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Tailored trends fail to woo female shoppers

The autumn trend for tailored womenswear has failed to capture shopper imagination, according to young fashion independents.
In a Drapersonline.com poll, 88% of indies said that autumn 07’s formal-led trends had been a washout. However, most of the women’s young fashion independents contacted by Drapers said they remained optimistic about trading six weeks ahead of Christmas.

Elizabeth Duncan Jameson, co-owner of womenswear independent Duncan’s in Preston, said the tailoring trend had not worked this season. “People prefer more versatile outfits and don’t like to feel over-dressed,” she said. “So we bought more into separates and knitwear, which are doing really well. We’re positive about Christmas.”

Nichola Whitehead, manager of Demolition in Oldham, said the warm weather at the end of October had hindered sales of tailored coats and other big-ticket items. She said: “We’ve got one Firetrap coat selling really well, but I think that’s because we sold out of it last year. We’re still selling dresses and transitional tops and tunics. But tailoring, in terms of smarter shirts and finer knitwear, has been disappointing.”

Karen Nolin, director and womenswear buyer at Leeds-based independent Accent, said sales of big-ticket branded items were beginning to pick up ahead of Christmas. But in contrast to other indies, she added that tailored items had been a success. “We’ve been doing really well with tailored looks, especially the Firetrap high-waisted trousers and some jackets and suiting. It’s great for a Saturday night out and for the office.”

Nolin added that although the business had not hit targets over the summer, it was trading in line with expectations so far for the autumn season.

At Encore in Liverpool, womenswear buyer Tracy Melia was also positive about this season’s smarter looks. “We’re doing well with the formalwear, such as smart trousers and jackets, and shift dresses. French Connection and Ted Baker are both selling well,” she said.

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