Friday, 25 November 2011

News From Topshop HQ

Ashish for Topshop Ski-wear

If I am honest, despite my other adrenalin-filled endeavors , the mere thought of setting ski on piste makes me feel a little bit off- colour. My one attempt at becoming the new Kate Middleton/Kate Moss on the slopes of Italy ended up in severe humiliation... and almost a very gruesome death. Not only did I end up lodged in one of those bright orange warning fences, having to removed by some foxy Italians,  I also found myself dangling over a mountain edge on the strength of a piece of string when my ski pass decided to wrap itself round the ski lift when I attempted disembark. The final straw was managing to get sun stroke and being made to attempt a red run when I could barely see and  yet to fully master the art of stopping....
That said, my abandonment of the slopes should not stop me from enjoying Ashishs' wonderful ski collection.... After-all, I have previously enjoyed Equestrian chic without mounting a horse!
Affectionately known by fashionistas as the ‘King of Sequins’, Ashish Gupta and the high street brand first crossed paths in 2004 when he won New Generation sponsorship.His collections excuberantly mix sportswear and high octane glamour, often using bright colours, sequins and prints. Ashish made  a welcome return to Topshop on November 10th, this time bringing his sense of fun to the slopes with a capsule collection of ski and snowboarding clothes and accessories. Inspired by technical skiwear, mixed with Ashish’s trademark comic twist, the range is both stylish and functional.
A leopard print ski jacket, with matching sweatshirt and salopettes will ensure you cut a dash in the snow whilst offering you full protection from the elements. Made from wind/waterproof fabric and with a cosy fleece interior, they offer warmth and comfort, and zipped interior pockets will keep all your essential skiing equipment safe. A waterproof rucksack and bumbag in the same leopard print can be mix-matched or worn together for the ultimate unique and playful ski suit.
Ashish comments: ‘I love leopard print, and I thought it would be really fun to do matchy matchy leopard print ski pants and puffer jackets and backpacks. I wanted it to be fun but also functional.’
As fun as it always looks I am yet to successfully pull off an animal print, so I'm doubting a full top and button combo will do me any favours, but I am completely in love with the other offerings. The selection of over-sized tees and sweatshirts with tongue-in-cheek slogans referencing snow-sports such as ‘Piste Off’ or ‘Snow bored’ are ridiculously cute.

‘Topshop Says Donate’ with Limited Edition Bracelets
Christmas is the time for giving, but if you are able to gain a lovely bit of fashion in the process then that can only be a wonderful thing. This November Topshop launches its new charity initiative ‘Topshop Says Donate’. Working with the Centrepoint charity, Topshop will be offering customers the chance to buy a limited edition bracelet and make a donation direct to the charity that helps support some of the UK’s 80,000 homeless young people.
The bracelets feature three different charms: a wishbone (my personal favourite) , a semi precious heart and a squirrel; and cost £2. For every bracelet sold Topshop will donate £1 direct to Centrepoint, a charity dedicated to helping the young people who have no permanent home in the North-East and London. Their work is about more than just providing a safe bed for the night, offering essential life skills via education and training.
Seyi Obakin, Chief Executive of Centrepoint, commented:  “Thousands of young people face homelessness every day in the UK, with many sleeping on the streets, living on a friends' sofa or in temporary bed and breakfast facilities. But by buying a charm bracelet Topshop customers can help change that this Christmas.”

‘Topshop Says Donate’ is Topshop’s charity initiative supporting a variety of projects that resonate with the customer. Centrepoint is the latest charitable trust to join the initiative and is in the company of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Age UK and Teenage Cancer Trust.

Arcadia suffer a setback
On Wednesday I gave into the temptation and dropped by Oxford Street Topshop while on route to yet another press day. After a very naughty splurge on some Carvela wedge boots I have been eying up for months ( they were reduced by £90, I had to really didn't I?), I attempted to escape before my bank balance took a further bashing. However, I was stopped in my tracks when I saw the Billionnaire clothing tycoon Sir Philip Green talking to a camera crew in the shoe department. I tried to take a sneaky picture on my phone but the Topshop staff were on their A-game and promptly informed me that no pictures were allowed. I wondered what important matter Sir Philip could be wanting to get out to the masses.... the next morning all became clear!
Green's Arcadia group - who own Topshop, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Selfridges and Burton - are to slim down their operation as shop leases come up for renewal (We have got 450 or 460 stores where leases expire in the next three years), planning to close up to 260 stores in the UK - despite making profits of £133million. He blamed the mild winter weather for a 38 per cent fall in Arcadia's profits, now down to £133million. Green said he had not passed losses on to cash-strapped customers and had taken a £53million hit to absorb rising costs - well he has got money to spare with an estimated fortune of £4.2 billion! Reasons behind he reduction in profits is up for debate. Some have suggested it could be down to the  extremely mild October and November, meaning that sales of winter goods have been slower than expected. Others put it down to the fact that people are curbing their spending due to the fact that they are more financially aware than ever before.
The Arcadia group are one of the biggest private employers in Britain - with more than 44,000 staff in their 2500 UK stores. Total sales at their 3100 outlets worldwide were down by 3.4 per cent and sales fell by 4.4 per cent from the start of the new financial year.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG Index, said: "Arcadia reminds everyone that the British consumer is still generally AWOL, with no likelihood of a quick return."


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