Drapers puts Norwich’s multiples under the microscope, inspecting autumn womenswear and store environments.
Judging by the stores in Norwich, there is far less homogeneity on the high street this autumn compared with last season, which is a welcome relief. After all, it is much easier for each multiple to put their own spin on this season’s trends, which are led by ladylike pencil skirts and pussy-bow blouses, than it was on last season’s ubiquitous tunic.
Take the pencil skirt: young fashion brands can take a high-waisted route, while mainstream retailers can use a more classic approach. Jane Norman, Karen Millen or River Island can produce a version with a corset detail on the back in stretch satin, because their customers like it that way.
Many young fashion retailers have fallen in love with the waistcoat, twinning it with shorts, short skirts or skinny jeans and a stripy black polo neck for the indie rock chick look.
Another young fashion staple this season is the bomber jacket, with retailers at the entry-level end of the mainstream market, such as New Look, putting together an offer that includes leather and PVU versions, while players such as Oasis and Warehouse have got stuck into leathers. Oasis is at the top end of the young fashion market with a £120 price tag on leathers.
Trousers, whether skinny, wide legged or high waisted, are the fashion staple across all womenswear multiples, with retailers taking a tailored approach.
For most on the high street it is all about key pieces this season, as the mainstream market seeks differentiation from the likes of Primark, Peacocks and New Look and tries to encourage shoppers to trade up.