Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop


What do you think talk shop representative young costumers here in the uk because this was prior to the international expansion. And all of that. But i remember coming to london during that time and it was. It was a destination you know it was a place that people all around the world had heard because it had become kind of representative of that kind of cool brittannia moment and all of the stuff that was happening in the uk at the time. What did young customers feel about the talk shop brand. After after this all of this new activity. I think they felt that it was as unite bill. A kind of a real ownership of it on a at this hour as we great because with because we've sort of created together but like you know it was something let's talk if that makes any sense as a so that brings me to the question. That's on so many people's minds this week as we hear the news of top shop being acquired by a sauce you. Where did things begin to go wrong for top shop in. What was the tipping point where top shop began to lose. Its way well. I think it's a very difficult question to answer. In some ways. I mean young. Fashion is roussel. you have to be constantly reinventing yourself to make sure that you'll always relevant to your customer base. I felt well. You know bennett grain had taken over a two thousand. I had been very clear as soon as he joined the business. I didn't want him today any conflict. Because he wasn't china he was. You know an acid struck him more than anything else. He bought as an insult them again. I had a lot of conversations when he was not a retailer. In the way that i saw a return should be said was sort of capture the margins in the business but then pejorative that time. He then broke kate. Moss and hats off to him. She was a great choice at the time we hadn't wrote any celebrities weeks outlets limiting wasn't really talk shop. It was all about design evoke nelson. I knew that she would be incredibly with the with the talk shop customer base but also knew that it would it allowed to get into top shop if he lied to enter into an stop being apart top shop and i knew that i couldn't work with him. I could. I could do this with my team because we were all incredibly passionate because we understood it. I could not with him. Why not because we just had temporarily different views about everything is was that you basically that the buying decision was that you bought something as cheap as you could possibly buy. A new sold differs much. As you'd be get foreign mike. Philosophy was that you would make sure that you designed on bought something. That was so amazing that no one will be able to resist. It said we will philosophically. We had a very different view. The business so assigned that he took over he i think he felt that he knew young fashion that he could cross the business. And i'm sorry but you know he's he's. He's a middle-aged mom who doesn't have very much retail general certainly didn't ever about young fashion on. I think from that moment on probably He started to make decisions about cultural. Besotted run it in a way. That's a Realize that that a business needs to be constantly. Reinvented that you need. Passion within the union huge passion from everyone involved and if those people are not as passionate Do i really have to do this. then i think it's i think he is very quickly. My feeling was that before he kinda came into it. It was like we were a room full of people together. All of us creating together something. We were terribly proud of. I'm so it was amazing but we were doing it together. I think he his his view much was was a top down management. I'll tell you to do that. You'll do it. And i think that's not just a very very different thing. You know if someone says to me you've got you do that. Yeah i'll do it. But maybe i'll do it but i wanted to very well whereas if i feel on upon something creating something that i will give it everything and i think that's what it needs and needs everything. Is that ultimately why you decided to leave that. You could bring your everything you know what what happened to precipitate your departure. Well just just. Purely the fact that i knew that he he had an end that he would now become involved in social and a half million. Just didn't want to work for that. You know. I didn't have to work for him. You know and also. Let's not forget. I was by that time in my early. Booties and i kind of thought you know what this is. This is young high russians. I am no longer opposed. I kind of grown answer bit. I could do something else better. And i could give everything to another to another type of business. Oppose the other thing that was happening of course during the rise of top jump was also the rise of other big fast fashion houses whether that be zara or you know h inam the other new giant global companies looking back now the companies. That took that as fast approach to fashion are now really being in the the really the kind of the focus of fashion's Climate crisis challenge. You know the all of the training that we've given to customers to buy things cheap by things often and then dispose of garments. How do you see that whole fast. Fashion sector now. Top shop included with the addition of players like a sauce and boohoo. People calling them. Ultra fast fashion. It seems to me that it's this part of the fashion industry. That's most problematic as we think about this. Ten years left before we can get these carbon emissions under control industry that contributes ten percent of global carbon emissions. What's what's your take on that. Now while i you know a lot of people that have accused me of having been one of the False fashion and then sort of turned around and said a watch. Now it's it's not the right thing to do. But i. I never set to to create disposable passion. I says create something that was accessible to you. Know the great things are accessible to a lot of people and it's been on a journey myself in over the last sort of. I guess ten years. When i began to start feeling that this was moving in that. This was wrong that you know that we were that the fashion had lost its value. If you like that would just literally buying things in throwing them away wearing wants to moving because it was so cheesy do that i began to feel seriously compromised by that and began to build that i that i should leave the business and five because i couldn't i couldn't Begging apartment of such an incredibly damaging industry which which we now know that it is and to buffet and we didn't really know not Templeton fifteen years or so prior to that we did pass. We didn't know what we didn't think about it. And i think. I think it's it's very difficult and i always seems to me is certainly in young false fashion that the the they the customer base it is soon of splitting and that you have only sort of what the numbers but but it feels like this little v fifty percents Who recognized that. Passion is a real problem and have moved to depop hamilton. To buy vintage charter shots. Recycling up cycling read cetera. And and yet. I'm still two percent who are still buried addicted to is seriously mean. That addicted took Having things immediately. I think it's very hard to say those people. You can't have that. I think what you have to do is offer some sort of bad but alternative is as exciting or is as as tempting or whatever the sort of the yes away from from from. What is that doing. Because i agree with you. I mean it almost feels like we're coming to an end. Endpoint what. I do take what i am. Encouraged by is the fact that if you nonsense question about ten years ago i would have said that. Eighty percent people was with selected fashion. Maybe ten fifteen twenty percent. We're actually starting to realize that there was a different pop that could travel

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