It might be Fashion Month but life isn’t all about Marni-esque print and wacko Celine ‘fur-kenstocks’. Sometimes you want a palate-cleanser, a just-so silk shirt with double cuffs for example, or a high quality trench that will travel with you from spring to winter without the Rue Saint-Honore price tag.
That was Kim Winser’s thinking when she had the idea for Winser London, her just-launched online-to-offline venture. Inspired by what Amancio Ortega did with Zara in the 90s, Winser’s jumping-off point is all-year basics, boosted with quietly fashionable shapes and details. Coming from a retail background, (as former CEO of Pringle of Scotland and Aquascutum), Winser has firm ideas about how these pieces will sell. As such, her model is ecommerce, to be supplemented with pop-up shops so customers have the option of seeing product up close. “The whole company is built on a modern approach,” Winser told me at a preview last month. “We’ll do pop-up shops but each one will be different.”
Having inspected the silk shirts, cashmere knits and double layer pants (“they’re for people who are always travelling, they won’t crease”), I can vouch for the quality. Especially at the £35-£350 price point. “We can afford to sell at those prices because we’re online-only. We’ve cut out the middle man and passed the saving on,” says Winser. Another consideration: each piece is photographed in plenty of detail to answer all those niggly distance-shopper doubts (although I’d like to be able to zoom even closer). My favourite pieces are the minimialist ones; the silk-wool rib tank (£65), the collarless silk tunic shirt (£165) which comes in five colours and the boyish cardigan-jacket (£150), a useful everyday piece for transitioning between seasons.
Editorially, it’s about useful, this-goes-with-that styling options and insider features to give a closer look into the brand. It’s not all bells and whistles, but for this customer, it’s a respite from the onslaught of content that can sometimes be overwhelming. This is polished, no-brainer fashion as opposed to ‘fashion’ fashion and I’ll be interested to see how it progresses…