Business of fashion

Bicester Village supports young designers



Despite my not-so-subtle hints, Bicester Village has sadly not fallen for my self-serving genius idea of a pop-up shop in London. I shouldn’t cry too hard though as it has gone for something else, even cleverer.

Last Wednesday saw the launch of the British Designer Collective, a Bicester Village pop-up shop (open 31 Mar – 7 May) to celebrate emerging British design talent and expose it to the quality-conscious customer who loves original design but would like it not to be super-expensive. The beauty of Bicester Village is that its collections are two seasons old. So if you’re buying in April 10, you’ll be buying April 09’s collection. For young British designers like Erdem, Emma Cook and Atlanta Weller, it’s a way to make money on the pieces that didn’t sell while giving customers a second chance to buy from a past collection.
Like a sample sale then? God no! Unlike a sample sale, the merchandise is beautifully presented in a boutique setting. There are fitting rooms! They take credit cards! You can return it if you change your mind! Yes, it’s exactly like a proper shop, except the prices are generously reduced. In the current still-cautious climate, these value-conscious initiatives are more than welcome. For online customers there is Brand Alley, Gilt Groupe, Vente-Privee, The Outnet and Ebay’s new ‘flash fashion’ sales. For those who like shopping in shops, there’s Bicester Village. And for those who favour Maria Francesca Pepe over Marni, there’s the British Designer Collective.

MARIA FRANCESCA PEPE

EMMA COOK
GEORGINA GOODMAN
THE DECOR
HOUSE OF HOLLAND

ATLANTA WELLER
LOUISE AMSTRUP


The King’s Road just got cool (ish) again…



Following the opening of its first London store in Regent Street, Anthropologie opens its King’s Road store on 19th March.

This is quite important, not only because it’s another Anthropologie store (AKA, the most beautiful-looking chain in the world) but because it will bring footfall to the King’s Road and other stores are sure to follow. What do we have in the King’s Road already? The Shop At Bluebird of course, towards World’s End and Jack Wills in the middle. Even if you’re not the Jack Wills ‘type’, there’s no denying that the stores, styled to the nth degree, are something to behold. The King’s Road branch has a coffee shop on the top floor (but shhh, don’t tell anyone) and hosts gigs in the basement. The fixtures and fittings are the best type of antiquey shabby-chic with a bit of faux-punk rebellious teen thrown in. There have been rumours of A Very Well Known US Designer sniffing around for a store nearby too but I’m not sure how reliable they are.

Back (way back) in the day, there was a clutch of superb shops between Vivienne Westwood’s World’s End shop and where The Shop At Bluebird resides now. As well as American Classics (the best used Levi’s 501s this side of the Atlantic), there was The Emperor of Wyoming (more vintage Americana), Liberated Lady (’80s interpretations of ’50s fashion) and Johnny Moke (the shoe dude). A bit further along was Eat Your Heart Out, another vintage store where I once bought a long black crepe Biba dress. Funnily enough I recently found out that it was run by vintage dealer Graham Cassie who now runs Cassie Mercantile. He probably sold it to me and I recently donated it back to him!

Not far from where Anthropologie is opening – on the former site of Antiquarius Antiques – was Flip, a smaller outpost of the legendary Covent Garden second-hand Americana store. This was the place to find love-worn baseball jackets, sweatshirts, prom dresses and tube socks – absolute bliss…

Of course Anthropologie is a far cry from those vintage dens and characterful hangouts but the point is, it’s a start. Retail needs to get people interested in discovering shops again, whether they’re vintage stores, toy shops, bookshops or funny little cowboy boot shops. Let’s see who else arrives in the King’s Road after Anthro…