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13 Van Mildert

21 Redpath Way, MetroCentre, Gateshead

Who you need to know

Co-founder Cyril Williams (left) and buyer Reece Hutton

Brands include Armani Jeans, Barbour, G-Star, Hugo Boss, Vivienne Westwood

It is just over a year since the team from designer mini-chain Van Mildert ascended the stage at the Drapers Awards three times in one night, scooping the gongs for Menswear, Young Fashion and Independent Retailer of the Year in 2009. What is more impressive still is Van

Mildert’s reign as the Northeast’s haven for premium fashion since it was established in Durham in 1997.

Its gold-plated brand list, which serves women as well as men, includes labels such as Red Wing, Folk and See by Chloé alongside money-spinners like Vivienne Westwood, D&G and Paul Smith, all underpinned by great customer service.

“Our customers don’t just want the best fashion from the best labels. They want the bespoke service we offer,” says co-founder Cyril Williams.

Van Mildert has expanded to York, Darlington and Harrogate and in December 2010 its Gateshead MetroCentre branch relocated to a new

5,500 sq ft unit, which has become its flagship. The acquisition in 2007 of Van Mildert by Delima, a vehicle co-owned by Williams, kick-started this growth.

In January, retail entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter took a stake in the business and put it in charge of the buying operation at mini-chain Cruise.

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