So I mentioned the imminent trip to London to pick up fabrics for the SS13 range and after doing my homework I had a few places in mind as I stepped in to the big smoke.
After a short stop at our London office where I got a tour of the sales rooms (showrooms where we promote our ranges, with a real visual impact and brand identity - the Ben Sherman room was my favourite, naturally) I head off to Berwick Street.
The beautiful, bustling road tucked away behind its ostentatious neighbour, Oxford Street, took me back to my A-Levels where we'd make special trips to London to buy our fabric for our final pieces and I was once again filled with the giddy excitement of perusing thousands of gorgeous silks, cottons and lace.
I headed to Cloth House and the Misan stores for shirtings all of which were, heart-breakingly thin on the ground for suitable stuff, the quantities were tricky too- though we only produce a small range the commercial scale is still too great for most of these smaller stores; catering more for my 18 year old self crafting gregarious and flamboyant one-offs.
I called Jole and Sons, an amazing fabric warehouse a short tube ride away, who of course had ample amounts of beautiful searchings perfect for my lovingly picked Savile Row range, but alas, were more than double what we could afford to pay - you've gotta watch them margins after all!
Having exhausted all options we instead went on a comp shop, an integral part of fashion buying is to know what everyone else is doing- no matter how unique you want your range to be!
Stopping at Selfridges which was beautiful, luxurious and expertly visually merchandised - no less than expected, I saw exactly where our little but brilliant brand should lay, somewhere to aspire to in future! Harvey Nichols was disappointingly small and awkwardly laid out but nevertheless full of sumptuous, barely attainable stock, our brand isn't in the London branch, only in Bristol and Ireland but it was good to see our competitors here regardless. Finally, a stop at House of Fraser with a surprisingly beautiful formalwear department designed like a traditional gentlemen's club, I could practically hear the chink of ice on a whiskey glass and smell the cigar smoke!
London was a great experience as part of my placement and I was really lucky to go, when businesses are cutting down on every added cost it's uncommon to send a placement student on any sort of trip. I hope I made the most of it but time will tell soon as we complete the range choices next week!