Speaking at the Drapers Fashion Summit this morning, Portas identified soaring rates and a high street oversubscribed by fashion multiples as the biggest threat to indies but Portas was confident that indies who deliver a niche and good customer service would find a place in the evolving UK fashion landscape.
“The local understanding that indies bring to fashion is essential,” said Portas. “Fashion requires expertise, flair and in terms of independent retail it requires a taste level. Customers go to the great boutiques to buy into that individual taste level. It’s about the editing and, in some examples, the curating of a shop. It’s all about understanding your customer and having an ability to lead and guide that customer.”
Portas added there would be a backlash to the disposable nature of value fashion which would benefit indies. She said: “In terms of landfill we have a very big global problem on our hands because of the volume of clothes simply thrown away. People will begin shopping locally again and this will help independent businesses. It’s already happening in groceries. In the 30-plus market there is a renewed desire to support local shopping.”