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Occasionwear Indicator, May 23 2015

What’s selling now at UK and Irish women’s occasionwear and men’s formalwear independents.


Hilary Gardiner, owner of Elegant Lady in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh

“Northern Ireland is still suffering from a recession, which is having an effect on trade as a whole. We hope the election result will help create more consumer confidence. Dresses from Luis Civit (£300), Gina Bacconi (£200 to £300) and Linea Raffaelli £500 to £600) are selling well.”

Tracie Homer, owner of Georgina Scott Bridal in Stourbridge, West Midlands

“We’re seeing a lot of demand for mother-of-the bride dresses and jackets from Mascara (£210 to £450) and L’Atelier (£300 to £480). Our customers are also loving Mon Cheri wrap dresses and dress and jacket sets (£480 to £550). Consumer confidence is high and we hope the election result will be good for business.”

Pat Lewis, owner of The Copper Tree in Usk, Monmouthshire

“Joseph Ribkoff dresses (£100 to £300) are our bestselling style, followed closely by its trousers (£110 to £150). Our customers love Cabotine dresses and jackets (£500 to £650) in navy lace, deep raspberry and dusky pink. So far spring 15 is our best season for five years due to greater consumer confidence.”

Martha Fraser, owner of Martha V in Newmarket, Suffolk

“Dresses and jacket sets from Luis Civit (£700), Cabotine (£600) and Zeila (£400) are really popular. The market is very upbeat. People have got their confidence back and there are lots more weddings. The large number of lovely venues in our area helps.”

Sue Huntington, owner of Sue Huntington in Heswall, Wirral

“We are seeing demand for dresses and jackets from Condici (£500) and John Charles (£600), as well as Ispirato dresses (£400). Joseph Ribkoff jackets (£230) are popular for eveningwear. We hold charity fashion shows in March and September, one of which is dedicated to mother-of-the-bride outfits. Our last fashion show attracted 760 ladies.”

Cindy Marritt, owner of Cindy’s in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

“Frank Lyman maxi dresses (£250) are popular, as well as dresses and jackets from John Charles (£600) and Zeila (£400). Our customers have been tempted by jewel-coloured dresses, particularly in emerald green, red and coral.”

Maeve Flouch, owner of The County Boutique in Ennis, County Clare

“Dresses from Aideen Bodkin (€280/£200), Caroline Kilkenny (€240/£172) and Laura Bernal (€240/£172) are all selling strongly. Lots of occasions seem to be taking place this season, like weddings, communions and confirmations. People are feeling less cautious.”

Denise Marlow, partner at Impeys in Leicester

“Dresses and jackets from Izabella (£250 to £375), Mascara (£250 to £350) and Ispirato (£500 to £600) are selling strongly. The city centre has been developed following the burial of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in March, which has helped attract new people to the city.”

Marie Boylan, owner of The Snooty Fox in Dungannon, County Tyrone

“I’m very pleased with occasionwear trade. Consumer confidence is definitely high. Ian Stuart dresses and jackets are our bestsellers (£1,000). We are also seeing demand for Luis Civit dresses (£500 to £600) and John Charles dresses and jackets (£800 to £900).”

Men’s formalwear

Alfie Hope, manager of Capital Collection in Grimsby

“We are doing fantastically well this season, which is down to our customer service, brand mix and mid- to top-end positioning. Ted Baker blazers (£250) and long-sleeved shirts (£85) are selling strongly, as are Vivienne Westwood shirts (£130 to £295) and suits (£600 to £1,100).”

John Lassetter, owner of Bone Clothing in Lewes, East Sussex

“Hackett is our bestselling brand, particularly its linen jackets (£299). We’re selling lots of Gant chinos (£80) and Eden Park cotton shirts (£90). During the run-up to the election trade was 20% lower than expected and the colder weather hasn’t helped.”

Tim Wolstenholme, partner at Andrew Watson Menswear in Belfast

“Suits (£595 to £850), jackets (£450 to £650) and trousers (£179 to £199) from Eduard Dressler are proving popular. Customers are also buying Eton shirts (£120 to £150) and Oliver Sweeney shoes (£279 to £299). We aren’t introducing any new brands for autumn 15.”

James Bulstrode, suit department manager at Coes in Ipswich

“We’re finding more of a suit vibe this spring 15 and seeing strong sales from Without Prejudice (from £399), Scott by the Label (£175 to £225) and The Label (£275). The general election has made people think and there is a more positive outlook compared with two years ago.”

Rob Evison, manager of Giorgio Reggiani in Derby

“Suits from Sand (£500 to £600), Remus Uomo (£250 to £350) and Gibson London (£250 to £350) are selling well. Our bestselling shirt is Seidensticker’s slim-fit Black Rose style (£50 to £65). We added Brax cotton trousers for spring 15 (£85 to £95).”

Matthew Woods, operations manager at Black’s Menswear in Stafford

“Our two main brands are Without Prejudice (three-piece suit £559) and Roy Robson (two-piece suit £299). While we can be quiet in the week, Saturdays have become incredibly busy. For spring 15 we introduced polo shirts (£65) and lightweight duffle coats (£199) from Gloverall, which are made in the UK.”

Tim Hobden, owner of Landmark in Marlow, Buckinghamshire

“Local people are beginning to support local businesses again. They have seen the high street change in a way they don’t like and they want to reverse it. We are seeing demand for jackets from Circle of Gentlemen (£400), 1 Like No Other (£335) and Santinelli (£235).”

Tim Benns, menswear manager at Jarrold in Norwich

“We changed the floor dynamics for spring 15 by moving away from own bought and adding new concessions from formalwear brands like TM Lewin and Austin Reed. We’ve started rolling out an Austin Reed made-to-measure suit service (from £600). We are seeing demand for shirts from TM Lewin (£25 to £40) and Jaeger (£65).”

Ian Gardiner, owner of Pritchards in Hereford

“Suits from Paul Smith (£600), Boss Black (£500) and Armani Collezioni (£700) are proving popular. We are selling more suits for weddings and races. Consumer confidence is coming back after the recession, although it’s taken a while to filter out of London.”


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