Someone once said to me that editing a collection of the world’s most coveted fashion brands under one roof can only truly be done by an independent retailer.
The great department stores and multiples give it a good go, he told me, but they lack the independence of a boutique that would allow them to put their necks on the line and back an unknown, yet brilliant, name.
I’m sure many talented department store buyers would – and should – disagree but, as an industry, we must surely be united in believing how crucial the independent sector is to fashion.
We certainly support this view at Drapers and, as such, are proud to unveil our 2013 list of the Top 100 Inspiring Independents. Since November, we’ve been inundated with nominations from brands, agents, retailers and consumers. The 100 indies with the most votes were then asked to rank each other.
Last night, at a party at Kensington Roof Gardens for the 100 indies, we unveiled the crucial rankings. This year’s number one certainly deserves the top spot. Run by an inspiring woman, this exemplary independent continues to drive exclusivity, offer unrivalled customer service and deliver a great multichannel experience that enables it to fend off the competition and ensure healthy sales. The winner was The Dressing Room in St Albans and its owner, a humbled Deryane Tadd, graciously accepted the honour, amid huge applause from her peers.
But The Dressing Room is not alone. Every retailer on this list deserves its place for doing what independents do best: understanding their customers and creating a targeted shopping experience for them in a way that no one else can.
We all know 2013 will be far from easy, but we should raise a glass (we raised copious glasses last night…) to each independent retailer on this list – and beyond. Without them, after all, the fashion industry would be rather dull.