What better to inspire me to write my first post than a new fashion-selling website set out like a blog. Think the type that sees you scrolling down a page tiled with different sized pictures all tessellating together. Not only does ‘& other stories’ or stories.com have a different layout to the expected retail site, it also has a collection that I would not be able to directly compare to another. Usually one would be able to say, “similar to Topshop” or “French Connection sort of designs” or “around the Forever 21 price range”, but this one has me perplexed, in a good way.
The collection of accessories is vast in comparison to many sites selling clothes that are presented in the boutique guise that I feel this one is. There’s also a huge collection of shoes to choose from. Both the words ‘vast’ and ‘huge’ in terms of stock do tend to be a contradiction in terms when placed next to ‘boutique’, and yet, this retail site manages to produce a browsing experience that I would rarely associate with the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of stock.
It strikes me in particular that the collections themselves are also hard to categorise. I think this chiefly comes from the minimalism coupled with attention to detail – this seen most obviously through the bags, belts and shoes. This detail moves it away from your standard high street store. There are pieces here I would expect to find on a vintage stall, or among the listings of asos market place, and some even from a higher end designer. There are of course items that are fairly regular to the website’s price range, and remind me a little of Zara, but the diversity of pieces available really stands out.
On top of this, they even have their own beauty range! This is joined by some products from a select few better known beauty brands. And again, the choice provided, particularly by their own-branded products, is sizeable. They also stock the largest range of hair accessories I’ve seen from a general fashion retailer of this size for some time. All this is sat next to a much smaller, but well thought out, clothing collection, giving the site a skew that I don’t think I’ve come across before.
It therefore came as quite a surprise to find out that ‘& other stories’ was created by the people behind h&m. I am told by Marie Claire that the making of this higher-end high street store has been kept very ‘hush hush’ for three years, which may explain my ignorance to its upcoming existence, but there has obviously been some hard work going on behind the scenes. Anna Teurnell, Head of Design, explains: ‘Our diverseness comes from building collections around different fashion stories. Ranging from masculine tailoring to feminine chic we’re offering our customers endless styling choices.’ This aim, in my opinion, has achieved a fantastic collection, which does succeed in offering the opportunity for personal styling that can transcend through the seasons.
The retailer has not only launched online, but has constructed a flagship store on Regents Street. It opened yesterday, and has already been graced by fashion teams and celebrities alike. Clothes, shoes, jewellery and accessories are laid out within 1,200 metres set across two floors, and it is being highly commended in many reviews. I think that my excitement and curiosity are great enough that I might brave the weekend crowds and head on down there today.