Browns buying director Erin Mullaney picks out her favourite international indies, all of which are dedicated to promoting fresh design talent and providing impeccable service
I’ve always admired these pioneers in independent retailing [see below] because they have stood the test of time in an era that has been full of change and are still as influential today as they were when they first opened.
It was a much different time back when Browns was founded and there was less competition than there is now but these retailers were always ahead of the game, like Browns, and helped each other with information and tips on new designers because they were all in different cities around the world. Like Mrs Burstein at Browns, they were hungry to find the next big thing.
Each of these retailers carved out a special niche for themselves - the late Joseph Ettedgui [founder of designer label and indie Joseph, who passed away earlier this year] developed his own label; Maria Luisa [owner of the eponymous Parisian store] was well known for supporting up-and-coming international designers outside of Paris; and Tommy [Perse, founder of Maxfield in Los Angeles] catered for the cool LA Hollywood set.
Carla [Sozzani, owner and founder of 10 Corso Como in Milan] was one of the first to make her shop into a concept store, complete with a restaurant and book shop, and Joyce Ma [founder of Joyce in Asia, with stores in Hong Kong and Shanghai] really understood what luxury and service meant and incorporated art and design into her shops with her galleries and installations.
Since the advent of online shopping, we are now competing with each other in some way, but we must stick together as independent retailers and always try to provide an exciting and dynamic environment with impeccable service that gives the customer an alternative to the department store or mono-brand shopping.”
Joyce, Hong Kong
Asia-based Joyce has been discovering and nurturing new design talent for more than 30 years. Its stores across China and Taiwan stock some 90 brands including Hugo Boss, Givenchy and Marni.
Founded in London by Joseph Ettedgui, brand and retailer Joseph built its reputation on iconic wardrobe staples. Ettedgui was credited with introducing European brands such as Marni and Azzedine Alaia to the UK.
Maria Luisa, Paris
Founded in 1988 in Paris by its eponymous owner, Maria Luisa was launched to showcase emerging labels, in reaction to the dominance of the major fashion houses and big brands. Ann Demeulemeester, Isabel Marant and L’Wren Scott are among the labels it stocks.
10 Corso Como, Milan
A relative baby, 10 Corso Como was opened in Milan in 1991 by Carla Sozzani as a store where fashion meets culture, meets design, meets cultural event and bookshop. It now has stores in Tokyo and in Seoul too.
Janet Brown, New York
The late Janet Brown was credited with bringing European labels, including Prada, Jil Sander and Marni, to the US via her eponymous New York store, before they were available in department stores.
Linda Dresner, Detroit
Linda Dresner has been credited for bringing the likes of John Galliano and Comme des Garçons to Detroit in her eponymous store. Tough times meant the New York shop closed in 2009, but the original location still stocks the likes of Balenciaga, Clu and Tuleh.
Maxfield, Los Angeles
In the 1980s, Tommy Perse, founder of Los Angeles store Maxfield, was the first to bring the collections of Giorgio Armani, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons to town. Today, Maxfield stocks the likes of Rick Owens, Balmain and Libertine.
Alan Bilzerian, Massachusetts
This two-store Massachusetts indie has been bringing European labels to the US for about 40 years. Brands include Lanvin and Julius.