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Contemporary Indicator, March 28 2015

What’s selling now at contemporary fashion independents?

Womenswear

Paul Mills, owner of Elspeth Mills Clothing in Macclesfield

“Our bestsellers include Vero Moda jeggings (£38) and dresses from Adini (£25 to £55) and Pomodoro (£70 to £85). Our shops in Macclesfield and Pwllheli, Gwynedd, have permanent Sale rooms where we discount by around 50%. These Sale rooms accounted for around 30% of total sales across all platforms last week.”

Cassie Le Marchand, owner of Fleur in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

“Early spring clothing is selling strongly, such as light knits (£60 to £89), cotton trousers (£69 to £99) and scarves (£15 to £35) from Sandwich. We’re also seeing demand for linen tops (£54.95) and T-shirts (£35) by InWear, and jeans and trousers (£55) from Intown. Our trading is up on last year because we bought more stock based on what sold well last year in extra colours and sizes, and introduced new brands for spring 15 such as Markberg (belts £45).”

Luke Hardy, partner at Anokhi in Bath

“Tunics from Capri Clothing (£45 to £70) and Adini (£45 to £70) have been very popular, as well as Sahara dresses (£130 to £190). Our store in Wells, Somerset, is facing competition from multiples like Fat Face, East and Phase Eight that have recently moved into the area. It has seriously affected our sales.”

Sarah Simcock, owner of Caramel Clothing in Honiton, Devon

“Dresses are selling well, especially the Pipil dress from White Stuff (£55) and colour-block dress from Great Plains (£75). Light spring knits (£79) from Sandwich have also been popular. We introduced Ichi tops (£20 to £35) and dresses (£25 to £50) for spring 15, which is an excellent price and more fashion forward, as well as premium brand Maison Scotch which offers standout tops (£55) and dresses (£65 to £125). This appeals to customers seeking a more exclusive label.”

Sue Turner, owner of Bone Clothing in Lewes, East Sussex

“Our bestsellers are Gant summer knitwear (£95), Ted Baker T-shirts (£45) and Minimum soft grey spring knitwear (£65). Local competition from eight other boutiques has forced me to up my game by introducing expensive contemporary brands to distinguish the store, such as Gant, which went on sale for autumn 14 and was the most popular brand for the whole of February.”

Chris Pinto, owner of Chris Atkinson Fashions in Pontefract, West Yorkshire

“The entire range from The Masai Clothing Company (£60 to £300) has been hugely popular, as well as Alembika dresses (£190) which are new for spring 15. With the recession over, people are feeling more positive, so trading has slightly improved on last year.”

Sara Foster, owner of Etcetera in Ormskirk, Lancashire

“We mainly attract two customer types: the yummy mummy, who really loves Lily & Me dresses (£40), and women aged 35 to 70, for whom The Masai Clothing Company dresses (£80) and Sandwich tops (£65) are popular.”

Pippa Bergson, owner of Focus Organic in Halesworth, Suffolk

“Our customers are interested in wearing natural, organic fibres. Recently, lilac tunics from The Masai Clothing Company (£70 to £100) and basic tops from Adini (£35 to £40) are selling well, as are shirts (£177) and dresses (£248) from Yacco Maricard, which we launched for spring 15. The opening of another fair trade shop in nearby Banyan has attracted more like-minded customers to the area.”

Menswear

Jason Schiller, owner of Evolution Menswear in Barnstaple, Devon

“We have a transactional website, but we find customers prefer to come into store. We’re selling lots of blue and white plaid-cotton shirts by Gant (£90). Sand patterned and nautical shirts are always a firm favourite (£139), along with the brand’s pink and navy polos (£75). Tommy Hilfiger’s tailored-fit long-sleeved shirts suit all body shapes (£85).”

Robert Evison, manager of Giorgio Reggiani in Derby

“We’re doing well with Gibson jackets (£165), and polo shirts from Camel Active (£190) and Sand (£70). This is our fourth season carrying Sand and already we’ve placed a repeat order on shirts. Camel Active’s peach jacket (£185) for spring 15 has outsold the classic navy and charcoal grey styles.”

Terry Foster, owner of Casanova in Carlisle

“We’re up £90,000 from last year. The suit trade has been a key reason for getting customers through the door and then we introduce them to the contemporary brands. Colourful polo shirts from Gant (£75 to £90) and Paul & Shark (£115) sell really well. We also brought back Sand for spring 15 after dropping it three seasons ago. The shirts are comfortable and smart (£125). Lacoste shirts (£115) appeal to a younger clientele.”

Rupert Adams, owner of Real Clothing in Southwell, Nottinghamshire

“Despite the summer having not arrived yet, polo shirts are selling strongly from Fred Perry (£55 to £70), and Barbour lightweight jackets (£199). Superdry appeals to our younger clients, particularly its monochrome jumper (£44). Turnover is up 5% from last year, which we put down to new restaurants and businesses opening up in our area and increasing footfall. Our website, which accounts for 10% of all sales, also helps drive customers in store.”

Edward Pritchard, owner of Pritchards in Hereford

“We ship from our website all over the world to countries like Brazil, Canada and Australia. Overall we’re up on last year, which I think is down to our customer service. Boss Black lightweight knitwear (£90 to £110) and casual shirts (£85) are being snapped up, along with Fred Perry Harrington jackets (£149). Polo Ralph Lauren polo shirts (£85) and jeans (£95) are also in demand, as are Hackett blazers (£400 to £450).”

Sam Old, co-owner of Robert Old in Bournemouth

“We are doing really well with Italian brand Henry Cotton’s, in particular with smart casual shirts (£115), jackets (£320) and trousers (£120).Jacob Cohen denim (£289) is extremely good quality. We find darker denim is popular with our customers.”

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