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Great Plains

The womenswear brand has quietly built up a strong reputation on the back of its classic pieces with a twist.

Womenswear brand Great Plains keeps a low profile in comparision with its owner French Connection, but this reliable label offers a few surprises.

“It’s the competitive price point and vast colour choice that makes Great Plains a core, bread-and-butter collection,” says Liz Jefferson, owner of womenswear independent and stockist

Doodie Stark in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, and a former sales manager at the brand.

With more than 300 indie stockists in the UK, including premium indies Sunday Best and Sarah Coggles, along with department stores such as House of Fraser and John Lewis, Great Plains is certainly demonstrating it has broad appeal. This is, in part, down to the attention to finish and fit, but its stock service has also played an integral role in turning it into a go-to brand during turbulent times.

The brand dips its toe into trends but never strays too far from the classic pieces that customers have come to expect. “Great Plains is not trying to be directional - that’s what parent company French Connection does. If Great Plains were to do this it would lose its core customer,” says Jefferson.

Jefferson left the brand in February 2010, but clearly still has a natural affinity with it, but makes it clear this isn’t why she regards it so highly as a stockist. “If my store was totally premium I might not have looked straight away, but I stock it because of its value for money”, she says. “It’s well priced and well manufactured and the jersey and knitwear doesn’t look out of place against some of my more premium brands such as Ella Moss, Twin-Set and Essential.”

For autumn 11, Lucy Thomas, Great Plains’ sales manager, highlights pieces such as the Fairytale flower dress and Molly moleskin cape coat. “Capes are on trend but this is an easy to wear version,” she says.

Alongside the printed jersey dresses that have become the brand’s signature pieces, Thomas cites the Blueprint knitted dress as another key style. “Jumper dresses flew out last season but this shape is a nice move on with interesting shoulder detail. It looks great nipped in with a belt.”

Lisa Sharp, manager of Caramel clothing, which has two stores in Devon, in Honiton and Exmouth, has been stocking Great Plains for six years and her spring 11 order has just hit the shopfloor. “We’ve had a great reaction. The stone-coloured crochet tank top and dress have performed really well. In addition, the linen tunic repeated in a different colourway on last season is a key piece for layering.”

Essentials

£5

Starting wholesale price, rising to £38

1989

Year the brand was founded

300

Approximate number of UK stockists

Great Plains 020 7036 7200
www.greatplains.co.uk

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