2 years on… Why I started Wears London – something needed to change
Posted on April 13 2017
Spitalfields, Greenwich Market, Brick Lane and Camden stole my heart with their vibrant colours, rich culture, and sense of passion and creativity. am from Birmingham originally and although it’s a big city with plenty of creativity, when I moved to London, I was taken aback by the number of brilliant independent designers and designer makers I stumbled across on a daily basis. Almost overnight, brands would appear and go again with the pop-up spaces and array of wonderful events that London enjoys. What struck me was the amount of work that these creatives must put into what is essentially a one day or one-week affair, only for their wares to go back into storage shortly after and their brands left to lie low and compete with the multiples over brands on numerous ecommerce platforms.
Whilst pop-up shops are a fantastic way to trial an idea, this sense of temporary shopping, in my mind, isn’t a sustainable solution for consumers, tourism or brands. The unpredictability of what’s going to be available to purchase at any certain time gives locals a varied and eclectic choice for their own shopping; but what if a brand made a real impact on an out-of-towner, whom then recommend their friend visit, only for them to find when they returned the brand had disappeared without a trace? All the hard work that goes into marketing a pop-up shop can seem like a false economy in the long term. Whilst sales might flood in during the time the shop’s in place, thanks to the high footfall we enjoy in London, what happens next? Unless the team have a clever way of capturing email addresses or contact details, those hard earned customers could never come back.
It takes a huge amount of effort to prepare for a pop-up shop; the designer-maker not only has to ensure they’ve created enough stock to last, but also become accountant, retailer, merchandiser and sometimes even employer all over-night. They have to purchase or create decor, market stands, banners… all of this needs to be stored somewhere too, or sadly is sometimes thrown away when the fight for another space at one of the prestigious markets becomes too much. To be so wasteful doesn’t befit the Eco-friendly aspirations of many of the designers who chose up-cycled and recycled materials for their products. What these brilliant, inspiring brands need is a home. They also need a support network of like-minded individuals. Many of the designers are Graduates just breaking into the world of work. What tourists, Londoners and fashionistas need are reliable destinations to purchase unique, sustainable, Fair trade and most importantly, independent brands that they can passionately support with a true sense of “buy local” pride. What retail (some say a dying industry) needs is new blood on the high-street besides the mass-produced, planet destroying products of Oxford Street
This is why Wears London was born, initially the dream was for the website, a platform to promote independent designers and designer-makers; sharing their stories in one place alongside other similar brands, organising them by origin, allowing shoppers to shop by an areas aesthetic and style as well as by brand. So if someone, like me, loves the Brick Lane trends, they know exactly where to look. Despite my initial reservations about pop up shops, I had the opportunity to open one for a month in Greenwich over the busy Christmas Period and jumped at the chance so that I could touch base with potential customers first hand. It allowed space to display the brands where the millions of London tourists would see them. Two years on and we’re still there with a permanent space and a new improved website launching now. What will the next two years hold for these wonderful brands and indeed for us? I couldn’t be more excited to find out. You can visit our shop at 9 Greenwich Market, SE10 9HZ. Visit us online at www.wears-london.co.uk