for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

Kate Moss Mania hits the high street

So the Kate Moss range for Topshop went on sale this evening and of course hundreds of eager shoppers queued for hours on Oxford Street to be the first to get their hands on the merchandise. However the frenzy seems a bit pointless when each shopper was only allowed to try on 8 items and buy just 5 in an attempt to curb mass ebaying.

Fashion blog Catwalk Queen was blogging the whole experience from inside the queue (purely for journalistic reasons i’m sure), and made some interesting observations- in particular the fact that most of the ‘die-hard’ shoppers at the front of the queue were infact reporters and bloggers, and the meticulously clever event organisation from the store including generous sustainance that the Topshop staff who were handing out drinks, popcorn and sweets all afternoon.

Read all the Catwalk Queen posts here, especially Ten things we discovered at the Kate Moss for Topshop Launch
BBC News- Frenzy as Kate Moss range debuts
Reuters- Moss mania breaks out with model’s new range

Filed under: brand extensions,

Veja’s Ecological Sneakers reach London

Veja, the first ecological and ethical sneaker brand that launched in Paris and Tokyo in 2005, offers shoes made with organic cotton grown by small producers in North-eastern Brazil and Amazonian wild latex.

Making a trendy name for fair trade, the Veja company also pride themselves on being stocked in some of Europe’s most exclusive and selective fashion shops- and the latest of these to pick them up are two of London’s coolest- Bread and Honey and the Shop at BlueBird who have been offering the range for the past month. As the company explain it “Convincing the customers who are already convinced with fair trade principles is not our prority. We want Veja sneakers to be next to other brands… Ethic aspects shouldn’t be the only reason to explain a purchase”.

read more about Veja here, and find out where you can get your hands on a pair.

Filed under: worth buying, , ,

French Connection launches social network

Described as ‘a website dedicated to self-expression in music, fashion and the arts’, is actually a clever picture-based networking site set up by UK retailer French Connection.

Unlike previous retail offshoots, this site is not overly heavy on product promotion, relying instead on attracting customers through building a young network of music and fashion afficionados and offering them access to niche gigs and secret fashion events around the UK.

With four launch parties scheduled to start in May, the ‘movement’ is in early infancy, yet appears to already have a decent number of members uploading and contributing. Maybe the grandiose mission statement really does appeal to teens-

‘Every now and then something special happens in contemporary culture. It starts with a disparate group of people thinking and expressing themselves in
similar ways and slowly that group becomes a crowd. Then over time it
gains momentum before finally becoming a movement, an unavoidable
meeting of minds, a global shift in self-expression defined by fashion,
music and the arts. So, if you feel the rumblings of just such an event
beginning to happen, then you have come to the right place.
Over the coming months will be exploring all sorts of
self-expression, inviting our members to get involved and find that
state of mind and those magical links that connect us all and make us a
collective creative force, wherever we happen to be.’

Will the movement take off and the brand regain cool status or will teens see the free gigs and parties for the marketing ploy they really are? Either way it’s a unique and clever attempt by a brand to connect with and understand it’s customers.

Filed under: brand extensions, life online

UK Retailers in Vanity Sizing Scandal

Whilst no-one is averse to a little flattery, you still know that the shop assistants’ opinions are a not-so-cleverly disguised sales pitch. But what about when it’s the clothes themselves that are lying to you? The Times launched a study to find out just how reliable UK clothing sizing was- and found some pretty outrageous lies across the high street.  Whilst this increase in ‘vanity sizing‘ is no great surprise, it is interesting to see just how far companies have been stretching the truth, across both womens and mens trousers.

According to the report French Connection understated the waist size of their jeans the most, with a 5.5 inch discrepancy in men’s sizes and up to 4 inches in womens, whilst Zara, Topshop, H&M and Gap were all also caught telling porky-pies. Although playing to vanity by convincing customers they are thinner may seem like a clever sales ploy, in an era of brand transparency surely lying can only harm your reputation.

Revealed: the jeans that tell a sizeable lie– The Times

Filed under: industry news,

Stab-Proof Clothing- the Future for a Safe Life?


With knife and gun crime on the rise in the UK, is Kevlar-lined clothing the future for safe living? One company certainly seems to think so. Bladerunner is an Essex-based company that makes protective clothing for police forces and security guards, and now also offers ’stab-proof’ Kevlar-lined hoodies so that gang youths can look cool and stay safe.

After a colleague’s policeman friend came across 14 and 15 year olds wearing stab-proof vests for protection on the streets, the company’s director Adrian Davis has apparently also approached schools in East London about the possibility of putting Kevlar linings into school uniforms. A scary thought, but if there’s no prevention at least there can be some protection.

via Political Gateway

Filed under: for the children, products with a purpose

Jean Muir’s final farewell

It’s a sad sad day for fashion- this friday Jean Muir, a bastion of British brands and one of the last true ‘dressmakers’ will shut shop forever.

Launched in 1966, the label may not be known for it’s exciting innovations or celebrity following, but truly represented the iconic style of the elegant English lady. Her elegant, classic minimalism proved to have a staying power that most designers could only dream of, and led a brand that became identifiable through its intelligent, sophisticated and loyal clientele.

The Guardian reports on scenes of frantic (yet polite) purchasing from these faithful followers as the company offers a final sale at the Conduit Street store. “There is something very British about her clothes in that they are
understated and chic. I’ve been a fan for over 25 years,” said shopper
Elizabeth Morgan, clutching an armful of clothes.

In a time when fashion companies are desparate to gain a foothold in the baby boomer market it seems crazy to let a brand with such loyalty disappear, but the fact that the company is choosing to close rather than sell on the name and face the possibility of sullying its reputation is testament to the true British class that it encapsulates. As Henry Leukert, who was Jean Muir’s husband and has run the company since her death in 1995 said “It is sad, but I believe this is the way Jean would have wanted it…I believe there is virtue in quitting while we are ahead and keeping her name untarnished.”

Anyone hoping to grab a piece of fashion history should head down to 48 Conduit Street before friday!

Jean Muir

Filed under: industry news

365 offers a new take on fashion- every day of the year!

If you think your wardrobe’s too predictable, how about a different outfit for each day of the year? That’s what 365’s designer Alexander Serda is offering with a design concept that presents the wearer with a different pair of trousers for every day of the year. A truly luxurious offering, not only is each pair of trousers tailored to the customer’s requirements and embroidered inside with the date, the outfit is delivered in a handmade trunk alongside La Perla knickers embroidered with the relevant day of the week!!  Well out of the price range of most mortals (starting price is £677), the idea takes an interesting slant on out throwaway society- though in an era of eco and ethical consumerism, will such unnecessary extravagance be something customers want to associate themselves with?


Filed under: creative ideas,

Tom Ford launches luxury Menswear line

It’s been a long time coming but Tom Ford is finally launching his luxury menswear brand, and he’s bringing classic gentleman’s luxury into the 21st century. WWD has a 4-page article detailing the array of items available in the Tom Ford range, including ready-to-wear and bespoke suits, leather travelling accessories, eyewear and custom-made fragrances, but more exciting than this is the description of the amazing new Madison Avenue boutique that will house all these goodies.

Opening this Thursday, the store is Ford’s interpretation of a thoroughly serviced environment where every need is catered for to create the ultimate in luxury shopping-

For instance, the boutique will open by appointment from 7 a.m. to 11a.m., then open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and revert again to an appointment-only basis until 7 p.m. Salespeople will be on hand to take care of a client’s every whim — for the opening, he even flew in his personal butler, Angus Richards-Barron, to train the store’s butler — and there will be maids for such tasks as fluffing the cushions and wiping off the dust.

“I want someone to say, ‘Hello’ when you walk in. I want someone to call you sir, or, if they know your name, Mr., or Ms., or Mrs. I want them to get you a Diet Coke if that is what you want,” Ford said. “I want them to be nice to you with a smile, and I want them to be knowledgeable about the product and to be able to tell you about it, or if you don’t want to listen to them, to not tell you about it.”

Epitomising gentlemanly glamour and elegance, both the store and collection seem to be the perfect answer to Ford’s pressing question- “Where would Cary Grant shop if he were alive today?”

read the full article at WWD
or check out the collection from 12th April at

Filed under: brand extensions, Luxury,

Sensitive Shoes give pedi-pleasure

Picture_5Reflexology as you walk? That’s the idea behind the Sensitive Shoes, created to give “emotional wellbeing” through stimulating pressure points on the soles of your feet so that the act of walking becomes “healing”. If these prototypes go into production, designer Steve McIntyre may well become every woman’s best friend- taking the pain out of wearing heels and even replacing it with pleasure!

via Trendhunter

Filed under: stuff

Gap taps trio of Young Designers


Gap is hoping that utilising young design talent will revive its falling sales and so have enlisted the skills of up-and-coming designers Doo-Ri Chung of Doo-Ri, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, and Thakoon Panichgul of Thakoon to each produce a small collection reinventing the white shirt.

The limited edition nine-piece collection for women, to be called Gap Design Editions, will retail from $68 to $88 and be launched in 100 larger U.S Gap stores on April 17th. A large amount of money seems to have gone into the marketing campaign for such a small and inexpensive range, with ads featuring Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede and Carmen Kass posing alongside the designers to be seen in The New York Times, a WWD cover wrap, and the front cover of the May issue of Vogue.

As with the Roland Mouret collection for Gap, the designers’ names will not be on the pieces, but this time their faces will be on the billboards to ‘enhance customer recognition’. The project is an offshoot of Gap’s
partnership with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to introduce young designers to a broader audience, and from the impressive and affordable pieces seen below should be very successful for all involved.


via Racked

Filed under: brand extensions