Drapers goes inside premium womenswear brand The Fold’s first bricks-and-mortar store.
Stepping over the threshold of The Fold’s first standalone bricks-and-mortar store, Drapers enters an oasis of quiet calm. Founded in 2012 by former finance executive Polly McMaster, the womenswear label focuses on premium, professional workwear that can keep up with its high-powered customer base. Prices range from £95 for a simple top to £365 for dresses and £495 for coats.
The Fold, which previously sold online only and had a showroom in London’s Clerkenwell, has worked with an all-female design team from consultancy Kinnersley Kent Design on its 1,400 sq ft flagship on Belgravia’s well-heeled Cadogan Place. The store opened at the beginning of March.
Inside, the grade II-listed building’s period details are combined with contemporary design to create a sleek but welcoming space. A sinuous stone bar winds its way across the centre of the store, designed to give customers somewhere to sip coffee – or champagne – as they mull prospective purchases. Changing rooms are light, bright and large.
Downstairs is dedicated to private shopping suite, where customers can book one-on-one appointments online. McCaster expects around 40% of the store’s overall trade to come from booked appointments.
By paying close attention to the store’s details and focusing on a high-quality finish, The Fold has created a modern, professional space that meet the demands of its customers.
Polly McMaster tells Drapers why the time is right for The Fold’s first store
Why did you launch The Fold?
I was working in finance and private equity – very much what our customer is doing. I needed to look smart. All of the guys in the room, and it was 80%-90% male, were wearing bespoke or Italian suits. I was stuck somewhere between the high street and designers, and I just didn’t feel confident enough when I was in meetings. It was very difficult to find the right product. I did an MBA in entrepreneurship at the London Business School from 2009 to 2011, where I was lucky enough to be mentored by [Gieves & Hawkes chairman] Mark Henderson. He gave me some excellent advice on what to avoid in retail.
Why now for your first store?
We started as online brand, but as we’ve grown we’ve hosted a lot of events, such as pop-ups at large corporates or women’s networking events, and we noticed a real demand to have more opportunity to try the product on. We’ve had our showroom for the past four years and that’s been great, but a standalone store gives us the chance to put our own stamp on a space and represent The Fold fully. The brand has reached a turning point and we now need that visibility to the public.
Why offer private appointments and create a personal shopping suite?
We had a very specific goal when we were looking for a space and that was that we wanted to offer a retail experience which was quite different from the standard high street shopping experience. We do a lot of preparation before customers arrive based on guidance they give when they book online. We can offer a hugely personal service for customers that want a bit more privacy or to spend quite a bit of time here.