With the launch of Winser London, I am starting to think there is hope for grown up women who want decent, stylish, well made modern clothes to wear. The on-line only collection launched last month and on web-images alone I got quite excited. These don’t profess to be trend-led or high fashion clothes, instead founder Kim WInser ,who has long tenures at M&S, Pringle and Aquascutum on her CV, claims she has concentrated on well cut clothes in terrific fabrics that are surprisingly well priced for their quality.
We caught up with Kim last week to ask her how the launch had gone and to see if this brand might answer some of our needs.
These clothes look like an answer from heaven, good quality, well made, stylish and not too expensive, it’s what the women who read our blog have been asking for for ages, when did you first have the idea that this concept was what women of today wanted?
“For the past few years brands have all been chasing the cheaper, throw away product market, often targeting the younger woman. I noticed that even the mid market brands started to drop their product quality and prices to chase this trend downwards. I really felt that this was not what all customers wanted, especially after the recession when women started to think more about investment clothes and being more edited with their buying, it doesn’t matter if you have money or not, you don’t want to waste it.
The high street became full of brands chasing the younger market and the young dress differently so I identified a gap for Winser London to fill, found funding and started working on producing a range I wanted to wear”.
You’ve worked in the industry a long time, what ‘best practice’ ideas have you applied to your clothes that were perhaps missing from other ranges?
“I’ve really tried to cut out the middle man. I’ve worked in the industry for a long time and I’ve worked with some extremely good people with great reputations and I held onto those contacts, so I’ve used the chance to buy direct with the yarn and fabric mills and with production. Everything I’ve saved I’ve put back into the value of the clothes and we’re fighting to surprise customers with our great prices.
We’ve also fitted everything on a size 12 and a size 16 model to ensure the fit is right for all women (some styles are fitted on a size 8 as well). How a garment fits varies a lot with size and it’s not going to work just grading a pattern up from a size 10. I use a specialist pattern cutter that I think is the best in the world, she’s Irish working out of Sweden but we brought her in because wanted the best in the industry.
Also we aim to have the right clothes to sell at the right time, avoiding that common retail glitch of being three months ahead of the weather”.
“It’s been amazing! What’s been really pleasing is the number of journalists and stylist we’ve talked to and worked with so far who have gone on line and bought, for themselves (through on-line data capture, everyone’s watching you now people…) that’s been very satisfying. We’re doing really well with silk separates and dresses, they seem to have hit the spot and the cashmere knitwear has been really successful, I’m proud of that as I feel I really know my knitwear and the quality for the price is amazing.
Themiracle trouser and dress have been popular and accessories seem to have done well too. We’ve got new product coming in every month so there’s always newness and next we’ve got some printed styles which I think will sell really well.”
Speaking personally, you had me at ‘Shop Black’. As soon as I saw that on the website, I knew you understood women, can you tell us why you added the Shop Black category? Has it performed well so far?
“Ha yes! it’s certainly been a well used key. When we were designing the website, the ability to have a Shop Black key was high on my list of priorities and of course it’s easy to do as part of a web site, but almost impossible in a shop.”
What have you been wearing and loving from your own range, any tips for us on what to look at first?
“Today I’m wearing the wide leg fluid trousers and my Audrey sweater with a vest underneath, these are my most-worn pieces from the range so far but at the weekends I’ve been living in the leggings, which are really comfortable and the boyfriend cardigan over a T shirt, brilliant for walking the dog! ”
So there you have it, wearable, quality clothes at a good price -although I appreciate this are not cheap prices. Hardly revolutionary but it seems to have taken a canny, experienced female to make it happen. Along with Whistles, LUCZA and COS and we now have another brand to visit for stylish modern clothes. Although I am pleased to see this range for our discerning 35plus customer, Kim also mentioned how many 20 year olds had loved the range because the quality and style. Hurrah! But what do you think?
Winser London website here, UK based for the moment but if any of our US readers are interested, contact the team directly and they will try to help.