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Precursor hits Paris with British invasion

Premium indie Precursor, which only stocks UK labels, opened its doors in the Marais district of Paris this month.

Precursor, on Rue des Blancs Manteaux, is the brainchild of former City consultant Laura Parks and ex-fashion teacher Jill Moore, who decided to fill a gap in the French retail market for contemporary UK brands at affordable prices.

“What makes us unique in Paris is that we are the only boutique stocking a range of UK contemporary luxe and streetwear brands,” said Parks. “There are lots of boutiques in the area but they’re expensive. We’re offering limited edition pieces that don’t cost the earth.”

Retail prices start at €10 (£8) and go up to €250 (£198), with average prices ranging from €50 (£40) to €150 (£118).

Precursor stocks more than 25 labels, including Farah, Aertex, Tootal and Tonite, and it is the only stockist of lifestlye brand Albam outside of the company’s own standalone store in London’s Beak Street.

“Albam is manufactured in the UK, so it has a strong heritage,” said Parks.

For next season, Precursor will also add Eley Kishimoto and Barbour to its offer, which also includes footwear label Pointer.

Parks has selected designers from Graduate Fashion Week to sell pieces from their collections, which will be displayed in the shop window and changed on a monthly basis.
“We’re working with students from Manchester University and Northumbria University to get new talent that may not be available in Paris for a while,” said Parks.

The 375sq ft shop has been fitted out to complement the UK brands. Parks has selected gothic print artworks from UK designer Dan Hillier. The store sells artwork, magazines and art books alongside its clothing.

The Paris shopfit features exposed brick walls, wooden beams and a black and white striped floor. “We went for a modern look, which is quite different to to the other stores in the area," said Parks. "Our customers say it looks very British."

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