You may have read my blog that recently announced the Primark/Selfridges collaboration [read it here] and the pictures of the Menswear Edit would have left the snob in you feeling decidedly uncomfortable about their stance on the matter. Why? The truth is, the clothes are relatively spot-on and the price is to die for in this pocket-money-less climate.
The department benefits from ample floorspace (more than most concessions) but is tucked away under the grand staircase towards the very rear of the shop. Primark have provided bespoke fixtures and fittings that are a leap away from the drap faux-pine and blue plastic we’ve come to associate with their stand-alone stores.
What is interesting and troubling about the clothes is that they look the part within the store. They’re colourful, exciting and the prices are just fantastic (note: Primark is the only concession in Selfridges to advertise item prices on bold end-of-arm boards).
Why is this troubling? Well, the inner clothes snob in me is about to come out… when you take these clothes home they’re still Primark. You lose the prestige of the store and have nothing to fall back on except a Cederwood State or Denim Co. label.
So. My answer to this snobbery is to buy well. Avoid ‘basics’ and go for the gimick. YES it’s Primark and NO you don’t care (or at least you’re too poor to care). Also, some of the gimmick items, like this Xmas sweater, don’t have Primark labels! (Bonus)
It is the only town in the history of this specific BID to have turned down the opportunity.
A while back now I was asked to pop to the Moet bar in Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square to meet a very important lady. This lady was Monica Vinader, of the jewellery brand that takes her name.
Monica Vinader started in 2002 as a bespoke jewellery brand whilst Vinader was working in South America with her husband. However, once the world got a peak at Vinader’s stones, demand exploded and just 9 years on we’re sat in Manchester discussing the launch of Monica’s first two out-of-London UK stores. Monica has four of her own boutiques worldwide, sells in Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty’s, on her own site and online with net-a-porter et al.
My Rio Bracelet.
Quietly impressed with the UK’s second city (yes you heard, bog off Birmingham), the brand has opened not one but two concessions in the city’s two Selfridges stores. Leading the way with signature friendship-style bracelets the brand is known for their Fiji and Rio unisex ranges. That’s how I know the brand.
However, when I asked about Monica’s ‘menswear line’ for 2012 I was shocked to hear (rarely heard) honesty: “Do you know, I don’t think I do a menswear collection yet”.
PR, Tyler stopped breathing and I pushed my dictaphone closer. “What?”
“No not yet, I think the Fiji and Rio are very unisex but I don’t think I’ve had a proper go at menswear”.
It isn’t often we see a business owner being self-critical on the record but I have to say that I agree. Although I adore the Fiji and Rio bracelets, the look, the idea. I don’t think they, alone, constitute a menswear line. Not to say I think Monica Vinader needs anything else to please the menfolk, the Fiji and Rio do that quite well as it is. But, like Monica, I agree that if you’re going to call it a menswear collection it needs to be a collection.
Our conversation bounced between Indian sourcing, ecommerce, social media and Hugo from Made In Chelsea (a fan of the brand) and throughout Monica proved every bit the professional but keen for a giggle.
LOVE these Sky Force NIKE hi-tops that I nabbed in the ASOS Sale! they’re a little small but I don’t care because I feel like I’m in Saved By The Bell 😀
This is a very special addition to my wardrobe as it is from Black White Denim and is a new Classic Cambridge Satch from the Cambridge Satchel Company. I absolutely love this. After stealing my Bosses over London Fashion Week I thought it was about time to get my own.
As seen on my VOGUE/DirectorsOf.Com Best Dressed Nomination this is a nicey from Gola and is a collaboration with Tado.
These were a spontaneous purchase from TOPMAN in the sale. 100% Leather and 100% Winter.
Primark Menswear Edit. Coming soon to Selfridges Manchester Trafford.
You can also see a little more of me on page 47 for my VOGUE.COM/DirectorsOf.Com Best Dressed Male Nomination!