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18 I Gigi

31a and 37 Western Road, Hove, East Sussex

Who you need to know

Co-owners Alex Legendre and Zoe Ellison

Brands include 102% Lino, Albam, Best Behavior, Chie Mihara, Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Filippa K Humanoid, Nygårds Anna,

Part fashion powerhouse, part budding interior designer’s dream, contemporary lifestyle retailer I Gigi is located over two sites, five stores apart along a bustling street in the pretty and affluent seaside town of Hove.

Starting out as a womenswear shop 13 years ago, I Gigi was founded by co-owner Zoe Ellison and her mother, Hazel Ellison. The business has since doubled in size, adding a general store - which incorporates menswear, interiors and a cafe, as well as cosy winter knitwear and a service offering upholstery of living room chairs in antique fabrics.

“I think our success is due to people seeing that what we do is not a job but a complete passion,” says Alex Legendre, who co-owns the store with Ellison. “We really do put our hearts and souls into this business.”

An unwavering belief in the concept has been vital in riding out the tough economic climate. I Gigi’s owners have refused to beat a retreat, preferring to get bigger and better, expanding the store’s offer to include an own-brand womenswear collection, Tailormade by I Gigi, which is now in its second season.

There is a softly-softly approach to sales and service, while I Gigi’s decor of neutral colours and textures enhances the store’s welcoming atmosphere.

The interior’s calm, muted palette is mirrored by its owners’ buying choices. The offer includes a strong Danish stable of brands, known for their chic, pared-down styling. I Gigi is a perfect example of creating something special out of something incredibly simple.

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