Bath in Fashion: Sarah Homer, Managing Director of Topshop

In a packed room in the stunning setting of The Octagon in Milsom Place, we were treated to over an hour of insight from Topshop Managing Director, Sarah Homer. She talked us through the evolution of Topshop, from concession to world domination!

Mary Homer MD of Topshop

Mary Homer MD of Topshop

Topshop was launched in 1964, arguably the most exciting decade in British fashion, making it 50 years old this year. Post-war babies were rebelling, fashion was changing and young women didn’t want to go from chidren’s clothes into the reserved outfits of their Mothers, they wanted to be teenagers. Fashion started to be designed by everyday people, street style took off and individual style was embraced, Mary Quant and Biba revolutionised young fashion and the Kings Road in London became the place to be seen and photographed.

Mary Homer joined Topshop in 1985 working in the Visual Merchandising department and quickly moved up the ranks taking a seat on the board. In Sarah’s words, ‘not a lot happened in fashion from 1985 to 1995, the high street started to stagnate’ this is when Topshop decided they needed to do something big, something different and something radical.

They set out to be the world’s fashion authority, an affordable, high fashion brand which would could sit alongside high end designers yet carry a high street price tag. But how could they achieve this?

The product was key, they wanted to epitomise British fashion, to be authentically British but also be eclectic, directional and non conformist. To do this they knew they needed world class standards, which meant having the best staff and working with the very best in every field, from the designers right through to who photographed their clothes. They knew they needed a young, excited talent pool who would take risks and challenge the status quo and most importantly lived and breathed the brand.

Topshop began investing in young designers, plucking the very best talent straight out of St Martins and sponsoring these designers with Topshop initiatives. New Gen sponsors new designers and have nurtured the likes of Alexander McQueen and Jonathon Saunders, they are also heavily involved in the Vogue fashion fund which gives emerging talent a ‘leg up’ in the industry. Collaborating with this emerging talent helped the designers to enter the industry whilst supplying Topshop customers with the chance to buy designer, fashion forward lines at highstreet prices, just what they set out to do.

In that original meeting, Topshop had wanted to be endorsed by the world’s media, worn by influential people around the world and to show during fashion week. At the time these goals seemed fantastical, but Topshop showed during London Fashion Week in 2005 and continue to do so each year. Sienna Miller, Cara Delavigne, Suki Waterhouse, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were all wearing the Topshop range for the recent launch, pictures which will be in every fashion magazine this month and every fashion blog worth it’s salt. Topshop recently opened their flagship American store in New York which has proved highly popular, bringing the London look to the New York masses. World domination complete!

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While discussing the future of retail Sarah didn’t agree with the scaremongering suggesting the high street was dead, with a new generation growing up who still wait for the day they’re allowed to venture into town on their own and look around the shops, Sarah strongly believes that the high street will always be integral to our social lives. Yes, the way we shop will change, we can click and collect and order in store, but the retail experience will still be important. What will become different is the ‘experience’ we offer our customers in-store, what that means right now, she’s not sure! What she could guarantee is that the next 10 years in retail will be very very different, but that is what is so exciting about the industry.

“Love what you do. If you don’t, find something you do love. If you’re passionate about your career you’ll work your way to the top”  Sarah Homer, Managing Director of Topshop

Follow what we’re up to this week at Bath in Fashion by following us on twitter @FabCollection or #BIFab

 

Bath in Fashion: Look fabulous Styling Lunch

We hosted our second styling lunch at the fabulous Allium Brasserie yesterday as part of our Bath in Fashion week. We were joined by 25 guests including press and bloggers from the area, who were treated to a two course lunch, wine and the infamous Bath in Fashion cocktail courtesy of the Art Bar.

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The Abbey Hotel is one of our favourite haunts in Bath, the combination of modern art curation from Jessica Llloyd-Smith of ModernArtBuyer, classic cocktails in the Art Bar and fine dining in the Allium Brasserie makes it the perfect destination for a fabulous event, not to mention the fantastic staff and service.

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Our styling partner Lyn Bromley joined us from First Impressions to give a fascinating talk on the art of styling. This is not a latest trends talk, but more a demonstration of how to dress for your own personal style, bodyshape and colouring. Guests were shown how to choose jewellery depending on their face shape, height and colouring, and could then choose their wardrobe personality which would point them in the direction of the kind of designer brands that would suit their style. You can work out your wardrobe personality here.

After a fabulous lunch of salmon on crushed new potatoes with minted pea puree and a pear and salted caramel desert, ladies mingled and browsed the latest collections from fabulous, with the opportunity to pre-order Moog, a brand new watch concept coming to fabulous stores very soon (we are the sole UK stockist) more information coming soon!

Thank you so much to The Abbey Hotel, Lyn Bromley and all of our fabulous friends in Bath who came to the event, it was great to see so many new faces and we look forward to seeing many of you at the Bath Garden Party.

If you like the sound of this event, why not join us for our fabulous Garden Party on 10th July at the Bath Priory hotel – you can book tickets here for the event.

If you’d like to know our whereabouts this week follow us on twitter @FabCollection or #BIFab

Fabulous What’s On: Bath in Fashion 2014

PrintFabulous fashionistas will be descending on Bath from May 3rd to May 10th to enjoy a week of catwalks, talks, workshops, films, shopping and exhibitions to celebrate the fabulous world of fashion.

With both a fabulous and Pandora concept store in Bath, we are heavily involved with the festivities this year. Here’s what we’re looking forward to…

Sunday 4th May: Vintage Fashion Fair, Green Park Station, 10am – 1pm FREE

Tuesday 6th May: Vogue on… Vivienne Westwood with Linda Watson, The Royal Crescent Hotel, 4pm, £18

Wednesday 7th May: Look fabulous Styling Lunch, Allium Brasserie, 12.30pm, £27.50

Wednesday 7th May: Meet Topshop Managing Director Mary Homer, The Octagon, 6.30pm, £15

Wednesday 7th May: The BIBA Years Barbara Hulanicki with Hilary Alexander, The Octagon, 8pm, £20

Thursday 8th May: Vintage BIBA Show, The Assembly Rooms, 1pm, £20

Thursday 8th May: Spring/Summer fashion show, The Assembly Rooms, 4pm and 7.30pm, £12

Thursday 8th May: Bath Life Fashion’s Night Out, Citywide, 5.30 – 8pm FREE

Thursday 8th May: Meadham Kirchoff with Sarah Mower, The Octagon, 8pm, £20

Friday 9th May: Jewellery Making Workshop with fabulous, The Pavilion, 1.30 – 3.30pm FREE

Sunday 11th May: Best of British Bridal Showcase, The Royal Crescent Hotel, 4-6pm, £38

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For more information about Bath in Fashion visit the website for the full line-up. To come to our fabulous Styling Lunch book your tickets through the Allium Brasserie, £27.50 includes a two course lunch with champagne on arrival hosted by Jo Stroud and Lyn Bromley of First Impressions. They’ll be talking you through how to pick jewellery to suit your style and shape as well as showcasing the latest trends in jewellery.