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OCTOBER/ NOVEMBER 2012 — ISSUE 221 WOMENSWEAR BUYER wwb-online.co.uk

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— FASHIONING THE FUTURE The feasibility of a UK manufacturing revival —

— FAST FORWARD The short-order brands not to miss —

— THINKING BIG Paul’s Boutique celebrates its 10th anniversary —

— RETAIL SOLUTIONS Experts reveal their top tips for in-store success —


03 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

CONTENTS —

REGULARS

FEATURES

FASHION

5 EDITORS COMMENT — 6 NEWS — 10 BACKSTAGE The other side of womenswear — 12 TALKING POINT — 48 RETAIL FORUM The latest news from the industry — 54 THE FINAL WORD What was the naughtiest thing you did as a child? — FRONT COVER DARLING —

14 Q&A With Denham’s Paul Drew — 24 GLOBAL GATHERING Paul’s Boutique is celebrating its 10th anniversary — 27 MAKING IN THE UK – A VIABLE OPTION? Findings from the recent ASBCI conference — 31 WORD ON THE STREET WWB chats to the organisers behind trade show Flip — 32 THE SHORT ORDER DEBATE Retailers give their verdict on fast fashion — 44 TALKING SHOP Experts reveal their top tips —

16 STYLE FILE — 19 10 OF THE BEST Little black dresses — 20 RING-A-DING The best cocktail rings to get in-store now — 22 FASHION RADAR — 34 RAPID RESPONSE The short-order collections available now — 40 MODEL BEHAVIOUR The key trends from the international catwalks — 42 THE EXHIBITION @ LFW Highlights from the static show —


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05 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012 Editor Isabella Griffiths isabella@ras-publishing.com — Contributors Victoria Jackson victoria@ras-publishing.com Laura Kirkpatrick laura@ras-publishing.com Christina Williams christina@ras-publishing.com — Online editor Suzanna Bain suzanna@ras-publishing.com — Fashion writer Natalie Dawson natalie@ras-publishing.com — Editorial assistant Carey Whitwam carey.whitwam@ite-exhibitions.com — Sub editor Amanda Batley amanda@ras-publishing.com — Design & production Michael Podger mick@ras-publishing.com Clive Holloway clive@ras-publishing.com James Lindley james@ras-publishing.com Richard Boyle richard@ras-publishing.com — Senior advertising sales manager Mina Parmar mina@ras-publishing.com — Subscriptions Katie Brook katie@ras-publishing.com — Production director Gill Brabham gill@ras-publishing.com — Commercial director Nick Cook nick@ras-publishing.com — Marketing director Stephanie Parker stephanie@moda-uk.co.uk — Managing director Colette Tebbutt colette@ras-publishing.com — Reprographics/printing ImageData Group 01482 652323

— WWB is published 11 times per year by RAS Publishing Ltd, The Old Town Hall, Lewisham Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AL. Call 01484 846069 Fax 01484 846232 — Copyright © 2012 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 RAS Publishing Ltd nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication. —

RAS Publishing is an ITE Group PLC company A Buyer Series Fashion Business Publication WWB is a fashion business publication produced by RAS Publishing Ltd. Other titles include MWB, Footwear & Fashion Extras and CWB.

COMMENT —

THERE MAY BE AN UPSURGE IN THE APPEAL OF ALL THINGS BRITISH, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE STILL SOME WAY OFF FROM A PROPER REVIVAL OF “MADE IN BRITAIN”. —

The viability of bringing back UK manufacturing to its former glory was the topic of a recent conference held by the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI), which I had the pleasure of attending. A number of high-profile speakers put forward the aspects that are affecting production in Great Britain today, as well as giving an insight into their own manufacturing stories and realities. With most of the speakers – including representatives from J Barbour & Sons, Johnstons of Elgin, Courtaulds, Buff Clothing and Fashion Enter among others – successfully producing all or at least parts of their stock in the UK, it offered some affirmation that it can be done, but also delivered a reality check as to the shortfalls. One of the key insights from the day that has stayed with me was given by Jenny Holloway, founder of Fashion Enter – an initiative that helps young people get a foot into the fashion and clothing industry – who warned, “Everyone wants to be a designer, but no one wants to work on the production side behind it. We need to make manufacturing sexy again.” I felt this was a pertinent and timely observation, as the majority of companies who are still manufacturing in the UK are faced with an aging workforce, with an average age of 45-plus, or a substitute of foreign workers.

Making manufacturing and production professions “sexy” again is therefore most certainly an important element in any revival of home-grown factories. The onus is on the industry to support this pursuit by offering not only apprenticeships but also promoting and publicising production jobs to a new generation of young people who want to break into the textile industry, and to show that there are more opportunities than “just” being a designer. This is going to be the only way to preserve the amazing skillset that once defined British manufacturing and helped the Made in Britain tag become desirable and something to be proud of. For more on the conference, turn to page 27, where we summarise the key speeches. As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch and email me at Isabella@ras-publishing.com or tweet me @wwbmagazine.

Isabella Griffiths, editor


06 WOMENSWEAR BUYER wwb-online.co.uk — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

NEWS —

TACKLING RETAIL CRIME MUST BE KEY PRIORITY In the wake of Leeds store Flannels’ recent raid, and ahead of the first election for police and crime commissioners next month, retailers are turning their attention to retail crime and how to prevent it. —

News of the recent robbery at the Leeds branch of designer destination Flannels earlier this month, which saw a gang in a stolen vehicle ram raid the store and steal thousands of pounds worth of stock, has left retailers nationwide in no doubt as to the vulnerability of their stores and in particular at the premium and designer end of fashion. While Flannels was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, the incident acts as a grim testament to the theory put forward by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) that retail businesses are increasingly being targeted by more serious and organised criminals, urging retailers to reassess their own crime prevention measures. It was also the topic of the day at a BRC conference organised earlier this month at London’s America Square Conference Centre, which saw retailers come together at a meeting chaired by former metropolitan police commander Phillip Hagon. Taking place five weeks before the country’s first elections for PCCs – police and crime commissioners – the meeting saw four of the country’s PCC candidates take to the floor to answer questions from retailers about the proposed plans for regional crime prevention. In total, 41 PCCs will be elected on 15 November, one for each of the police areas in

England and Wales, excluding London. Each PCC will decide the local policing strategy in their area and will be able to appoint – and dismiss – the police chief constable. For retailers specifically, working with their PCC could help to reduce the escalating cost of retail crime which, according to the BRC, was up 31 per cent last year to £1.4bn. Following the Question Time style debate at this month’s conference, retailers concluded that they wanted business crime to be included in police force strategy plans, and that they wished to be involved in local community safety partnerships. They also required a clear strategy on tackling violence and anti-social behaviour, and better co-ordination of policing against offences that cross force area boundaries. For the BRC, it was indicative of the willingness among retailers to work proactively with authorities when it comes to crime prevention. “It’s only weeks until the new PCCs are elected by the public for the first time, and I want to make sure they know how a good relationship with the retail sector will benefit them and other people,” says BRC director general Stephen Robertson. “Retailers are at the heart of communities, and they make a valuable contribution to crime-fighting and, in return, they are looking for support with reducing the rising cost of retail crime. Retailers want to be

“Retailers are at the heart of communities, and they make a valuable contribution to crime-fighting” part of safe neighbourhoods, and they deserve to benefit from reliable policing, which recognises the important role they play in providing jobs and services and contributing to vibrant communities.” For retailers, however, the jury was still out as to how effective the introduction of PCCs would transpire to be. “I will be interested to see how many people make the effort to vote for their local PCC,” says Clive Rollinson, owner of womenswear, footwear and accessories boutique Woodie & Morris in Cranleigh and Haslemere, Surrey. “In the current climate, I am realistic as to the amount of funding that will be available to communities for crime-prevention schemes. Like most retailers, our main investment at the moment is our own investment into people and, when it comes to deterring crime, well-trained, vigilant staff are a retailer’s best friend.” For further information visit www.policecrimecommissioner.co.uk


07 WOMENSWEAR BUYER wwb-online.co.uk — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

NEWS —

OLSEN CELEBRATES RECORD UK WHOLESALE SELL-THROUGH German womenswear brand Olsen has seen an eight per cent rise in wholesale sales in 2012, with a record sell-through of 65 per cent pre-sale. The brand, which has been in the UK market for over 15 years, has seen its wholesale base grow significantly this year, including accounts in the likes of Fenwicks, Hoopers and Pamela Scott in Dublin, with performance further boosted by strong online sales with an increase of 200 per cent like-for-like this year. The label has recently seen a restructure of its UK operation, as well as the introduction of a more directional set of collections, while maintaining its core target group of 35-plus. For a/w 12, Olsen has been working with British model and human rights ambassador Jacquetta Wheeler on its advertising and image campaign (pictured). The brand is set to move its London head office and showroom to more modern premises before the end of the year. —

H&M ACCELERATES STORE OPENING ROLL-OUT Fashion retailer H&M has increased the number of stores it plans to open globally this year from 275 to 300. The group recently reported flat pre-tax profits at £466m in its third quarter to the end of August, falling short of expectations of around £505.5m. It follows news that the Swedish retailer has delayed the launch of its US e-commerce site with a revised deadline of summer 2013. H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson cited issues such as security and logistics for the delay, explaining it was taking much longer than initially expected. “With our size in the US, it is a complex IT set-up,” says Persson. “When we enter the US market, we want to do it in a good way.” Persson revealed the group would also launch apps for mobile shopping at the start of 2013, with China the next market considered for the e-commerce programme roll-out. —

ARCADIA GROUP INCREASES RATIO OF BRITISH SUPPLIERS Arcadia Group owner Sir Phillip Green revealed to the Daily Mail newspaper recently that he has increased the number of British suppliers used to produce garments for the likes of Topman and BHS by 20 per cent. The development comes as a result of rising costs in Far East countries such as China, with Green increasing his use of British manufactures with hopes of a revival of the UK clothing industry. — HAWICK KNITWEAR LAUNCHES WINDOW COMPETITION Scottish knitwear specialist Hawick has launched its first shop window competition, with the winner set to scoop up to £1,750 worth of prizes. The competition is open to UK retailers who stock Hawick Knitwear, and the most creative window displays showcasing the brand’s knits will be rewarded with the first prize of £1,000 worth of Hawick Knitwear, second prize £500and third prize £250 worth of the brand’s products. The display must be in the main window of the shop on the ground floor. Pictures of the shop window and the entrant’s details are to be sent to sales@hawickknitwear.com or posted to Hawick Knitwear, PO Box 13331, Liddesdale Road, Hawick TD9 0ER no later than 16 November. — FASHION CAPITAL IS SEEKING APPRENTICESHIPS Fashion Capital is looking for employers to offer apprenticeships to candidates aged 16-24. The requirements for employers are to pay apprentices the national minimum wage of £2.65 per hour. During the 18-month apprenticeship, candidates will spend four days of the week at the business gaining practical experience and one day of the week at the Fashion Studio, where their course material will be covered and the qualification completed. “It’s a great opportunity for businesses to work with young people and to help develop new jobs and skillsets in the fashion industry. Fashion Capital has placed candidates in successful placements in companies such as Asos, House of Fraser and New Look. For more information email Jenni@fashion-enter.com —


08 WOMENSWEAR BUYER wwb-online.co.uk — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

NEWS —

INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS FOR TED BAKER British clothing label Ted Baker has reported a 15 per cent rise in first half revenue, helped by strong sales in the US. US retail sales were up 53 per cent to $25.6m, while sales in the UK and Europe rose 7.9 per cent. “We have delivered good results in a challenging environment while making important investments for the long-term development of the brand, including opening new stores in Tokyo and on Fifth Avenue, New York,” says founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin. Jaana Jätyri, chief executive of fashion trend forecaster Trendstop.com, adds, “Ted Baker has sidestepped the slump many high street shops are experiencing by refusing to discount early, which serves to strengthen its full-price offer. “Launching into new markets such as North America, Hong Kong, China and Japan where British heritage and quality are revered, has been pivotal to Ted Baker’s strategy.” —

CLOSET TO EXPAND WITH E-COMMERCE London brand Closet is launching its e-commerce website next month. The site will be a new platform for the young fashion label, which is currently stocked in high street stores including Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Fenwick and A/Wear in Ireland, plus online boutiques such as Oli, Fashion Union, Nelly and Zalando. A host of features will be available to guide customers through its range of products, including web exclusives, a fashion glossary, trend reports and style advice, the Closet blog and seasonal photo shoots. Rachel Perrett of Closet, says, “We are thrilled to be launching our own e-commerce site this year. We now have a fantastic opportunity to communicate directly to our consumers and engage with them.” Designed and produced in London, Closet is aimed at the trend-conscious 20-40 year-old customer. The mainline range will be available online, alongside new diffusion line Closet BLU and occasionwear range Almari. —

HOF OVERTAKES ASOS IN VISIBILITY WAR High street department store House of Fraser has knocked Asos off the top spot to become the most visible site for fashion retail related services, according to independent digital marketing agency Greenlight. Taking into account both paid-for search results – pay per click and search engine optimisation – and natural results, where search results are generated organically in accordance with their relevance, House of Fraser topped the league table with a 62 per cent visibility share and relegated Asos to the third place. Debenhams maintained its second-place position. — ARNOTTS HOSTS IRELAND’S LARGEST SHOE DEPARTMENT Dublin’s iconic department store Arnotts has transformed a space within its store into Ireland’s largest ladies’ shoe department. The project, which took place as part of a wider expansion and development plan for the retailer, saw 9,500 sq ft of space transformed into garden landscape-themed area, featuring trellis-inspired divisions, ornamental display units and colourful rattan seating areas. London and Singapore based interior architect Shed – the designer behind Harrods’ recently redesigned Kurt Geiger shoe salon – created the department. — INDIE GROWTH SLOWS IN FIRST HALF OF 2012 Growth in the independent sector has slowed significantly in the first half of 2012 in town centres across Great Britain, the latest research by the Local Data Company has revealed. The growth rate has slowed from +2.4 per cent last year to +0.8 per cent this year. The findings show that 8,181 independents opened and 7,329 closed in 2012, which is a net increase of 852 stores against an increase of 2,564 (+2.4 per cent) in 2011. Nevertheless, independents now account for 67 per cent of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain, a plus of one per cent on 2011. —


09 WOMENSWEAR BUYER wwb-online.co.uk — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

NEWS —

COOL RECEPTION FOR NEW BUSINESS BANK

KARL LAGERFELD PRESENTS FIRST EUROPEAN STORE CONCEPT

The launch of the new business bank, which was officially announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton last month, received a cool reaction from the industry, who welcomed the idea of it but have warned of shortfalls to the scheme. The bank will provide £1bn in taxpayer funding to small businesses, but it will not be available for another 18 months.

Karl Lagerfeld is set to open his first European concept store in Paris in February.

“There is no doubt that action is needed – the banks aren’t lending enough and we know this,” says Phil McCabe, senior policy adviser at the Forum of Private Business. “But we need a dual focus – getting more transparency in high street bank lending and improving ethics in the way banks treat their small business customers, backed by more lending through alternative sources of finance, such as peer-to-peer platforms.” The Forum warned the fund will have to address the same barriers to small business finance that are displayed by existing banks – such as poor risk profiling and steep lending costs as a result of the increasing over-centralisation of decision making. “That said, it will have the capacity to get more long-term lending to growing businesses in time, and the government’s willingness to put £1bn into the scheme might incentivise other big investors to lend,” says McCabe. —

The store will be located on 194 Boulevard St Germain in the heart of St Germain des Près in Paris, only a few meters away from the Hotel Particulier headquarters of the brand. The store is positioned as a trend-focused, accessible luxury brand with ready-to-wear and accessories for women’s and menswear, alongside a unique assortment of sunglasses, watches, photography and design books. The interior will blend modern and classic with black, white, mirrors and walls of light forming the backdrop for the distinctive product presentation. —

MY-WARDROBE.COM WELCOMES NEW APPOINTMENTS Online fashion retailer My-Wardrobe.com has appointed Nicola Copping as editor-in-chief and Joanna Stephenson as trading director, with the newly created roles designed to ensure the business is able to take advantage of the growth of online fashion. Copping joins My-Wardrobe.com from Harrods, where she was responsible for developing and launching the content strategy and online. She joins My-Wardrobe.com to oversee the editorial and creative direction of the brand, developing the e-commerce site’s cross-platform editorial content, including the magazine-style editorial, seasonal style guides and photography-led features. Stephenson, meanwhile, will take up the role of trading director from her previous role in digital marketing at Debenhams, where she oversaw the development of the online marketing channel. Both report to David Worby who joined the e-tailer as CEO from Harrods in July. —

PETIT BATEAU COLLABORATES WITH CARVEN French fashion brands Petit Bateau and Carven have collaborated on a capsule collection for women, men and children. The range will be available from 4 December in Petit Bateau stores. Bright colours have been combined with Carven’s elegant shapes to create a perfect set of clothes for boys, girls, women and men. The Petit Bateau and Carven collection can be previewed exclusively at Colette in Paris from 5 November. — ASOS MAKES HIGH-PROFILE APPOINTMENTS Online retailer Asos has appointed former Amazon MD Brian McBride as its new chair. McBride succeeds Lord Waheed Ali, who steps down from his role on 1 November after 12 years with the company. Furthermore, former Marks & Spencer executive director Kate Bostock is also to join Asos as executive director of product and trading. — RETAIL LEADERS APPEAL FOR BUSINESS RATE FREEZE A total of 14 retail leaders have appealed to the government to freeze business rates in 2013 ahead of the announcement of September’s Retail Price Index inflation earlier this month. In an open letter to the Financial Times, the high-profile industry figures, including British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson; Andy Clarke, president and CEO of Asda; Alan Hawkins, CEO of British Independent Retailers Association (Bira); and Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, warned that if the government follows previous practice and translates it directly into next year’s business rate rise, as much as £200m will be added to the retail sector’s bills for 2013. “This would follow eye-watering increases in both 2011 (4.6 per cent) and 2012 (5.6 per cent), a cumulative rise of more than half a billion pounds. We urge the government to recognise that retail has given more than its fair share to the Exchequer and to freeze business rates in 2013,” the letter states.


10 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

PEOPLE —

BACKSTAGE The other side of womenswear —

SHOPPERS STRUT THEIR STUFF

CHARI-TEA RAISES CASH — White Stuff is celebrating after raising over £30,000 for charity from its annual National Wear a Tea Cosy on Your Head Day. The money is going to the White Stuff Foundation. —

UP AND AWAY FOR COMPETITION WINNER Cara Hickman, owner of footwear indie Urban Angels in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, is the winner of a luxury hot air balloon ride. The retailer won this year’s competition by footwear supplier Jacobson Group, which aims to reward customer loyalty. Hickman, who entered the competition at this season’s Moda and was among a record number of entries, will be joined by her team to enjoy the adventure ride of the skies. —

Carnaby is collaborating with The Rolling Stones in celebration of its 50th anniversary for the 2012 Christmas installation. 3D spheres containing gold and silver records will be suspended on Carnaby Street during the Christmas period, while the Carnaby arches will also be dressed with The Rolling Stones’ iconic tongue logo. The installation launches on 8 November and will be in place until January 2013.

Regent Street turned into a runway show last month when it hosted Regent Street Style, an accessible fashion showcase at www.regentstreetonline.com. The event ran alongside London Fashion Week and encouraged the public to get involved and appear in their very own runway, The Mile of Style. Shoppers were asked to flaunt their style and appear in the gallery by uploading their images onto the website, with Ted Baker shopping vouchers up for grabs for the most stylish people. The showcase was the latest in a series of shopper initiatives, with Regent Street being the first street to have recently launched a gift card scheme, shopping app and guide. —

CELEBRATING BRITISH MANUFACTURING

Tramp wins FAB prize Brighton indie Tramp Vintage Boutique has been named Independent Retailer of the Year in the second annual Fashion Sussex Awards, winning a year’s membership to the Fashion Association of Britain (FAB). The store, which opened in 2010, offers an eclectic mix of fashion from the 20s through to the 90s, with owner Michelle Terras looking to boost her business by tapping into the wealth of support and services her FAB membership offers. “Winning Independent Retailer of the Year means a great deal to us,” says Terras. “To be recognised for something we feel passionate about makes the hard work worth it.” —

The very best in UK manufacturing took pride of place in Westminster last month, in a specially commissioned installation at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) brought together product and imagery to create the installation, which saw beautiful cashmere swags draped in the lobby alongside some of the best examples of Savile Row manufacture, accessories made out of Made in the UK labels and shoes at different stages of production form an impressive showcase of fashion made in Britain. —


whErE FashioN ComEs TogEThEr

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lingerie & swimwear

17-19 February 2013, NEC Birmingham To reserve a stand call +44 (0)1484 846069 Find out more and register for your visit at moda-uk.co.uk

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12 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

OPINION —

TALKING POINT Key industry players give their views on the issues affecting womenswear —

LACK OF SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYING GRADUATES IS DISHEARTENING

INDEPENDENTS ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS COUNTRY

We have recently found ourselves in an unusual situation. While everyone else seems to be cutting back on staffing, we have a vacancy. Our manager is taking a career break, and we have to find someone to work with us for one year in her stead.

As an independent retailer, I feel you have to be committed and live the profession with a passion. After all, it’s a form of “show business” and, without doubt, it is one of the most important industries in the country, if not the world. Unfortunately, the so-called “small business banking sector” and “local authority bureaucracy” does not understand how the clothing industry, both wholesale and retail, works.

I have noticed that younger members of my family have been struggling to find their first “proper jobs” after leaving education. There seems to be “Mc Jobs” out there, but little work that will stretch and grow a person embarking on a career. To make things worse, anyone who has been sitting around for a while falls behind; getting something relevant on to your CV starts to become an urgent necessity. So I advertised the job, not for an established manager, but for a new graduate. The position offered varied experience and would help develop skills and confidence. I wondered if there was a sponsorship that would help facilitate it, because employing an inexperienced person would involve a lot of input on our part. I have friends who have their own independent businesses, and I have become accustomed to networking on subjects of interest. Through chatting with them about the schemes, I was surprised by their negative reactions: “Internships, sponsored placements or apprenticeships can cause more problems than they solve; they always seem to put onerous conditions on the placement”, “By the time you have done the necessary paperwork, it has caused more work than is worthwhile”, “You don’t feel free to make your own decisions once you have signed up”, “They are created for large businesses and are unsuitable for small companies.” I was starting to realise that, in some circles, work schemes have a bad name. However, I had heard of a three-month sponsored placement that did seem to fit in well with what I had in mind, and the people running it were keen about the opportunity we were offering. I discovered, however, that the sponsorship was not available for a one-year placement and would only count towards a permanent job. Surely, although it would be helpful to encourage an employer to take on someone permanently, the good done by a year’s placement was worth the sponsorship? And wouldn’t it have been a better idea to have left it up to the graduate to decide whether they would find it useful? Perhaps there is a reason why I know no other small employers who have benefitted from the schemes (nor any youngsters). Regarding the vacancy, I have interviewed an enthusiastic, well-educated young woman who was sent by her university careers office. If she is anything to go by, there will be no shortage of wonderful candidates.

Emma Hayes, owner, Emma Plus, Brighton www.emmaplus.co.uk

Of course, there has been a downturn in the global economy, although I must say, this has been made worse by the majority of the media who, it seems, love to bury good news beneath bad news. It’s about time we started “talking up” rather than “talking down”. With over 4.5 million small businesses in the UK responsible for so much employment and turnover paying into the system, it’s more important than ever that those in higher authorities start to listen rather than hit us with rising costs, ie rents, business rates, fuel, electricity and insurance premiums. When we talk about the problems, they seem to fall on deaf ears. For example, try sitting down and discussing trade with your bank. Tell them how the weather, especially the last diabolical summer, caused a slow-down in the clothing sector. We all know that ladies tend to purchase depending on the weather and climate but, if you say this to them, they laugh it off as an excuse. Another angle to be discussed with local authorities is the issue of roadworks and car parking. Yes, the utility people do need to address problems, many unforeseen, but they could discuss with us a way forward rather than digging up a road with one doing and three watching. There are also car parking issues – out-of-town centres kill us here – so why do we have wardens in our small high streets waiting to jump and smack a ticket on you if you’re one minute over your pay and display. I must say, though, recently on consultation with our local council, I was successful in changing our car park from “up to 24 hours” to half being “four hours max” and the other half being “24 hours max”, so consumers as well as commuters could find a space, therefore hopefully increasing our trade, which shows things can happen when people hear our voices and listen. Sometimes, the independent in this country is viewed as the little shop in the village and not a professional business. We should be afforded the same respect as other countries. There has to be a general realisation of how important this industry, and the independent sector, is to the UK economy. Small companies are the lifeblood of this country and, by listening and understanding, together we can grow. Hopefully, this is the way forward and we can all prosper together.

David Greenberg, owner, Chex Bexley, Bexley, Kent www.chexbexley.co.uk


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14 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

INTERVIEW —

Q&A

Paul Drew

Paul Drew is another poacher turned gamekeeper, having swapped his menswear buyer position at Asos to front up sales as country manager for Dutch denim brand Denham. It’s his love of denim, in particular his strong belief in the label itself, that has signalled the move to the other side of the fence, discovers Tom Bottomley. —


15 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

Tom Bottomley: Why did you make the move from buyer to supplier? Paul Drew: My career has been shaped by the people I have worked with, such as Kevin Smith at Amici Menswear, John Pattinson at Bentalls, Stefan Pesticcio at Asos and Nick Preston at JD Sports Fashion. I want to learn and work with people at the top of their game. Also, the chance to work with one of my favourite brands made the move easy. TB: When did you join, and how does it feel to sit on the other side of the fence? PD: It has been a fast learning curve, as the day-to-day running is different working for a brand, which incorporates managing a wholesale team, retail team, working closely with our PR agency, Exposure, and, of course, HQ in Amsterdam. We have fantastic customers in wholesale who I love working with. I’m a shopkeeper at heart, so I enjoy spending time in our store. In fact, a fair bit of my day is working with our retail team in the Denham store in Shoreditch, and I know Jason Denham does the same in Amsterdam, too. TB: Did Denham approach you or vice versa? PD: In April, I visited my friend, Ben Sibthorpe, in Amsterdam. He is Denham’s international sales manager, and we went to lunch with Jason, who I have known for some time as I had bought Blue Blood and Denham while at Asos. We talked about the UK and how Denham was in the market. Jason wanted a different approach to the business. They asked my opinion on how the brand should be taken forward as I had bought Denham from day one. My views were the same as theirs. Jason knew of my passion for jeans and his brand, and the opportunity of working for Denham came from that. TB: Is working with one specific brand more to your liking than having to buy into countless ranges? PD: As a buyer, I enjoyed the variety of working with different labels – it makes the role as a branded buyer interesting. But I don’t think about it now, as there are so many parts of my new role that are keeping me busy, but it would

INTERVIEW —

“I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS WITH CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS, AS IT’S WHAT GOT ME THE RESULTS AS A BUYER, SO IT’S NO DIFFERENT NOW I’M WORKING FOR THE SUPPLIER” be the single most thing I miss. Denham produces eight collections per year – four each for menswear and womenswear – so there is plenty of product to work with in our own ranges. TB: Of the brands to jump sides to, what was the attraction of Denham in particular? PD: I bought Denham’s first winter collection for a/w 09 while I was at Asos, and I have always been a huge fan of Jason’s work. On many buying trips to Amsterdam, I have been lucky enough to go behind the scenes at the brand’s HQ and see how it operates. I have seen how it has grown in such a short space of time. It has an exciting future and I wanted to be a part of it. TB: How was your first season selling? Is the UK market still proving tough, or are most of the retailers you deal with proving resilient? PD: It’s difficult in the market for everyone. However, we are making great progress and have made positive steps this season. Bucking the trend, we have increased our orders with some key independent accounts, and have brought in new important accounts such as Coggles. We’ve also grown significantly with new women’s boutiques. We believe strongly in our women’s business for the future. TB: Can Denham become as big as G-Star? Is that what you envisage? PD: Denham is often compared to G-Star because the HQ is in Amsterdam. However, G-Star is 30 years old, and Denham is only five. G-Star is in 3,000 accounts worldwide, and Denham is in 300. It’s a different business model. TB: Where does Denham now have its own retail stores? PD: We have a men’s and a women’s store in Amsterdam, plus shops in Tokyo, Osaka and, of course, London. We are planning more stores in the UK and internationally. Franchises could be an option if we meet the right partners. TB: How many UK accounts do you currently have, and how do you intend to grow the brand in the UK? PD: We have 50 UK accounts. We have realigned the brand going forward for s/s 13 to focus and support them more and to take Denham forward in the UK. We work with many great independents such as Accent, Choice, Pilot, Six Whiting Street and Psyche, as well as bigger stores including Cruise, Selfridges and Harvey

Nichols. For s/s 13, Coggles, Richmond Classics and Michael Chell are some of the great new accounts we are looking to grow with. TB: Aside from denim, what other strengths does the brand have in terms of product? PD: Denham has always been a collection brand as well as a jeans label. Outerwear is strong, as are knits, shirts and jersey. We are also starting shoes. In 2013, we will launch a collaboration with Buttero from Italy and, in 2014, we will begin a collaboration with Converse USA. TB: At what level of the market do the jeans sit? PD: When you consider the quality, our prices are competitive. Our fabrics are from Italy and Japan, and the positioning is medium to high-end. TB: As a former buyer for Bentalls and Asos, what experience can you bring to your new role as country manager? PD: I have 12 years’ buying experience, ranging from an independent retailer through to a department store, online and a year at a multiple retail group at JD Sports Fashion. I have learnt many ways to trade and grow a brand, so I feel I can help support every customer we work with. In Holland, the wholesale team visit every customer monthly, which has reaped rewards not only with the owners of the businesses and buyers but the floor staff, too. I feel strongly about relationships with customers and suppliers, as it’s what always got me the results as a buyer, so it’s no different now I’m working for the supplier. TB: What’s going to be the big news for Denham in 2013? PD: Store openings in the UK, Europe and other international locations, and collaborations with selected brands, including the aforementioned footwear. Developing the women’s collection further is also a key focus. |

INFORMATION – Denham was launched in 2008 in Amsterdam by British-born jeansmaker Jason Denham – The brand’s aesthetic is manifested in traditional and “honest” craftsmanship, teamed with progressive development and inventions, and is based on the slogan, “Worship tradition: Destroy convent” – The label has two stores in Amsterdam, which opened in 2009 and 2012 respectivey, as well as two stores in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka) – In addition, the brand opened a London store, showroom and office in 2010 – Furthermore, Denham exports to 20 countries worldwide via a network of multi-brand stores


16 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

FASHION —

STYLE FILE This month’s product news —

STYLE FLASH — Lindy Ross, co-founder of UK brand Anonymous by Ross + Bute, has launched her eponymous limited-edition collection of knitwear, including hand-knits and pointelle styles. —

▲ NEW KID ON THE BLOCK By Biehl is the latest jewellery label to emerge from Denmark. The brand offers endless styling possibilities and a vast range of charm bracelets, which can be adjusted to personal taste, as well as earrings, rings, necklaces and more. —

CASUAL CHIC Luxury ready-to-wear label Moka London has launched its s/s 13 collection, playing with a mixture of textures and prints. Key styles include bodies, catsuits, structured tops with subtle peplums, and a variation of jackets, dresses and full-length skirts. Chic casualwear dominates, with the brand skillfully combining Italian jersey and linens with edgy manmade fabrics such as basket weave and poise. — ▲ COOL CASHMERE Newly launched cashmere label Illan is on a mission to inject a quirky design twist to the traditional luxury cashmere sector with suitably stylish, hip and fashion-conscious designs for both men and women. The British brand offers a vast collection of styles, including contemporary V-necks, mandarin collar gilets, covered zip-necks, retro ski designs and luxurious hoodies. —

British luxury leather goods STYLE FLASH brand Tusting has launched — The ninth collection from its new-look website, actress and designer www.tusting.co.uk. New Mischa Barton offers trans-seasonal handbags features include more and carry-alls in the brand’s signature search options, recommended bohemian style. products and a tab to show — recently viewed products. A clean and clear aesthetic draws attention to the product. —

“Latin luxe” swimwear collection Lara Ventura is launching to the UK with a range of Brazilian-cut bikinis in bold, eye-catching prints for the ultimate in sexy beachwear. —

Case study German accessories label House of Cases is the go-to brand for quirky cases for mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and netbooks. High-quality leathers, fur and nylon fabrics are combined with trendy prints and colours, responding to the seasonal impulse of fashion. —


Phone: 020 3219 7912 www.belovedclothes.com


19 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

STOCK UPDATE —

THE 10 BEST

LITTLE BLACK DRESSES

01

02

03

04

05

SPOTLIGHT — All-over sequins and slashed lace inserts offer a modern take on the classic LBD. Bodycon designs are slinky and sexy and need minimal accessorising in-store but provide maximum impact. —

06

07

The little black dress is an enduring wardrobe staple whatever the season. WWB looks at the 10 best updated styles for a/w 12, available to get in-store now. —

SPOTLIGHT — The Roaring 20s provides plenty of inspiration for little black dresses this season, with tassels and Art Deco sequins adorning designs. Look out for opulent fabrics to match, including silks and velvet. —

08

09

01 James Lakeland, £57, 020 7636 7130 02 Yumi, £20, 020 8961 2299 03 Beloved, £28, 020 7636 6868 04 Lashes of London, £23.20, 020 8809 4432 05 Izabel, £11, 020 8090 0692

10

06 Iron Fist, £25, 01202 338500 07 Soaked In Luxury, £28.33, 020 8875 5851 08 Antik Batik, €175, 0845 094 4012 09 Orla Kiely, £122, 020 7819 0110 10 Madam Rage, £11.20, 01977 551907


20 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

IN SEASON —

RING-A-DING Big and bold statement rings are still going strong. WWB selects some of our favourite styles, available to get in-store now. —

01

02 SPOTLIGHT — Oversized stones in round and oval shapes make an impression across jewellery this season – but no more so than across statement ring designs. —

03

04

SPOTLIGHT — Set in gold or silver, semi-precious stones and natural colourways make a subtle statement rather than blinding with bling. —

05

06

-01- Sushilla, retail price £159, 01993 706703 -02- Trisori, retail price £119, 0845 475 1456 -03- The Branch, £21, 01787 477005 -04- Kit Heath, £34.60, 01271 329123 -05- Lola Rose Boutique, price on request, 020 7372 0777 -06- Tateossian, £100, 020 7384 8336


22 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

FASHION —

FASHION RADAR FREE PEOPLE

LOLLIPOPS

This month marks the UK launch of US short order label Free People, offering an eclectic and relaxed look.

Having launched to the UK in August, French brand Lollipops is focusing on a wholesale push.

Established: 1984

Established: 2011

Signature style: Boho chic with elements of tomboy tough characterise the range, with features such as raw edging, appliqués, embroidery and special washes key.

Signature style: A mix of materials dominates the style of Lollipops, with French-chic juxtaposed against Brit influences and kooky, fun looks.

Free People was initially founded in Philadelphia in 1970 and was the original name of today’s fashion and lifestyle store, Urban Outfitters. In 1984, the Free People name was revived and the brand launched as an independent womenswear label. The brand now runs 72 stores throughout the US, one in Canada, and a wholesale operation in multi-label stores across the UK. With new collections being delivered every month and styles updated on the website each week, the brand is launching to the UK this month, offering dresses, denim, tees, lingerie, footwear, outerwear and leather items. As a contemporary and casual label at key opening price points to premium labels, Free People sits alongside the likes of J Brand, Paige, Current Elliott, Rag & Bone and Equipment. The brand is looking to further expand across Europe over the next six to 12 months. —

Aimed predominantly at the 20-35 age group, Lollipops is the new kid on the block, having quickly made its mark on its home market last year with successful store openings and an expanding wholesale side. The brand mixes materials like few others, melting velvet into wool, silk into coated fabrics, patchwork into cashmere and patterned fabrics. Surrealist inspirations create a theatrical base, with the current a/w season drawing on images of English winter gardens where a dog is dressed as an aristocrat. Most importantly, however, there is an underlying femininity in every collection. A range of bags, shoes and jewellery complements the main line. —


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24 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

PROFILE —

GLOBAL GATHERING Ten years ago, quirky designer brand Paul’s Boutique started out with a small stall on London’s Portobello Market. Fast forward to 2012 and the label is preparing for the next phase in its development. Isabella Griffiths got the full story from founder Paul Slade. —

P

aul Slade, founder of Paul’s Boutique, is in a chatty mood when WWB catches up with him, even though he is extremely busy and grabbing some time in between back-to-back meetings. No wonder, what with a planned launch of a leather and luxury line, as well as imminent signings with distributors in Germany, the US, Australia and Korea that will push the brand’s international expansion. This year marks the 10th anniversary for the brand, which started out as a small, slightly eccentric line on Portobello Market. Slade seems genuinely chuffed that he has made it to this milestone. We take a trip down memory lane, with Slade recalling his childhood that formed his interest in fashion from an early age. “I’ve always had a keen interest in fashion,” he says. “When I was around 10 years old, I used to raid my grandad’s wardrobe, which was full of cashmere Gabicci jumpers, flat caps and sheepskin coats. I was very tall so, even at a young age, I could wear his clothes. At school, my brother and I were fashion followers, but we stood out from the norm. Our style icon was Ray Petri, the late fashion stylist and creator of fashion house Buffalo. We used to go to school in black Levi’s turn-ups, hiking socks, biker boots, quiffs, and sometimes a packet of 10 Marlborough rolled-up in our sleeves. “When I was 18, I hit the clubs and, being a student, I was always skint, so I decided to make my own clothes,” Slade continues. “I went to Oxfam, bought a £4 suit and took it home to my mum’s. I deconstructed the suit by taking out the lining and showing the raw seams, leaving the threads

uncut. I refitted the jacket and tapered the trousers. I wore the suit to a club and, amazingly, the buyer from Chelsea Green boutique SOTT spotted me and asked where I got it from. I explained, and she placed an order there and then for 10 suits. She sold all 10 in a week at £700 a pop – the rest is history.” The quirky style has defined the brand ever since. The collections have become known for their handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces, using vintage army surplus jackets and rare American patches mixed with bold neon graphics that were inspired by the New York 80s hip-hop and graffiti scene along with Japanese super brands such as Bathing Ape, Hello Kitty and Hysteric Glamour. A touch of British eccentricity added in has defined Paul’s Boutique until today. The collections have evolved significantly over the last few years, and today offer more premium detailing while keeping the vintage, British element. “When we started, the collection was pretty much all clothing, with the exception of vintage bags made out of old US hockey tops,” says Slade. “We used to customise army jackets, vintage denim and sweatshirts in our lock-up garage in West London. “As the customer base grew, the need for less branded and less ‘blingy’ product became prevalent,” he continues. “This is when we divided the collection into two lines – Pop and Classic – still producing the fun and colourful product and not alienating our core customer. But, now, with the Classic range, the product can be bought by a much broader demographic. One thing that hasn’t changed throughout the years, though, is the sense of fun and quirkiness, albeit now a little more subtle.”


25 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

PROFILE —

“We’ve talked about opening a flagship store, but have decided to focus purely on the website. There is too much risk in bricks and mortar”

Paul Slade With a core target group of 15-25 years olds – “quirky, creative people who want something different”, as Slade describes – Paul’s Boutique is one of those aspirational but affordable labels that sits as effortlessly and comfortably in premium destination Selfridges as in young fashion mecca Bank. Both stores are crucial to the brand’s distribution. “We still hold Selfridges as our flagship account, while Bank turned us into a hugely successful national label,” he says. Cue the brand’s latest plans – an exclusive leather range for Selfridges – due to launch at the end of this month, which will enhance the label’s relationship with the group further. Another crucial milestone in the brand’s development so far is the launch of the Paul’s Boutique website two years ago, which now turns over £9m per annum. With the strength of the e-commerce business and a growing wholesale base, Slade is unsurprisingly not too concerned with opening own retail stores, but is sticking with developing the existing channels further. “We’ve talked about opening a flagship store, but have decided to focus purely on the website,” he says. “There is too much risk in bricks and mortar.” Despite being a quintessentially British brand – “the British thing is massive for us, especially overseas and Asia”, says Slade – the operation in the UK is fairly small, with around 10 key wholesale accounts in the likes of Selfridges, Bank, Topshop and House of Fraser. Internationally, however, the label’s presence is accelerating and balancing out a difficult economy in the UK. “Through the recession, our turnover has doubled year on year, thus bucking the trend,” says Slade. “This year, however, in the UK, sales

have stabilised, and growth for the business internationally is up.” In addition to clothing, accessories take up a massive chunk of the offer, alongside footwear and perfume, and more product sectors are set to follow suit. “We are in discussions with a footwear licensee, optics and luggage manufacturers,” says Slade. “We’ve received our first samples of rolling luggage and they look amazing. We are also working on a luxury accessories range for men and women under a different brand name, but I can’t say any more about it at the moment because it’s top secret.” The business may carry his name, but the brand is far from “just” being “Paul’s”. His life and business partner Emma Minford, who he has been working with since the start and has two kids with, plays a vital part in the success of the label, and both complement each other in their skillsets. “Emma is the heart of the company,” says Slade. “Emma makes it all happen. Without her, I would be stacking shelves. I provide the direction and the vision for the brand and she implements it.” Is it ever difficult to combine work and private life? “We have creative discussions in the office all the time,” says Slade. “Our biggest argument was in the early days when Emma wanted to jump onto the hippy and boho trend of dresses, but I stood firm. I wanted to create a brand and not be influenced too much by fast-fashion trends. I think I won,” he smirks.


Your One Stop Shop for

Stock

T: 01450 363 100 E: sales@hawickknitwear.com www.hawickknitwear.com


27 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

REPORT —

MAKING IN THE UK – A VIABLE OPTION? WWB recently attended the ASBCI conference, which explored the revival of UK manufacturing. WWB sums up the highlights from some of the key players. —

Back row from left: Mark Lyness, Jenny Holloway, Ian Sime, Julie King, James Dracup, Sangita Khan, Eddie Jones and Michael Bentley. Front row: Michael Stoll, Katie Greenyer, Jonny Mitchell, Michael Spenley and Daniel Hanson

Titled “Made in the UK – fashioning a future for British clothing manufacturers”, the conference was organised by the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI) and was held at the Marriott Worsley Park Hotel near Manchester. The conference, which was the first major industry symposium in over three years, addressed the feasibility of moving garment manufacture back to the UK and attracted more than 160 delegates. The event was chaired by Dr Julie King, ASBCI event director and head of fashion and textiles at De Montfort University, and involved high-profile speakers from J Barbour & Sons, Buff Clothing, Cooper & Stollbrand, Courtaulds Legwear, Daniel Hanson Dressing Gowns, De Montfort University, Fashion Enter, Johnstons of Elgin, Kufner Textil, Lectra UK, NWText, Pentland Group and Shop Direct Group. They explained how the best creative design talent in the world, a unique and globally appealing heritage and an uncompromising commitment to producing quality niche products, combined with energy saving product innovations and rapid response production practices, have made luxury and volume garment and textile manufacturing a viable proposition in the UK. Delegates also heard how employers and colleges are launching collaborative apprenticeships, designed to fill the skill shortages gap and make a career in garment manufacture sexy and appealing to a new generation. While speaker companies continue to pursue new export markets, they appealed to retailers to play their part in supporting UK suppliers, thereby creating more jobs and contributing to an economic recovery.

>>>


28 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

REPORT —

“We must nurture our design talent”

“Aspire to being the best to secure future of UK manufacturing”

“Volume production in the UK is possible”

KATIE GREENYER

JAMES DRACUP

SANGITA KHAN

Katie Greenyer is creative director of fashion designer and manufacturer Red or Dead, owned by UK British brand management company Pentland. She also heads the group’s central style, product and innovation team and is a Pentland ambassador, regularly speaking at design conferences and colleges. — The woman who famously staked Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway in the late 80s to land freelance work is now creative director of the quintessentially British brand, which was acquired by Pentland in 1996. She opened the conference with a characteristically passionate and patriotic presentation on all things British-made, while fast-tracking delegates through her meteoric career in fashion, which was founded on a lifelong passion for print and colour, having worked with the likes of Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood, Next, Jigsaw, Paul Costelloe, French Connection and Dr Martins. She explained that in a bid to constantly refresh its creative edge, Pentland, the biggest employer of designers in the UK, has set up the Design Pool, where “we nurture the best design talent in the world.” The Design Pool gives outstanding design graduates 11 months’ work, an £18,000 salary and an opportunity to apply their talent to commercial products. Greenyer enthused, “I am proud to be from a British family company... a British business paying British taxes!” —

James Dracup is group managing director of Scottish knitwear brand Johnstons of Elgin. With over 700 employees, the privately held company is one of the largest independent employers in Elgin since the mid-1800s, operating a knitting plant in Hawick and a weaving plant in Elgin. — James Dracup spoke about the rich heritage of Johnstons of Elgin and the Made in Scotland attribute that defines everything the company does and stands for. He acknowledged that this year has been one of the most challenging in recent times, but asserted through a number of reasons why the company is looking to the future with cautious optimism. Crucial to this is “customer” and “market” which, as he stressed, “are the heartbeat of our business”, which exports to over 40 countries around the world. Dracup explained that Johnstons of Elgin is investing heavily in product design and innovation, responding to the expectations of the luxury consumer and creating “a need to buy” with new compositions, colours, textures and aesthetics. He urged delegates to “only aspire to make the best”, and not look for volume per se, but for quality of production. “While it’s true that textile manufacturing in the UK has reached a dangerously small size, it is no coincidence that those who survive and prosper have a commitment to craft quality and bespoke manufacture,” he highlighted, adding that production flexibility is a crucial element in the company’s considerations, as run sizes are getting smaller and speed to market is accelerating. “This production flexibility comes only with enormous commitment to capital investment in plant, people, systems and facilities,” he said. “Every year, we invest continuously back in our business.” Dracup finished by stressing that he believed there is a future for textile manufacturing in the UK “for businesses that base their proposition on excellence of product, invest in design and capital projects, operate in niche markets, employ bright young people, give excellence of service and look to the world for their markets.” —

Sangita Khan is the founder of Buff Clothing, a UK manufacturer producing volume garments for the likes of Next, River Island and Matalan in its factory in Leicester, as well as its own capsule collection, Buff Clothing. — In her speech, Sangita Khan focused on the feasibility of volume production in the UK, and passionately put forward the case that “Yes, it can be done! It is being done but, unfortunately, not enough.” Khan used her own company’s example of producing for big high street names, and listed six reasons why other companies should follow suit and start producing in the UK. Firstly, lead times are quicker when producing in the UK with speedier lead times, from concept and design to production and delivery, as companies can hold fabric and react quickly to different style requirements in the same fabric. Secondly, UK manufacturers can react to emerging trends quicker. Thirdly, Khan suggested that by dealing with UK designers and manufacturers, communication is much more streamlined and slicker, from concept stage and fine-tuning the design to the production process, with any occurring problems able to be ironed out before the bulk is produced. Fourthly, Khan looked at bestsellers and how UK manufacturing enables immediate and reactive production on repeats, allowing retailers much more efficient replenishment of its strongest sellers. As the fifth reason for moving to UK suppliers, Khan quoted a rise in consumer interest in UK-produced goods. “Made in the UK is increasingly associated with quality, as well as a sign that we value the society in which we live, and the idea of it being home-grown is ever more important,” she said. Finally, Khan highlighted the value that reviving UK manufacturing would bring to the society as a whole, creating more jobs and allowing the clothing industry to thrive once more. —


29 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

REPORT —

“How ethical a choice is UK manufacturing?”

“Making manufacturing sexy again”

“UK manufacturing equals skill and quality, not price sensitivity”

MICHAEL SPENLEY

JENNY HOLLOWAY

DANIEL HANSON

Michael Spenley is head of corporate responsibility at online and home shopping retailer Shop Direct Group (SDG). The Group has annual sales of over £1.7bn and serves more than five million customers. It has around 200 suppliers of own-brand clothing and footwear globally, with 400 factories, five of which are UK-based. — Michael Spenley shared the realities of production in both the UK and in developing countries. “The ethical debate goes something like this,” he began. “UK manufacturing is good, offshore manufacturing is bad. But is this view misguided?” Spenley revealed that SDG would like to produce more in the UK, but cannot find enough factories who meet its ethical standards and can work with its prices and minimums on styles, with currently only five out of its 400 factories based in the UK. “We are a business, not a charity, and must deal with our UK suppliers on a level playing field with our options globally,” he explained. Spenley stressed that contrary to public perception, developing countries – in particular China – have seen vast improvements in health, safety and better wages for its workers, while “sweatshop Britain” is also a sad reality, listing a number of examples of these “ugly ducklings”. “There are certainly lots of factories out there, but most are too small to fulfil our orders, unless they club together with unauthorised ‘hidden’ sub-contractors, where many workers are on temporary contracts or self-employed without access to sick pay, holiday pay or benefits, resulting in transparency issues around permission to work in the UK as well as factors such as minimum wages, hours and so on,” he explained. Spenley concluded by saying that UK manufacturing offers lots of opportunities, but the suppliers’ costs are high and margins are narrow and, where there are narrow margins, there are shortcuts and risks. “We are hopeful for a resurgence to the UK, but we are also realistic,” he said. “I feel we probably need to give it a few years before we can think of England as the manufacturing superpower it once was.” —

Jenny Holloway is the founder of Fashion Enter, a not-for-profit industry organisation that offers support, mentoring, professional advice and exposure to talented young designers and manufacturers. Among Fashion Enter’s portfolio of services is resource website FashionCapital.co.uk, the Profile Fashion Event and The Showroom, a platform for young designers. — Holloway put forward the case for apprenticeships and training schemes, enabling a new generation of designers – but especially production and manufacturing professions – a much-needed break into the industry. Holloway talked about her own experiences, having set up – with support from online retailer Asos – The Factory, a 4,500 sq ft production unit in Haringey that employs 34 people and produces up to 5,000 garment units per week for clients such as Asos, John Lewis, Oasis, Lipsy and smaller emerging London designers. A more recent addition is The Fashion Studio, based at the Knowledge Dock at the UEL campus, which is also the home of the Fashion and Textile Apprenticeship Programme, and gives over 40 new designers facilities for toiles, patterns and short-run production. Holloway highlighted the lack of specialist training and skills, and passionately urged the industry to do more to rectify the situation. “There are a number of barriers in UK production, such as a lack of specialist training and skills,” she said. “Our workforce is from European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. Our own, domestic workforce in these fields is ageing – our machinists average at age 45. We have a patchy infrastructure, because there is no concerted effort to work as one for the good of manufacturing. The perception generally is that manufacturing is not sexy; everyone wants to be a designer, but what about the production skills behind it? We need to make manufacturing sexy again!” she demanded, and offered a number of solutions. “Yes, there is price pressure, but we can compete on large runs.” —

Daniel Hanson is CEO of his eponymous luxury gown brand Daniel Hanson, which he founded in 1989 following a wealth of production and design management roles, as well as lecturing positions. The brand today is one of the leading luxury nightwear and kimono labels, renowned for its immaculate quality. — Hanson ran delegates through the history of his brand, which was launched after he had been collecting old dressing gowns for 10 years. The company grew to 28 people in 10 years, and 60 in 15 years. However, Hanson stressed manufacturing in the UK always had its challenges, no matter what era. “Believe me, staffing for manufacturing in the UK was, at that time, no less difficult than it is now,” he stated. “Getting good machinists and amassing a body of skilled people has never been easy.” Hanson went on to explain that in the beginning of this millennium, the cost of running a first-generation manufacturing business without a substantial financial base or retained assets became prohibitive in the UK. The company was forced to downsize dramatically, retaining a full-time manufacturing and staff team of eight people, producing low-volume, high-cost products in Nottingham, and high-volume, low-cost products in the Czech Republic. “What did we lose when we downscaled? Above all, skills, then camaraderie, intellectual property and the drive to expand the business,” he revealed. “What did we gain? Financial sanity and our heritage as a design company.” Nevertheless, on the brink of moving his manufacturing completely to the Czech Republic in 2006, Hanson had an epiphany. “I told my partner that while I was alive, we would retain manufacturing in the UK,” he said, before giving a positive outlook on current UK manufacturing: “We once again want to make in the UK, and we believe it is becoming more and more realistic, providing we concentrate on the ‘less price-sensitive’ aspects of our product ranges.” —


31 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

INTERVIEW —

WORD ON THE STREET Flip is the new arrival on the UK exhibition scene, with the show set to extend its reach for its second edition in February. Isabella Griffiths caught up with event director Jamie Harden and event manager for womenswear Silvia Collins about their ambitious plans. — Isabella Griffiths: Flip is gearing up for its second edition in February, having been launched for s/s 13. What have you got in-store for the next show? Jamie Harden: We launched Flip in August as an urban, street, board and action sports lifestyle exhibition, having responded to the industry’s call for a dedicated UK trade show for the sector. With our first edition, we built the foundations for further expansion. The feedback we gained from exhibitors and visitors was that there is room to particularly strengthen the presence of urban, street and lifestyle labels, especially in the unisex, denim and young womenswear segment, so we are looking to introduce more of these labels to our mix. IG: What type of brands are you looking to attract? Silvia Collins: We’re looking to attract unisex labels and young womenswear collections. In terms of market positioning, it’s those at entry to mid price points that are aimed at the 15-25 age group at the core. Saying that, the sector is so diverse and vibrant, it’s not just about fitting one-dimensional criteria. We want to bring together collections that are quirky and unique and that have attitude and an edge. IG: Flip is a new addition to the exhibition circuit – what point of difference does it offer? JH: Flip fills the niche for a UK trade show that brings together the urban, street and young fashion sectors for men and women under one roof. It’s no secret that the European show landscape is changing, most notably with Bread & Butter’s latest move to consolidate its show with a much tighter edit. Equally, many brands are reviewing their strategies and rethinking their show commitments with a much stronger focus on domestic shows. I think the times where shows were a PR and marketing exercise are over, and what counts is that they reach well-targeted, serious buyers. At Flip, we deliver on that. We are putting a lot of effort into getting the right buyers. If you’re a brand, you need the right buyers and relevant stores, not time-wasters. We’re not interested in smoke and mirrors, but in credible buyers who will generate serious orders and move your business forward. SC: I think the same goes for retailers, though. Budgets are tight, and, for many retailers, it’s not viable to visit the European trade shows; it’s expensive, and a hassle. But, at the same time, it’s never been more important for retailers to keep their offer fresh. If your customers are careful about what they are spending and footfall isn’t good, you need to evolve your product selection and source the labels that are going to inject some newness into your offer and revive your customers’ interest in your store. That’s where Flip comes in. IG: Flip runs alongside the UK’s largest trade exhibition, Moda. Are there any synergies and benefits that this offers? SC: Moda is the only UK trade show to bring together womenswear, menswear, footwear, lingerie and accessories, attracting key buyers from big stores such as Fenwick, Asos, BrandAlley, Amazon, Bentalls, Debenhams and Liberty, as well as some of the best indies in the country.

Jamie Harden and Silvia Collins

Flip adds another dimension to the mix and offers existing visitors the chance to further diversify their offer and tap into a fresh and new product mix. We are also launching targeted marketing activities to attract key buyers from the urban, street and young fashion sectors, so the next edition of Flip promises to be an exciting event. JH: Moda is an established trade show, and the profile of the event has expanded over the last few years with a wealth of industry sectors having been added to the mix. Moda hosts the leading showcases for mainstream womenswear and menswear, as well as the national shows for the footwear and lingerie industries, while contemporary area Select is a more recent and successful addition to Moda Menswear, having showcased the likes of Dockers, Palladium, Original Penguin Footwear, Superga Footwear, Gabicci Vintage and Selected at its last show. Flip will further diversify and expand the contemporary offer and strengthen not only the concept but also the venue of the shows as a key event on the national exhibition calendar. We are working hard to make sure the right brand adjacencies are meeting the right buyer profile and vice versa. I think it’s important to stress that we are doing this in response to industry demand, so we are open to relevant feedback and to hear what brands and retailers are looking for. We are not just organising a trade show; we are creating a hub for the industry. There will be dedicated catwalks, seminars, live music, drinks parties and more, providing a networking platform that will benefit brands and retailers alike. Flip takes place on 17-19 February at NEC Birmingham. For more information visit Moda-uk.co.uk/flip or email jamie@moda-uk.co.uk or silvia@moda-uk.co.uk.


32 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

OPEN TO QUESTION —

THE SHORT ORDER DEBATE Is in-season buying on the rise, or just something the young fashion market embraces? WWB quizzes key indies about the importance of short-order ranges to their in-store offer. —

DERYANE TADD owner, The Dressing Room, St Albans, Hertfordshire

KASIA COLE owner, Swish Boutique, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

SARAH CLARE owner, What Sarah Did, Hitchin, Hertfordshire

HANNAH JENNINGS owner, Starburst Boutique, Dartmouth

JANINE O’KEEFE owner, O’Keefe, Esher, Surrey

What is the ratio of short-order vs forward-order collections in your store?

At present, I save 30 per cent of my budget for short order and for repeating in-season. It allows me to react to weather and trends as they happen. I have always kept around 30 per cent of my budget back for this reason.

We allocate around 10-15 per cent to short-order buying. The ratio changes slightly in favour of short order in winter. We tend to be more careful with our forward buying for a/w, and top-up the stock as and when.

Short order takes up around a third of our offer, although this is altering as the market changes. S/s will be a higher percentage, as I can work with the economy and the weather easier through the summer. We wear summer clothes for a much shorter time, so autumn/winter is where we mainly invest.

Short order makes up less than 10 per cent of my buy and is focused more to the accessories side of the business.

I forward order around 70 per cent of our brands, as they require it and because I like to coordinate styles and colours from different brands to create my own exclusive range for my customers. Around 30 per cent of my budget goes on short order, of which around 10 per cent is for new ready-to-wear brands. The rest is for accessories.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of short-order buying?

It allows you to react to trends, weather and stock shortages in-season. However, the nature of short-order collections means the quality is not always great. But I have found some great short-order brands that also produce quality collections that are perfect for my market.

It helps to maintain a healthy cash flow and keeps the merchandise exciting. On the downside, short order is a quick way to mess up your budget. It’s important to include both forward and short order in your original budget to avoid overspending towards the end of the season. It takes discipline to adhere to that.

Short order brings a constant freshness to my store. It’s great to offer something fresh and new every few weeks. Disadvantages are cash flow, as most act on pro-forma. This eats heavily into cash flow without immediate return, and sometimes the quality of short order isn’t as good.

In theory, I think short-order lines are good as they can offer greater financial flexibility and enable buyers to react quickly to current trends and conditions such as the weather. But the short-order brands I have viewed recently seemed to lack the direction, cohesiveness and quality of the forward-order brands I currently buy into.

Not committing cash flow up to six months in advance for lines before seeing what key trends are spotted on catwalks, the high street and editorials in-season is an advantage. The main disadvantage is that most key brands require forward order and do not hold much stock in-season, so it would be a risk to miss out on popular styles.

Do you feel there are enough high-quality short-order collections out there?

There is definitely room in the market for more good-quality short-order collections.

It is a struggle to find great collections that offer in-season buying. There is much more on offer for the younger market, but not so much for the older, medium-priced market.

I am lucky to work with some great short-order companies, but there is always room for more.

I have personally found it hard to find short-order brands that are targeted at the 35-plus audience.

I think it is usually easy to pick up accessories of good quality in-season, but much more challenging to source well-made ready-to-wear.

Will forward order always be part of your buying strategy, or do you see this changing in the future?

I think it will stay the same. It is important for me to have great quality, beautiful forward-order collections mixed with short order on demand. But, if more companies can produce great-quality product with short lead times, I would look to change the balance.

We will always buy a majority of our stock by forward order as it works for us. We know our customer well and feel confident about buying our core brands six months in advance. It’s also good to know what’s coming, as it makes it easier to plan our social events and marketing activities around the deliveries of new stock.

Buying forward order will always be a part of my store. It’s the foundation, and I believe my boutique needs this standard and reputation. Short order is like the icing and cherry on the cake. Without the cake of forward order, it has no structure.

Forward ordering will remain my buying strategy, especially as brands such as MiH Jeans, Pyrus and Petit Bateau have recently been fantastic in working with me in-season and reacting to my store’s and customers’ needs.

I think forward order is inevitably going to remain the largest part of my budget due to the collections I carry, but minimums will become more flexible with not so much commitment upfront. But I am making a conscious effort to work with brands that carry more short-order product.

Is short-order and fast fashion only relevant in the younger end of the market?

I think it is relevant across the market in varying degrees. We all want to have relevant product that works for our customers when they want it.

At this point in time, it’s the younger market that benefits from it the most. This is because the offer for the sector is much wider and more exciting than others. The brands that have the 35-plus customer in mind have to understand that in the current climate there is a high demand for in-season buying and they need to act on it.

Short order and fast fashion is often seen to be for the younger market, but it’s how you buy from any collection and how the styles are worn rather than the brand themselves that determines its age range.

I still associate short-order brands as catering for a younger demographic who are trend-led, and for buyers who want to react quickly to trends. And personally, I see this as tipping over into the high street territory.

No, I think it is also relevant for my age customers, too (30-60) as they are discerning and keep up-to-date with fashion press and blogs.

What could brands do to improve their short-order service?

Work on quality and mark-up. A great short-order range should offer a decent mark-up. A lot of short-order brands also sell direct from their own website at a lower margin; this isn’t helpful to a retailer as we need to match the brand’s price, which lowers our margin. I’ve dropped short-order collections in recent seasons because of this.

The problems we’ve had in the past are the lack of supply of bestselling garments and the uneven distribution of sizes. We order across the sizes that are relevant to us (8-18), and not being able to do that can be frustrating. Labels that offer a short-order facility should have an analytical team to get their merchandise planning spot on.

I think short-order brands have to work hard to keep indies interested, as we cannot afford constant returns on faulty items, therefore quality over quantity. Pro-forma is a killer and, although I understand why, it’s difficult for us to work together in this way.

I think short-order brands do a good job for the market they are serving, but it doesn’t fit into my concept of the store.

I think they could react to key in-season trends more quickly and often to give the indies a chance to compete more with the high street. They could also be more flexible on payment terms like 50 per cent before delivery and 50 per cent after 30 days – they are then getting their materials paid for at least before delivery.


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34 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

SHORT ORDER —

RAPID RESPONSE WWB profiles the labels presenting short-order, mid-season and flash collections during a/w 12, perfect for a quick injection of on-trend styles. —

CHEAP MONDAY Cheap Monday’s November express collection presents a tight and sporty silhouette with volume added to the sleeves, shape and cuts of some of the tops. Details such as frills, embroideries, a lurex knit and shimmering jersey add a festive touch, with fancier jersey styles featuring thick, rough metal zips. Dominating colours are silver and dark, sparkling purple. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £3.70-£24.10. 0046 8305900 —

SOAKED IN LUXURY New York’s “uptown” looks provide a wealth of inspiration for Soaked in Luxury. The Danish label looks to New York for style tips this season. Capturing the essence of how women in the big apple live, the collection is an interchangeable mix of uptown looks with a vibrant colour palette of metallics, mulberry shades and greens mixed with classic black and navy. Going from the office to evening is easily catered for with dresses, jackets and smart blazers that have a multi-functional quality, while key pieces include sequin blazers, designed to be layered over chic black dresses. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £6-£36. 020 8875 5851 —

RUBY ROCKS Known for pretty day-to-night dresses, vintage styling and conversational prints, Ruby Rocks starts off a/w 12 with tones of black, grey, tan, nude, ruby red and jade. Key pieces include bodycon and midi dresses, a leopard print pencil skirt and a hummingbird-motif cropped knit. The brand is also happy to develop products with buyers, who can choose shapes in alternative prints, making theirs a bespoke buy. Delivery: three to four weeks. Wholesale prices: £15-£22. 07973 718301 —


35 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

NANCY DEE Specialising in day-to-night jersey from sustainable sources, and manufactured exclusively in Britain, ethical label Nancy Dee mixes classic shapes with bold prints for a/w 12. Oriental influences shape the collection with a rich colour palette of opulent maroon red, burnt orange and caramel. Further east, Japanese shapes such as kimono sleeves, wraparound dresses and obi-style belts provide key details to certain styles. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £15-£50. 020 7183 3658 —

LASHES Lashes edits the major trends for a/w 12 with a global approach. Partywear label takes its inspiration from flea markets in LA to art museums in Paris this season. However, the brand’s signature London cool, adopted from street style and vintage remains at the core, with embellishment as standard. Four key trends are at the forefront of the collection – Brash Baroque, Elektric Nights, Ice Queen and Vintage Luxe. Hot neons on a midnight black base, metallics and galactic prints are key themes for Elektric Nights, and Brash Baroque features classic Rococo design with over-embellished pieces and empire lines. Delivery: two to eight weeks. Wholesale prices: £7.85-£46.40. 020 8809 4432 —

SHORT ORDER —

LOVESTRUCK Available at selected boutiques across the UK and Europe, the 40-piece a/w 12 range balances occasionwear with hand-finished touches to simple day dresses. Oriental and Grecian influences play a key role this season with gold-plaited strap detailing and waterfall frills across dress options. Delivery times: immediate for items in stock; for those not in stock, four weeks. Wholesale prices: £8-£18. 01707 257168 —

WIZARD JEANS Wizard Jeans welcomes a new addition this season – midnight blue straight-cuts inlaid with light-reflecting sparkle, building on the success of its bestselling sparkly skinny jeans. Wizard Jeans’ clever technology is adopted throughout, with the Baroque trend the inspiration for a/w 12. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £37-£65. 07768 816420 —

OLVI’S Olvi’s Lace collection is a mixture of modern classic and bridal fashion. The brand’s focal point is on the creation of feminine fashion across its varied range, using the highest quality lace and eminence lining. The a/w 12 range comprises elegant long, mid and short dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, tunics, jackets and bustiers. Delivery: up to 12 weeks. Wholesale prices: £240-£275. 01625 529529 —


36 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

IRON FIST The a/w 12 range from Iron Fist takes its cue from multiple places. The Swing Low range looks to the Art Deco era and glamorous pin-up girls, while the Hollywood line is more casual with day-to-night pieces featuring interesting prints. Finally, the Night a Light range is eveningwear-focused with colour pops and sequins. Delivery: three working days. Wholesale prices: £7.91-£54.16. 01202 338500 —

RESULT CLOTHING Result Clothing offers a range of high-performance outerwear and accessories from stock. Highlighted items for a/w include a down-feel, lightweight water-repellant jacket, versatile 3-in-1 jacket with performance insulation and a cosy unisex snood. Available in sizes 8-16. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £2.95-£31.95. 01206 865605 —

SHORT ORDER —

BELOVED Launching for a/w 12, Beloved is London fashion brand Darling’s rebellious sister label. Available for short order, Beloved is described as “the go-to label for when the Darling girl is in a mischievous mood” and features fun and flirty partywear which, like Darling, is ultra-feminine and vintage-inspired. The debut collection is full of day-to-night pieces in luxe fabrics such as velvet, lace and brocade in a colour palette of metallics and monochrome alongside on-trend aubergine. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £6-£42. 020 7636 6868 —

AX PARIS Inspiration behind AX Paris’ a/w line is taken from the darker side of fashion, with Gothic a prominent theme throughout the collection. Despite this – and in keeping with the brand’s aesthetic – there is still a softer side with chiffon shirts and blouses with lace detail. Key pieces include show-stopping party dresses combined with edgier styles, including graduated skirts, on-trend peplums and leopard prints. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £4-£14. 07891 440758 —

AMERICAN VINTAGE American Vintage punctuates its well-established basics this season with colour pops of blackberry, raspberry, forest green, electric blue and mustard. Smooth jersey fabrics and cosy knits rimmed with silk are highly sought-after, while abstract, asymmetrical and stripe prints provide even more interest. A menswear line with similar themes is also available for short order. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £12-£50. 020 7486 0486 —


37 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

DEPLOY DEMI COUTURE The a/w 12 range from Deploy Demi Couture features elegant, feminine styles made vivid in a palette of midnight tones with accents of rose, fig and grape. Key pieces include mohair, cashmere and Harris Tweed jackets, printed pinstripe eco denim and fitted mid-length wrap dresses – some with removable capelet and button details, others with detachable and reversible aspects. Delivery: six weeks. Wholesale prices: from £90. 020 7935 2613 —

FINDERS KEEPERS After launching into the UK market early 2012, Finders Keepers is making its mark with high-fashion collections at accessible price points. Two short-order drops are available for a/w 12 – Miami Nights with October delivery and the Bright Side resort collection with November delivery. Miami Nights is a sophisticated partywear range with menswear and rock ’n’ roll influences. Silhouettes range from bodycon dresses to more relaxed harem pants, cape-like coats, faux fur jackets and pleated skirts. Delivery: October and November. Wholesale prices: £15-£50. 020 7725 5700 —

SHORT ORDER —

AVA MIRABELLE Ava Mirabelle’s signature handprinted designs are illustrated in red hues with peacock themes this season. Premium, quality fabrics range from French lace to pure Charmuese silk and luxurious velvets, harking back to the extravagance of the affluent era. Pieces include embellished, hand-weaved metallics, Swarovski crystals, delicate chains and opaque studs. Delivery: two to four weeks. Wholesale prices: £60-£280. 07717 752626 —

CCKT CCKT is inspired by art and illustration, working with artists around the world and giving them a blank canvas on which to showcase their designs. T-shirts, vest tops and jumpers are signature pieces for both women and men across the a/w 12 range. Delivery: two weeks. Wholesale prices: £13-£20. 07595 894690 —

DOUBLE TWO Double Two’s a/w 12 collection welcomes “warm handle” fabrics and pure cottons, which are paired with complementing brushed checks. Classic features have not been overlooked with pin-tucking, pleated fronts and new, softer rounded collars. The winter colour palette includes rich shades of russet, wine, plum, amethyst and purple, softened by rose, cloud, sky blue and blush. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale Prices: on request. 01924 375651 —


38 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

SHORT ORDER —

ZAYAN Zayan’s second collection, Let Them Wear Roses, features a range of tops, dresses, jackets, blazers and pants in royal blue and rose print silks. Structured tweed shoulders in neon orange with metallic gold add a touch of high-octane tailoring to the collection, while laser-cut and embroidered neon coral roses, gold spikes and cable knits keep it soft and flirty in a way that is true to the brand aesthetic. Delivery: two weeks. Wholesale prices: $80-$285. 0097 143463393 —

BIELLE Dark influences with a fairy-tale twist are at the heart of the new season for brand-to-watch Bielle. The 75-piece collection adapts the label’s signature style to a darker, gothic look this season, while keeping its feminine brand identity. Subtle 20s and 50s influences and opulent embellishment abounds in a warm autumnal palette of cherry, raspberry, plum, teal, burnt orange, black, brown, cream and winter white. The Doily dress with lace Peter Pan collar embellished with pearls and diamante is a particular favourite, alongside Gatsby-inspired fringing and Art Deco prints evident on the Fringe dress. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £24-£32. 020 7831 9163. Expansion targeting south of England and Scotland. —

TAYBERRY Tayberry’s new a/w 12 collection combines rich teals, plums, magentas, denims, greys and dusky pinks with traditional style and Tayberry’s own design twists to create wearable, quality garments. This season sees the new Tweed collection, comprising a skirt, jacket, purse and bag, as well as an extended footwear range that caters for men and women and stylish accessories. The Essentials range remains a constant, and includes Tayberry’s bestselling macs, waxed jackets, hats and wellingtons. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £10-£25. 01507 524816 —

JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN Johnstons of Elgin has redesigned its core stock service collection for a/w 12, featuring contemporary, streamlined silhouettes that complement modern trends while maintaining a classic feel. The range is available across staple womenswer and menswear designs, as well as an extensive line of luxury accessories, including scarves, hats, gloves and socks. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £40-£100, 01450 360500 —

TULCHAN Tulchan presents a new mid-season collection designed to complement the main a/w 12 range. Eight key items are fused into the Highland Hideaway collection with a mix of lambswool knitwear and cotton-rich pieces. Bright shades of teal, heather pink and navy have been incorporated on feminine floral and stripe designs. Delivery: immediate. Wholesale prices: £12.50-£24.75. 01524 274025 —


40 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

REVIEW —

MODEL BEHA THE KEY TRENDS TO EMERGE FROM THE CATWALKS AT NEW YORK, LONDON, MILAN AND PARIS FASHION WEEKS.

Jonathan Saunders

Eudon Choi

Topshop Unique

Clements Ribeiro

Acne

House of Holland

STRIPES VS CHECKS Designers encouraged us to take sides with print this season as wide, bold stripes vs large, abstract checks became a hot topic of debate. Leading the check revolution was House of Holland, adaping its houndstooth theme of a/w 12 into an oversized shadow check in tones of burgundy, chartreuse and gun-metal grey for s/s 13. Eudon Choi’s Space Oddity collection of clean lines and neon orange checks followed suit, as did Topshop Unique with window pane panels in a predominately monochrome palette. Sitting on the other side of the fence, Jonathan Saunders took a wide stripe and ran with it. Acne, meanwhile, was more restrained with a few key leather jackets inspired by a jockey’s uniform. Clements Ribeiro showed both rebooted rainbow stripes and muted checks together to great effect.

Hervé Léger

Maria Grachvogel

Daks

Etro

PPQ

Gripped by Olympic fever, designers took a more sporty tack than ever this season, but nowhere was it more apparent than at Zoe Jordan, which harnessed all the key trends including midriff-baring crop tops and varsity jackets. Jordan also showed a relaxed printed jumpsuit with harem trousers, which turned out to be a repetitive theme across collections this season. Daks and Etro presented similar options, while Maria Grachvogel gave hers a sexier vibe with a plunging neckline. In addition, bodysuits were given a luxe overhaul with elongating prints at BcbgMaxAzria and a retro rose paisley at PPQ.

Zoe Jordan

JUMP START


41 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

REVIEW —

VIOUR

Vivienne Westwood

Temperley London

Bora Aksu

John Rocha

Holly Fulton

Corrie Nielsen

COSTUME DRAMA London Fashion Week saw a resurgence of elegant, period-style dresses for s/s 13. Examples included ultra-feminine lattice appliqués, embroideries and diaphanous fabrics fit for a princess at Temperley London. Bora Aksu was inspired by Marie of Romania – granddaughter of Queen Victoria – who went on to become Queen of Romania, and her love of botanical gardens and Art Deco design. Floor-length gowns in sheer silk organzas with puff sleeves were popular at John Rocha in delicate tones of china blue and blush pink. Meanwhile, London’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the British royal gardens provided stimulation for Corrie Nielsen and Vivienne Westwood respectively. Holly Fulton put her own twist on the floral theme with sequin embroidery worked across plastic dresses.

Steffie Christiaens

Rag & Bone

Ashish

Richard Nicoll

BcbgMaxAzria

Sportswear influences get an overhaul for s/s 13 in stark white with quick flashes of slate grey. Richard Nicoll effortlessly demonstrated this design aesthetic with clean, sculptural shapes with both feminine and masculine elements across jacquards, pique, cotton, mesh, silks, leather, knits and grey marl jersey. When the palette is this stark, plenty of texture and technical fabrics are needed alongside mesh inserts and zip detailing – a frame of mind clearly shared over at BcbgMaxAzria, Christopher Raeburn and Rag & Bone. Meanwhile, Ashish and Steffie Christiaens flipped typically stark looks on their head with luxe offerings in shimmering sequins.

Christopher Raeburn

CLEAN SLATE


42 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

REVIEW —

THE EXHIBITION @ LFW London Fashion Week’s static show at Somerset House was a showcase for creative high-end labels across ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear. WWB picks its highlights. —

DAVID LONGSHAW Designer and illustrator David Longshaw uses his drawings and story-telling as a starting point for his collection, with this season’s range entitled Eva & Doug go on Holiday. —

MARYLING Impeccably tailored pieces were at the forefront of Maryling’s chic collection, with this elegant blazer among the highlights. The brand impressed with a versatile collection in a combination of summer brights and understated neutrals. —

PAPER Paper has been making a name for itself thanks to its sleek, sharp silhouettes, and this season was no exception. A bold colour palette of hot pinks, oranges and purples formed the perfect backdrop to fierce-looking, high-impact pieces. —

SALONI This season, Saloni offered a feminine and wearable collection, with dresses and relaxed tops in striking colours and prints key. This laser-cut cropped jacket was one of the stand-out styles for s/s 13. —

SOPHIA WEBSTER Footwear designer Sophia Webster has been working as design assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood after graduating, and has now launched her own label characterised by feminine silhouettes and strong looks. —

ÚNA BURKE Luxury leather accessories designer Úna Burke presented a colourful and imaginative range of handbags, shoes and complementary accessories this season based mostly on vegetable-tanned cowhide. —

WHITE TENT Ecological brand White Tent’s latest range continued with its characteristic urban sportswear aesthetic, with this laser-cut top among the season’s signature pieces. —

WILLOW Willow’s collection stood out thanks to its clean lines and subtle colour scheme, based around corals, beiges and golds. This blazer offered the perfect balance between classic tailoring and an individual twist. —


Contemporary EPoS solution equips Browns York department store group for expansion and supports focus on customer service Browns York recently opened its fourth store, in Gainsborough. To support its expansion, Browns upgraded its technology two years ago, introducing new EPoS and Accounts software and migrating its till hardware from IBM to J2 Retail Systems. “We saw that J2 matched the performance of the IBM tills, but was a lot more competitively priced.” The J2 touchscreen terminals play a useful role in managing the store’s reward scheme, with loyalty cards swiped through a reader. “Our tills display customer information and purchase history. Sales transactions are speeded up, which contributes to good service,” observes the group’s FD, Shane Longhorne. Fifty J2 650 terminals are installed across four stores. “We find the J2 terminals adaptable for retail points-of-sale and in our restaurants. It’s good we can use a single machine throughout the business.” “Loading and configuring the tills is straightforward and we’re very pleased with J2’s speed of delivery and support.” Contact: Moray Boyd Tel: 01925 854 841 Email: mboyd@j2retailsystems.com www.j2retailsystems.com


44 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

RETAIL —

TALKING SHOP Kurt Geiger

DKNY

DKNY

WWB asked six experts in the field of visual merchandising and retail solutions about their key tips for creating a successful in-store experience. —

FOCUS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LIGHT Most retailers don’t sell floors, walls or ceilings. Instead, they sell merchandise ranging from clothing to stationery to food and beverage and a vast array in between. This is an important mantra worth remembering when considering the lighting in any store. Whether high street or boutique, it is the lighting that provides key emphasis and focus on the wares. Having worked with many retailers to improve the quality of light, we’ve seen sales increases of up to 20 per cent, purely through getting the lighting right, so it’s important not to underestimate the power of light. But what do we mean by “getting lighting right”? The key to getting lighting right is in the correct use of contrast – the balance of light between merchandise and surrounding environment. Some retailers have taken it to extremes. Take Abercrombie & Fitch, for instance, where the contrast ratio is as high as 50:1 in favour of merchandise or, at the other end of the spectrum, where TK Maxx ratios are almost 1:1. Note that no one who carefully plans their lighting has contrast ratios that tip the other way. To illuminate the circulation or surrounding space to a higher level of illumination than the merchandise defeats the object of retailing. Believe me, it happens; we were recently called to a large retailer on Oxford Street who couldn’t work our why their lighting looked so bad. Needless to say, it was because everything except merchandise was illuminated. So how do we achieve this? The obvious thing to say is “point the lights in the right direction”, but it’s a little more complicated than that. As lighting designers, we typically talk about a “layered” approach to lighting that, more often than not, includes three “layers” of light: 1) Background illumination. 2) Accent lighting. 3) Feature lighting. Background illumination is the base level of light that generally illuminates the store merchandise and circulation zones via a “soft wash”. This simply makes for safe and functional illuminance levels. Accent lighting provides direct illumination of merchandise, usually through the use of spotlights. It is this layer of illumination that visually elevates the

merchandise within the space. Feature lighting comes in many forms, from illumination of vitrines and display cases to chandeliers and artwork. No matter what the form, they always have one role: to create a feature that draws the eye into the space. These are particularly useful devices in shop windows for catching the eye of passers by. Kurt Geiger recently developed large feature “shoe chandeliers” that are internally illuminated and provide a stunning way of stopping passers by and drawing footfall into the store. Interestingly, many high-end retailers have dispensed with the first layer altogether and rely on accent lighting to provide enough general ambient light within the space. Take, for example, two flagship stores we have recently completed – Superdry and DKNY, on London’s Regent and Bond Streets respectively. Both stores have no luminaires providing general ambient illumination. Instead, both rely on accent and feature illumination. However, Superdry is dark and moody like a nightclub with contrast values of around 12:1, whereas DKNY is brighter, sophisticated and calm, with contrast values of around 5:1. Superdry utilises a narrow beam spotlight, while DKNY a medium beam – a small technicality that adds up to a big difference. Both also utilise internally illuminated displays and feature chandeliers to further attract the eye. The key in both instances has been to ensure luminaires are correctly and carefully focused onto merchandise. Paul Nulty is a practising lighting designer and head of Paul Nulty Lighting Design, which has recently completed flagship stores for Kurt Geiger, Superdry, Nike, DKNY, Juicy Couture, Waterstones, Original Penguin and several private boutiques. For more information visit www.paulnulty.co.uk


45 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

RETAIL —

When it comes to in-store display, for most fashion retailers mannequins are essential ingredients. But how much thought do you really put into maximising the effect mannequins can have on general in-store merchandising? With the wealth of mannequins, looks and finishes available, it’s important to have a clear idea of how you want the overall look of the shop to be, and to work the mannequins around it. While there is no generic rule, and it always depends on the individual store, different mannequins can add different visual impact, depending on whether you go for theatrical or fashion looks, or more realistic or basic models. Equally, the different make-up and hair options will dramatically alter the effect a mannequin can have. Glamorous poses and younger faces have recently been favoured by our clients, following in the vein of catwalk-inspired looks. But, equally, it is possible to adapt the look of mannequins to suit your store’s clientele. For instance, if your target audience is a more mature age group, a classic look can be applied. Remember, if you’re on a budget, go for mannequins that are versatile and adaptable to a variety of looks and themes to will get more longevity out of them. With most bricks-and-mortar stores also operating e-commerce websites, the visual impact of your photography is paramount. Mannequins with movement, not just up and down, can work better in certain shots, as can editorial poses. In both e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar displays, use mannequins as tools for an effective showcase of your clothes, not just as an after-thought. Kelly Owens is sales and PR manager at mannequin brand Adel Rootstein, supplying a wealth of mannequins to fashion retailers across the globe. For more information visit www.adelrootstein.com —

HAVE A POINT OF DIFFERENCE The world of retail is constantly changing, and retailers have to evolve with it to stay on top of the game. The key thing that’s becoming increasingly important is having a clear position and point of difference. You need to create something unique that you can also make personal. And because the physical and digital shopping experience has become so interwoven, Connected Retail – when you treat all your sales channels like one “eco system” that starts with what your customer needs from you and not what can you sell to your customer – is now a massive opportunity you can’t afford to ignore. Connected Retail is the new reality. It’s driven by start-ups and big players. Competition is global and throws opportunities wide open – a retailer of any size can now reach anyone, anytime. The main drivers are those with the desire to create a unique experience in the most relevant way. Whether you’re a big player or a small independent retailer, there is certainly an increased need to create a unique, powerful store experience to engage your customers and build a relationship with them. High street brands such as Urban Outfitters, Hollister and All Saints are good examples. Embrace social media and marketing, think different and do things that the big guys can’t, such as delivering a more personal experience. Take inspiration from what the big guys do well, but focus on the advantage of being smaller and more agile, and how quickly and personally you can respond to the customer to add value to their retail experience. The in-store design and experience is incredibly important; it allows you to be unique and personal – it’s where you have the greatest influence and can inspire, excite, consult, collaborate and add value on a human, social and personal level. Your physical space becomes even more effective and important if you connect it to your customers’ wider journey, for example via social media and e-commerce. You need to mix value, quality, uniqueness and personal service, and you need to be consistent. Make it an experience and a journey, create a rhythm to your store, say “Hello”, lead in, offer range, then a chance to “get involved”. David Judge is director of creative agency Start JG, specialising in integrated brand, environment and digital experiences. For more information visit www.startjg.com

Adel Rootstein

LET YOUR MANNEQUINS TELL A STORY

MAKE YOUR WINDOWS STAND OUT How many times have you walked past a shop and been excited by what is in the window display? Most of my purchases are made on impulse, having been lured in by enticing, colourful and imaginative displays. I can see myself living that lifestyle with no worries or cares. Living the dream, right? As much as I love a bargain, I personally can’t be bothered to scramble through the sale rails, picking at pieces of cloth in case they might be something I may possibly want to wear one day. So there we can see the importance of effective visual displays, not only in the window, but in and around the shop floor, too, leading the customer around with suggestions of clever accessorising and gifting to open their minds and increase sales. “Keeping up appearances” is what fashion is all about – in any display, not just fashion – so sending out the right signals and messages to your customers are crucial. You need to understand your customers’ needs before they do. Where do you start? A fabulous display needn’t be expensive. So long as you work within a colour scheme, keep your display simple and pay attention to detail, your window can be as effective as high street displays created by the big guys. And what time of year is it? Use the commercial calendar to inspire you with simple theme ideas, but remember your props should never overshadow your merchandise. Even a simple panel or backdrop behind your display can make a huge difference and look dramatic, and vinyls on the glass can be effective, too – take a look at Selfridges’ recent spots display. Add texture to your merchandise by layering and carefully pinning or tucking so the fabric catches the light and flows attractively – it will bring the garment to life. Remember to stand your mannequins facing outwards so your sight lines are increased, but keep your overall display within that giant, imaginative pyramid so your eye flows comfortably from one item to the next. Keep your groupings tight and allow plenty of space around the merchandise. Finally, less is more; keep it simple. Remember those pyramids and, of course, don’t forget to light you store beautifully so everyone can admire your hard work and see your latest creation. Helen Goodwin is co-founder and director of visual design consultancy Made You Look, offering visual display training to retailers. For more information visit www.madeyoulookmadeyoustare.co.uk


47 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

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DON’T IGNORE YOUR EPOS

Selfridges

Retail is all about judgement; having the right amount of the right product at the right time. Epos makes retailing easier and more profitable. Regardless of how well you know your business, only with Epos can you accurately... • Keep stock levels right by knowing when to replenish each product and in what quantity, analysing sales down to the time of day and analysing margin • Do forward planning. Next year, Epos users will look at system-generated reports on 2012 Christmas trading – which products were stocked, how did they sell, which new products should be introduced and can you persuade suppliers to give discounts? • Get pricing right. Whether you’re an independent store owner or the buyer for a multiple group, Epos consolidates data on sales history and compares competing products, helping you set correct pricing • Assess which promotions you should be doing and judge their effectiveness. With Epos, you can incentivise staff to push offers, measure staff performance and see how well customers react • Manage staff. Epos guarantees that staff enter prices correctly. System-defined products are selected by touch buttons or scanned. Both speed up service, giving staff time to engage with customers, adding value and upselling • Improve security by minimising fraud. Without Epos, you won’t easily spot customer or staff pilfering. With Epos, you will always know what stock should be in-store. Reports pick up anomalies such as refunds on low-value items or a till operator taking less than colleagues • Collate payment services, including contactless and Chip & Pin. The ability to use a card increases spend, and an Epos system with integrated Chip & Pin enables you to take secure card payments. Because Epos benefits are tangible and immediate for a single store or a multiple – by providing the information needed to stock the right product at the right time, improve stock turn, enhance merchandise display and manage staff more efficiently – retailers commonly break even on their Epos investment in as little as six months.

USE YOUR PROPS TO MAXIMUM EFFECT Dressing a window is an important task, and never more so than at Christmas when it is important for stores to maximise their revenue opportunities. When choosing decorations, there is a balance to be struck between cost, functionality and current trends. You may have fallen in love with a prop, but you need to ask yourself what will it do for you? Does it give good coverage for your spend? Will it help to make products stand out or will it overshadow them? How will it lend itself to the themes or decorations inside your store? Be objective and ask for feedback – you need to appeal to the widest audience possible. We are often consulted by retailers for window ideas. For people looking to extend a window display into their store, and to save space, safely hung decorations are a great idea. For less experienced window dressers, our snowflakes are a great solution, being tasteful, cost-effective and simple to hang. However, we realise there is more we can do to help. With this in mind, from 2013, we are launching “window in a box”; fully customisable shop windows laid out on our online store. Shops will be able to select a design to fit their store. Buying decorations that you can use again seems fiscally responsible, however remember that these need to be cycled over a few years – not used year after year – to avoid people becoming so used to them they stop taking notice. When buying a long-term prop, you need to think about trends and how they change – the cutting edge can be unthinkable in two years. This year’s key display trend has been influenced by the Jubilee, Olympics, Paralympics and all things British, so why not put a new spin on your Christmas display this year and use traditional decorations in a red, white and blue colour scheme? It will keep the feel-good positivity of the summer alive in a subtle way. Whatever your window design, be it for Christmas or another season, don’t overload your window, and think quality and seasonal, not quantity.

Richard Heitmann is UK sales director at J2 Retail Systems, a specialist manufacturer of PC-based touch screens, LCD touch screen monitors and point-of-sale hardware to the retail industry. www.j2retailsystems.com

Harvey Nichols

Browns, York

Graham Sweet is a visual merchandiser and founder of Graham Sweet Studios, a leading supplier of quality polystyrene display props throughout the UK. At this time of year, the Studios specialise in exclusive Christmas decorations. For more information visit www.grahamsweet.com


48 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

RETAIL DIARY For independent fashion buyers, one of the great ideas of the past five years has been the concept of Never Out Of Stock (NOOS) collections. So it’s a pity that, for too many suppliers, it’s a service they cannot fulfil. In my view, the number of brands out of stock when I contact suppliers for repeats is increasing at a time when we independents need their help more than ever. NOOS seems to be a compelling argument. We buyers put down smaller forward orders, therefore helping our cash flow. When we have made sales, we call our supplier to get repeats from their supposedly massive warehouse of stock. It seems, however, that many suppliers are suffering the same pressures on their cash flow, and cannot afford, in fact, to make up stock in advance in the hope that it will turn out to be a good seller. So rather than a true NOOS service, a lot of brands have over-runs of production and, when that’s gone, it’s gone. I am getting frustrated with suppliers who tell me they will make more garments when they have collected a few more repeat orders. If something is a good seller, I don’t want to wait five or six weeks to get my repeats. When my supplier can’t replenish my shop, I have the job of going to find a replacement mid-season to fill in the gaps on the rails. So, effectively, I am having to do two rounds of buying. Where is the sense in that? There are, of course, suppliers that do live up to their promise, but I wish those who keep letting me down were more honest during buying season. It would make more sense for me to book, say, six of a size on forward order than two on the unreliable promise of repeats being available. What continually puzzles me is how the fast-fashion sector appears to be able to turn things round fast while we in the mainstream branded area are, for the most part, no further forward than we were 10 years ago. Despite the NOOS frustrations, 2012 has been an OK year for me, and a/w has started well. I’m getting new customers who are coming to us because their previous independent fashion shop has closed. While we are benefiting, in reality it’s a sad situation and a pertinent reminder that independents need all the help we can get from suppliers . Hilary Cookson is the owner of Maureen Cookson in Whalley, Lancashire, and is a member of FAB.

FORUM —

RETAIL FORUM

The latest news from the industry —

JULES B EXPANDS ITS WOMENSWEAR OFFER

KJ’S LAUNDRY OPENS SECOND STORE Following the success of its inaugural store in London’s Marylebone village, fashion boutique KJ’s Laundry has opened its second shop on Kings Road. “We feel Kings Road is increasingly becoming a destination for fashion and shopping; we love the mix of fashion labels and lifestyle shops. We wanted our store to be on a main shopping street so we could keep the Marylebone space as a store in a more hidden location,” says co-owner Kate Allden. The shop design takes a laid-back approach in décor and style, showcasing the clothes and products in an accessible way. “We purposefully kept the fixtures low-key to let the clothes stand out,” says Allden. “We have had fun, though, with a few wall vinyls we had designed to add personality to the walls.” —

HAVE YOU OPENED A NEW STORE, LAUNCHED A TRANSACTIONAL WEBSITE, ORGANISED AN EVENT OR HAVE ANY OTHER IN-STORE NEWS? THEN LET US KNOW BY GETTING IN TOUCH AT CAREY@RAS-PUBLISHING.COM.

Fashion indie Jules B has recently opened its second store in Yarm, North Yorkshire. The two-floor store stocks cutting-edge designers and features a designated shoe and accessories department. “We have two types of customers, and having both offers in one store sometimes confuses the customer as to what we achieve,” says Rhona Blades, co-owner of Jules B. “We decided to do what we have done in Newcastle and Kendal and open two separate shops with different atmospheres and shop fits to showcase the brands and products in their respective environments.” The existing store has been relaunched as The Conservatory @ Jules B. —


49 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

FORUM —

HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR E-COMMERCE SITE TO YOUR BUSINESS?

GALERIE WOMAN CELEBRATES 16TH BIRTHDAY Newcastle-under-Lyme independent Galerie Woman celebrated its 16th birthday last month with an outdoor catwalk fashion show held at Moddershall Oaks Spa in Stone, Staffordshire. More than 80 people attended the event to see the latest looks for a/w modelled by loyal customers and friends of the store. Alongside the catwalk, Galerie also put on afternoon tea, beauty treatments and a DJ for its customers to enjoy. “Putting the outfits together and seeing everything come together was the best part of the experience,” says owner Karen Shaw. —

We ask four retailers this month’s hot question

NEW WEBSITE FOR MAC & POSH Following the successful opening of its bricks-and-mortar store in March, women’s indie Mac & Posh has now launched its transactional website. The boutique, based in Perth, Perthshire, launched the site after noticing an increase in global followers on its Facebook page. The website showcases the store’s collections, including brands such as Glamorous, Hedonia, Aqua, John Zack and Maggie & Me. —

MY FAVOURITE SHOP... ANGELA BEER By Sam Cradock, director, Brand Studio

AMY FARQUHAR It’s Darling, co-owner, Aberdeen — “Our website is increasingly important to us, both as a showcase to our business and a selling platform for our brands. Our location means that many of our customers cannot visit year round, and our website enables them to continue the Collen & Clare shopping experience.” —

Angela Beer 43-47 Woodford Road Bramhall Cheshire SK7 1JR Owner: Susanna Beer Store opened: 1979 Brands carried: Alice by Temperley, Cheap + Chic, Diane Von Furstenberg, Escada, Moschino, McQ by Alexander McQueen, M Missoni, Barbour. “Angela Beer is a family run ladies’ fashion store, with the family members active and passionate in the business. The positive atmosphere translates through to their customer service, as the shop floor staff always go the extra mile. I admire their approach to stock selection, merchandise and understanding of what works for their business; they know their customers so well. They have recently launched their online store, www.angelabeer.com, and it looks amazing; you can tell they have put a lot of hard work and effort into it.”

MANDY MCCARTNEY Pavilion, co-owner, Winchester — “The e-commerce site is essential to my business. I have a large following on Twitter and Facebook from customers around the UK and Ireland. Although people still like to try on and browse, many don’t have time to pop in. Having a website means they can shop at whatever time of day from the their desk or couch.” —

— “Paramount. It allows It’s Darling to be open 24/7/365 and eliminates the geographical restrictions that arise with having a physical store. We have shipped items to Australia, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Norway and Russia to name a few and, without our website, this would not be possible.” —

CLARE GRADY Collen & Clare, director, Southwold — “The e-commerce site is very important to the business; it acts as a transactional website and opens up our market worldwide. It is also a useful reference point for customers who will search for things online and then come into the store to try on and purchase.” —

KATRINA SMITH Pearl Boutique, owner, Liverpool


51 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

EXPERTS —

ADVICE Industry experts answer your retail questions —

CAN MULTIMEDIA & THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE WIN CUSTOMER HEARTS?

HOW CAN I SECURE FINANCE FOR MY BUSINESS?

The internet has created multiple channels to customers for retailers and brands, but joining up the channels and the communications through them to create a consistent experience for customers still remains the challenge for many.

Whether it is cash to get your business off the ground or funding for growth, securing finance is one of the key concerns of most small retailers. Unfortunately, in an era of ongoing recessionary pressures characterised by continuing credit restrictions imposed by the major banks, getting hold of affordable funding can be extremely difficult.

Much has recently been made of retailers moving away from multichannel to a customer centric focus, which essentially does away with retailers’ traditional attachment to silos and puts the customer squarely at the centre of the engagement. To this end, the multimedia customer experience has become integral to many brands’ strategy. The Victoria’s Secret New Bond Street flagship, which opened recently, has used innovative multimedia technology to create experiences for customers, from the moment they enter the shop during store circulation to the moment they leave. The brand is creating an engagement with customers that cannot be recreated online, but which is consistent with the brand experience in every channel. The flagship has become a destination store similar to Apple, with the aim of creating a shopping experience that is a must-see on any visit to London. Fundamental to the Victoria’s Secret flagship is that multimedia is no longer an afterthought but integral to the whole project, redefining what is possible in-store. Bespoke fittings and furnishings have been designed to enhance the digital experiences. Central to the store design is a mirrored hallway, reflecting animation from the HD LCD video wall, which is thought to be the largest of its kind in Europe. Smaller video walls are integrated into other areas of the shopfitting, such as the cash and wrap areas, to complement the shopping environment and layout. Specific video is regularly updated, including live feeds to new season fashion shows, ensuring each visit to the store feels fresh and “one-off”. When creating customer experiences, brands and retailers need to recognise the strategic value of the content they can create either visually or written. Ultimately, the adoption of technologies as part of the overall customer experience enables brands to measure impact while also enhancing their brand value. Because multimedia is able to create energy in the store and connect customers directly with the brand, retailers are boosting sales both in-store and online, which is where the business case lies. More retailers and brands recognise that the key to sales is in making the store a place worth visiting, while ensuring they can give their customers a joined-up experience across all channels.

Dharmendra Patel is managing director of PlayNetwork EMEA. Visit www.playnetwork.eu or call 0203 195 0979.

From the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) to missed lending targets under the Project Merlin scheme and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS), government initiatives to get the banks to lend have gone full circle. As yet, little has changed. However, the not-for-profit Forum of Private Business, which sits with political and banking representatives official small business economic forum, is lobbying leading lenders to improve the service they provide to small businesses, but it is also true that some business owners need to up their game. The best advice when approaching your bank manager is to provide full financial projections showing how you intend to use a loan to grow your business. In essence, banks want to know how they are going to get their money back. Yet week after week we hear about successful small businesses being refused cost-effective finance to help them grow and create jobs. It’s the result of an over-centralised banking system that, frankly, is often unable to gauge risk, accurately, on a case-by-case basis. However, under the Project Merlin agreement, you have a right to appeal. The appeals process has overturned 39.5 per cent of rejected funding applications – or 2,177 small businesses initially denied finance – in its first year of operation, according to a recent report from Professor Russel Griggs on behalf of the BBA, the leading trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector. The Forum of Private Business is urging more disgruntled business owners to use it. Of course, there is more to finance than bank lending. More and more alternative funding models are emerging and striving to compete in small business finance markets. Online peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle, for example, involves multiple private lenders “bidding” to fund businesses, spreading the risk and driving down interest rates at the same time. In truth, you will need to explore a range of funding options. Equally, with late payment a long-standing problem, it is important to take action to ensure you are paid on time and in full. We are lobbying to address the late payment epidemic, including providing the advice, guidance and support businesses need to put in place robust cash flow management systems to get on top of payments.

Phil McCabe, senior policy adviser, Forum of Private Business. For more information call 0845 612 6266 or visit www.fpb.org.


52 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

DIRECTORY —

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HAT BOXES

RAILS

T-SHIRTS

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53 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

DIRECTORY —

DISPLAYS

FOOTWEAR

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NAMES AND NUMBERS Adini 020 8560 2323 www.adini.co.uk American Vintage 020 7486 0486 www.am-vintage.com Antik Batik 0845 094 4012 www.antikbatik.fr Ava Mirabelle 07717 752626 www.avamirabelle.com AX Paris 07891 440758 www.axparis.co.uk Beloved 020 7636 6868 Bielle 020 7831 9163 www.bielle.co.uk CCKT 07595 894690 www.cckt.co.uk Cheap Monday 0046 8305900 www.cheapmonday.com David Longshaw 020 7377 6030 www.davidlongshaw.co.uk Deploy 020 7935 2613 www.deployworkshop.com Double Two 01924 375651 www.doubletwo.co.uk Finders Keepers 020 7725 5700 www.finderskeepersthelabel.com.au Iron Fist 01202 338500 www.ironfist.co.uk Izabel London 020 8090 0692 www.izabellondon.com James Lakeland 020 7636 7130 www.jameslakeland.net Johnstons of Elgin 01450 360500 www.johnstonscashmere.com Kit Heath 01271 329123 www.kitheath.com Lashes 020 8809 4432 www.lashesoflondon.com Lola Rose Boutique 020 7372 0777 www.lolarose.co.uk/boutique Lovestruck 01707 257168 www.lovestruckclothing.co.uk Madam Rage 01977 551907 www.madamrage.com Maryling 020 7240 9898 www.maryling.com Nancy Dee 020 7183 3658 www.nancydee.co.uk Orla Kiely 020 7819 0110 www.orlakiely.com Paper 07968 122993 www.paperlondon.com Result Clothing 01206 865605 www.resultclothing.com Ruby Rocks 07973 718301 www.rubyrocks.com Saloni 020 7431 3522 www.salonilondon.com Soaked in Luxury 020 8875 5851 www.soakedinluxury.com Sophia Webster 07702 209754 www.sophia-webster.com Sushilla 01993 706703 www.sushilla.co.uk Tateossian 020 7384 8336 www.tateossian.com Tayberry 01507 524816 www.tayberry.co.uk The Branch 01787 477005 www.the-branch.co.uk Trisori 0845 475 1456  www.trisori.com Tulchan 01524 274025 www.tulchanonline.co.uk Una Burke 07830 650382 www.cubecompany.com Willow 0061 292817355 www.willowltd.com Wizard Jeans 07768 816420 www.wizardjeans.com White Tent 020 7240 9101 Yumi 020 8961 2299 www.yumidirect.co.uk Zayan 0097 143463393 www.zayan.com


54 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

THE FINAL WORD —

WHAT WAS THE NAUGHTIEST THING YOU DID AS A CHILD? This month’s panel recalls what mischief they got up to when they were younger... —

ROBERT SCRAFTON UK sales agent, Coccinelle — “Aged 12, I made up a large glass of truly realistic fake blood mixture, poured it over my head, staggered into the kitchen and collapsed over a chair. My mother freaked out, becoming quite hysterical. When she realised what I had done she took off one of her shoes and beat the hell out of me.” —

JENNY MACDONALD Managing director, Ruby Rocks — “Many of my memories involve me and my cousins pushing each other to do scary things. On holiday in Ireland, we used to go to a dangerous, forbidden chain bridge and dare each other to walk across it. We used to shake it while the other would cross over. Thank goodness none of us ever fell in the fast running water of the river below. I hope my kids never try anything like that!” —

AMBER SAKAI Founder and creative director, Amber Sakai

— “In the name of fashion, fun and complete naughtiness, I told my parents I had a weekend job babysitting when I was actually out at high school parties and test driving my latest designs.” —

PETER GILES Managing director, Motel

JEANE CHUNG Founder, Bielle — “When I was about five or six, one of the ducks we kept died. I don’t know how I knew about incrimination at such an early age, but I thought I needed to do a funeral for the duck. When my mom was busy with something, I grabbed a box of matches and started a fire, but I got so startled with flame that I dropped the burning match and almost set fire to our lovely house made of wood. The duck had a burial instead.” —

ROSIE BONNAR Designer, Bill†Mar — “The naughtiest thing I did was dress up in a mini skirt, crop top and high heels for own-clothes-day when I was no more than 10 years old without my parents knowing. There was an announcement in assembly that day that a certain child had taken it too far, banning heeled shoes and any form of “party gear” from any “mufti” day ever again.” —

— “The naughtiest thing I did was skip a week of school when I was 16 so I could go to Glastonbury. The Prodigy played and the atmosphere was incredible, it was worth getting into trouble for.” —


10-12 FEBRUARY 2013 SAATCHI GALLERY | LONDON

AUTUMN/WINTER C O L L E C T I O N S scoop-international.com Meredyth Sparks, Roxy, 2008, Digital print on Sintra, 27 pieces, 182 x 171 x 231 cm,(c) Meredyth Sparks, 2008 Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London


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