanding quicker and more convenient ways to receive deliveries and retailers have been rising to the challenge. The proliferation of convenience store pick-up points means that people can now collect their package or return unwanted goods at a time to suit them including on the way to work, during a lunch break or on their way home, often without having to queue. Pass My Parcel now works with 3,500 parcel shops across the UK, many of which operate long opening hours seven days a week and can be easily accessed by 93 per cent of the UK mainland population. Delivery via a local shop also offers an additional level of security as goods are kept safely by a registered, trusted parcel shop, rather than being left in a porch or with a next-door neighbour, as was once the case. Speed of delivery is another bonus as parcels can arrive at 7am the following day in a store, along with the newspapers and milk. It is not just customers and online retailers who are reaping the rewards though – convenience stores are also benefiting from attractive handling fees, as well as increased footfall and stronger relations with people in the local area. When someone calls in to pick up a parcel, they might also make small impulse purchases that, over time, contribute to additional basket spend and higher profits. Even if a customer does not spend money every time they drop in, it is still an opportunity for staff to demonstrate high levels of service and encourage them to return. The parcel delivery industry is constantly changing, and alongside the growth of same day delivery, we are now seeing the digitisation of the customer experience, enabling customers to receive real-time information. Retailers can now fulfil more orders than ever before, providing a level of convenience previously unknown. We are also seeing label-less returns and secure 24-hour drop-offs, as well as the trialling of ultra-fast drone delivery. With this, customer demands will inevitably grow and this means delivery firms must be ready to roll out the latest innovations to enable retailers to offer the best service possible. Launched in 2014, Pass My Parcel is part of Smiths News, the UK’s leading newspaper and magazine wholesaler. It offers fast, secure and convenient deliveries to both domestic and commercial customers, including Amazon and Asos. For further details visit Louise Ryan, strategy & business development director at Pass My Parcel.

Web chat: KELLY NASH Owner/manager of Any Occasion Boutique, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent When did you launch your website and is it transactional? We have always placed an enormous importance on our website so launched it alongside the start of our business in 2007. We started using the website as an online sales tool in early 2015 and have not looked back. What percentage of your business does your site constitute? Our website works in two ways. Its primary use is to drive new customers into the store, which is why it is branded with our own unique look and feel. This contributes to 80 per cent of new business. Its second purpose is to reach those customers who cannot make it to the boutique; this makes up approximately 30 per cent of our revenue. Are you selling the same stock online as in-store? Yes, we do not deviate, as it is very important that a customer who looks online knows they can come into the boutique and try and buy with confidence. Is your e-commerce arm growing, and what is driving this growth? When we started our e-commerce site in 2015 it contributed 5 per cent of our sales; already in 2017 this has increased to 30 per cent. What are your plans for the site and how would you like it to develop? This year’s additions have been a favourites tag, an online booking system, and a customer feedback area. We hope to add a chat room where customers can discuss purchases and post pictures; ideally this will link to our Facebook and Instagram feeds.

The increase in total average basket value through mobile devices, amidst solid growth of 13 per cent year-on-year for online sales in March


*Source: IMRG


The number of UK retail customer queries left unanswered, leading to disappointing customer service feedback *Source: RealWire

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The Last Word with... Holly Allenby, founder of ethical online store The-Acey dictionary means ‘a girl that thinks differently and does her own thing’, which is rather fitting. What brands and products do you stock? We stock over 30 brands across womenswear and lifestyle goods. All our designers are trying to reduce their social and environmental impact without sacrificing style. How has the feedback been to your store? What kind of clientele do you attract? I’m so happy when I hear women say, “I’ve been looking for a store like this that gives me options to buy contemporary clothing that’s consciously created,” as that’s exactly what I set out to do. We have a growing worldwide customer base which is also something I always wanted, hence being an online store. Why is ethical fashion important to you? I honestly see ‘ethical fashion’ as simply the way clothing should be produced. The term ‘ethical fashion’ only exists as the industry has turned into an unethical operation, that has seen the clothing industry become the second most polluting sector behind oil. It is absolutely a growing concern for customers, which will ultimately drive change in the big brands. What is your background? I have always been in the clothing industry, starting on the shop floor of Harvey Nichols to wholesale at Temperley, then marketing manager at Toms. I didn’t realise at the time, but working in various departments of the industry ultimately gave me the confidence and understanding to start my own business. Working for the incredible Toms was an eye-opener into how a for-profit business can give back through a commercially viable product. What inspired the launch of The-Acey? I founded The-Acey at the end of 2014 on the back of discovering some innovative brands that operated with integrity. This triggered my search for more likeminded brands that were creating great products without compromising on ethics or aesthetics. I basically set The-Acey up for people like me who love contemporary clothing and want to shop more mindfully. Where does the name of the site come from? Our name The-Acey evolved from the word ‘legacy’ and it just so happens that ‘Acey’ in the urban

Who or what inspires you with regards to your work? The need for change in the industry inspires me everyday. What are your plans for the store going forward? I want to solidify The-Acey as the go-to destination for style with purpose. Going into our third year it’s paramount that we become proactive, not reactive as a business and I plan on doing this by building our team. We will continue to host a bi-annual bricks and mortar space as I believe it’s important to have a physical touch point with customers in this very digital era.

How do you unwind? I go for a walk with my friend Betty in Victoria Park most mornings, which is a good way to start to day. If I really need to unwind I’ll head back to my hometown of Hull in East Yorkshire for a weekend in the countryside with family. What are the three things on your bucket list? Mainly travel! I am dying to go to Japan, to see first-hand how they turn something simple into something beautiful. I’ve never been to New York, I must go this year. There’s talk of doing a trek in the Himalayas towards the end of the year which would be a tick off the list. What is your secret talent? Secrets are for keeping! What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? It may sound a bit cliched but Blake Mycoskie, the founder of my ex-employer Toms, champions the motto ‘Start something that matters’, and this really resonates with me. How would you sum up your style? Contemporary – and I always bear function in mind; feeling comfortable and confident is key when running your own business. I have always worn my clothes to death and I still do, dressing them up and down.

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