Business of fashion

Should we stop shopping?



Tiina the Store

Both the New York Times and the FT have written stories unpicking the quandary of whether we should be shopping online while there’s a contagious health pandemic going on.

I’ve been wrestling with the same dilemma.

I frequently post shoppable content on here. Sometimes it’s stuff I’m going to buy, sometimes it’s fantasy shopping and sometimes it’s just an FYI. But readers do come here to shop (I can see from my back end analytics which links they click on). I post a mixture of global multi-brand retailers – Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, Matches – and independents boutiques. The argument is that by shopping online for non-essentials, it’s potentially putting the warehouse and delivery workers at risk. But on the flip side, retailers insist they’re doing what they can to make everything as safe and sanitary as possible. And if they close their fulfillment centres, the businesses are in danger of shuttering, which will put the staff out of jobs.

A compromise then, is the independents. There are some I really love. Like Mouki Mou, Tiina the Store, and local Japanese-Taiwanese lifestyle boutique, Native & Co. Jeweller Alighieri and knitwear brand & Daughter are two young brands that can’t really afford to close their businesses and keep paying their staff. Their solution is to keep going and work from home, with the founders and designers themselves often handling the shipping.

My feeling is also that at some point things will pick up and even if people don’t shop immediately from my posts, it’s nice to have something positive to look forward to. We can all dream can’t we? If nothing else, the summer sales are going to be amazing…

& Daughter (below) – known for understated knits, founder Buffy Reid just launched her first line of easy summer dresses and Loro Piana merino rib tees
& Daughter Loro Piana rib tee


Tiina the Store – the most irresistible mix of forever fashion and lifestyle pieces, including Zanini dresses, Perfumer h candles, and their own knitwear range

Zanini at Tiina the Store


Native & Co – utilitarian kitchenalia and Japanese ceramics for the Notting Hill Zen crowd

Native and Co Kensington Park Road


Alighieri – sculptural necklaces and earrings for your Zoom-ready top half from this recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design

Alighieri jeweller


Mouki Mou – a one-stop shop for everything from Costa Brazil skin oils to Toogood work-wear

Mouki Mou

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Tiina the Store; & Daughter; Zanini/Tiina the Store; Native & Co; Alighieri; Mouki Mou
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Workwear and the new normal



Brittany Bathgate Birkenstocks

Who is winning the WFH wardrobe wars so far? According to my Insta feed, it looks like Birkenstocks are in the lead. No surprise there as they straddle wellness wear and fashion rather nicely.

For Instagram’s minimalist set, the default uniform is Birkenstocks*, socks, (cashmere) joggers and an elevated knit or sweat. M Magazine’s Suzanne Koller (below) has been proudly sporting her Raey cashmere PJs and Birkenstocks combo on Insta, while Brittany Bathgate (above) is no stranger to a sweats and Birks uniform. (more…)



For the new caring consumer: Hiki and Arfa



Hiki body care sweat set

Pity any new brand launching right now.

I just received a box of Beauty Pie samples (there are new additions* to the Japanfusion line), extolling its new pop-up at Harvey Nichols, which obviously won’t be experienced now for a while.

But worse is Arfa, a US-based direct-to-consumer holding company, whose first brand is Hiki, a bold bodycare line for ‘everyday sweat needs’ (read: deodorant).

Three things of interest here. Acknowledging the mood of the moment, Hiki decided to give its products for free to hospital and medical workers (they just have to pay for part of the shipping), and to everyone else in exchange for a compassionate message on social to reinforce its brand value of ‘kindness’. It’s a way to make the best of a bad situation and bake that situation into its narrative of body care. (more…)



At LVMH, all hands on deck turning scent into sanitiser



LVMH hand sanitiser by Financial Times

I love this feelgood story on how LVMH (granted, France’s biggest company) leapt into action switching its perfume factory into a hand sanitiser production facility during the coronavirus crisis. In a couple of days, the hand sanitisers were available to start distributing to 39 hospitals in Paris (with more to come).

How? It’s all down to quick decision making at the top, plus common business sense. (more…)