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

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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