Fashion

Has ‘& other stories’ been a one story brand?

With the promising launch of ‘& other stories’ in March they were looking to become a new high street fashion favourite. So why then have they fallen off my radar?

I checked their website regularly at first, intrigued and interested, but then this faded out. Not only did ‘& other stories’ not make it into my regularly viewed websites, such as Topshop, Zara and ASOS, it occurred to me that I haven’t heard anything about the brand in the press since its launch!

I wondered whether this was due to a lack of awareness on my part or to the brand’s lack of exposure. Taking to the internet I discovered an article on Vogue News from May about a collaboration of ‘& other stories’ with US-based artist and illustrator, Alyson Fox. The pieces shown of this collection in Vogue’s gallery were devine.
‘& other stories’ -1, Holly-0.
But as I looked further all I could find were articles from March 2013 written around the initial launch.
I think that brings the score to 1-1.
A more directed search at Look and Grazia magazines told the same story. Of course, this isn’t to say that ‘& other stories’ pieces haven’t featured in these and other similar magazines, but I don’t believe that awareness of the brand would be this narrow had they achieved more coverage.

So, onto their website I go. ‘& other stories’ – show me what you got.
The first thing to strike me was that either I directly recognised a lot of the items, or it all looks the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I do admire their basic pieces (although a couple that I tried on in store a few months back did not see me a fan of the fabrics. I’ve never been too keen on polyester or viscose). It took some searching, though, to unearth some new favourites.

Sleeveless Top £29 Silk Scarf £29 Denim Shorts £29

My first pick was the Sleeveless Top. I would have been tempted by if this if wasn’t polyester, but overall I was pleasantly surprised by their use of cottons and silks in many items, so long as you select carefully. I own a silk scarf, bought from the store a while back, which I adore, and a couple more have now caught my eye. And, as scouted by Vogue, the Alyson Fox pieces, scarfs, shorts and skirts, are punchy and exciting.

Alyson Fox Cotton Shorts £39 Alyson Fox Silk Skirt £45 Alyson Fox Geometric Print Scarf £39

I also liked their basic denim shorts and the choice stock of some Nike trainers, as well as a few pairs from their own shoe collection.

Overall though, I still don’t think I’ll find myself gushing to others about ‘& other stories’. There are a few choice pieces, but also a lot I could scroll past without batting an eyelid. What I would say however, is that if I don’t  occasionally check in for new items, I think it’d be my loss. So that leaves the tally at a draw, one all. I think you’ll have to up your game ‘& other stories’ if you want to be a winner.

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Fashion

Start of a Story – March

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.

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