There has been a lot of buzz recently about Marks & Spencer’s new direction, with the star studded advertising and new personnel. But the real question is, what’s happening with the fashion? The company’s style director Belinda Earl talks about the challenges of taking on one of Britain’s most beloved brands, and hopes that despite all the changes, the clothes will speak for themselves.
After years of criticism and failure to keep up with ‘younger’ brands, Earl’s past experience at British retailers Debenhams and Jaeger should prepare her for the challenge that is Marks & Spencer, especially as everyone has an opinion on the British brand that is so close to our nations hearts.
The Autumn/Winter collection has been divided up into five key trends, giving it a varied feel: The Arts (dark florals and embellished pieces) Modernist (strong shapes and vibrant colours), Down Town (a textural take with a Sixties vibe) Gentle Woman (pastels and soft fabrics) and Simple Luxe (simple timeless looks with a masculine twist).
Therefore covering almost everything that most high-street stores will offer this season, but will this be enough for the M&S woman? A tricky job considering the M&S woman can be defined as you, your mother AND your grandmother.
But, despite the new fashion direction Earl is keen to stress that the core loyal customers will not be forgotten.
“As well as styling the looks on the rail, we’ll also have easy-to-shop sections; that won’t change,” she said. “We know that she likes to go in and be able to find what she needs – coats, knitwear, whatever – and she’ll always be able to do that.”
Taking on such a broad market will always be a big challenge, but given the success of their new image in the media, hopefully M&S will have as much popularity where it really matters, back in the stores.