For years, New York fans had to rely on their British friends and family to snap up the latest offerings from TopShop's flagship Oxford Street Store, until “capsule” collections were made available at Opening Ceremony (2004) and more recently Barneys (2007). In September, a US website was launched, no doubt in part to quench the thirst of US consumers after the store's opening was delayed.
While some commentators (reported in Drapers) warn that now is not a great time to be launching a new brand stateside - US Census Bureau figures show clothing and accessories spend last month fell by 6.5% to US$15.1 billion(£10.3bn) against February 2008 - others say TopShop's inexpensive trend-led fashion is exactly what New York's recessionistas are looking for. Quoted in the New York Observer TeenVogue fashion news director Jane Keltner says: "We’ve been waiting with bated breath. “It’s just what the recession-weary New York City fashion girl wants and needs right now—great clothes at a good price.”
TopShop's publicity director, Andrew Leahy, has acknowledged that the offering will be tweaked to cater for the NYC girl. He said "We know that in New York there are a lot of brands offering great basics,” he said. “So ours will be a little more fashion-heavy, more fashion specialties per square meter in a way. We don’t buy huge bulk of any one style, we don’t buy millions or even hundreds of thousands; we might buy 5,000 or we might buy 50.” This is reported to include new collections by top British designers Jonathan Saunders and Preen, alongside the successful Kate Moss collections. Sir Philip Green's US ambitions don't start and end with the Big Apple. In yesterday's Sunday Times' Style magazine, he lists Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston and San Francisco as possible locations for new branches.
Fashionista hopes very much that New Yorkers' love affair with our much loved brand was not dependant on its inaccessibility and therefore exclusivity. Let's hope the love affair continues and builds a broader fan base now that the Big Apple will have its very own TopShop on its doorstep.