Blog: Leonie Barrie'Cheap chic' catwalk copies

Leonie Barrie | 3 October 2007

Warehouse, Zara and Topshop have achieved what is seen as the holy grail among many fashion brands by topping a new league table of retailers who have managed to “translate” designer looks for the high street.

The survey of 30 different UK clothes brands was carried out by investment bank Piper Jaffray, which rated their interpretations of key trends from the autumn catwalk shows.

Bottom of the list are Gap, Esprit and Matalan, with Gap being singled out for criticism for its “overly casual-styled brand profile, indicating the need to venture into more trend-led colours and fabrics to attract the consumer's wallet.”

Languishing in the middle ground are retailers like H&M, M&S and New Look for whom Piper Jaffray said the trends have either been too difficult to interpret and translate commercially, or not suitable for their brand profiles.

Even though UK consumer spending is slowing, the bank believes high street brands can increase their sales volumes by enticing consumers with more affordable fashions.

But the lines of people waiting to try on armfuls of Gap’s new European-designed merchandise in London last weekend perhaps tell a different story. Instead of disposable one-hit cheap chic that’s out of fashion almost as soon as it hits the shelves, it’s clear Gap’s new classics more than hit the spot with their simple lines, wonderful fabrics and no more than a nod to passing trends. And what better way to shut out worries of an economic downturn?


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