Monday, 9 August 2010

Harrods Responds...

(If you're looking for the Anna Scholz post I did this weekend, scroll down - or click HERE to get taken straight there! PS - there will be more later in the week!)

I wrote to Harrods last week after hearing about the changes they were making as regards Plus-Size clothes and the closing of that department at Harrods - I wrote:

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And they replied on Friday...

Dear Em. x.,


Thank you for your recent email regarding our Designer Plus department.


I would like to reassure you that Harrods will continue to stock four Plus size brands within our newly refurbished Dress Circle location. These brands have been specifically selected as they are the most popular brands that we sell. We believe that Marina Rinaldi, Basler, Elena Miro and MYBC offer a diverse range to our customers. The decision to relocate the current department was taken to raise the profile of our collections, and to relocate the very best of what we offer in a brand new surrounding.


The Dress Circle is a contemporary space that will showcase the product beautifully in newly created designer boutiques, offering a more luxurious experience to the customer. The collections will sit adjacent to the internationally recognised St John, which runs to a size twenty, and creates a stylish and comfortable space for our customers to shop in.


Please do not hesitate to contact me directly should you have any further queries.


Yours sincerely


HARRODS




Feels like a press release, huh?


So, effectively - the response is that while they ARE getting rid of the plus-size department and reducing the number of lines - they are keeping four popular brands and creating special designer boutiques... I wonder if the words "Plus-size" will be associated with those brands, or labeled anywhere in the store. No doubt Harrods will argue they are creating a designer experience - something wonderful and exclusive for their customers... and I can see that happening, to a degree... BUT - the things is, there will be a reduction in high-end brands being sold and offered to plus-size women. There will be the removal of the "plus-size" department and signage within the store and let's face it, probably just brands being sold... and it is doubtful those brands will be blazened with the words "Plus-size".


If I am honest about my thoughts, I doubt this is about creating a better customer experience - and more about the store's image. Both the image of being exclusive and designer based, but also catering to a particular type of customer - not someone easily identifiable as plus.


If true, that is so disappointing... after all, during this last year there have been strides made for curvy girls and plus-size fashion. We have featured in Vogue, Elle, Glamour and V. Crystal Renn has worn Chanel, not to mention her and Tara Lynn posing naked!


It will be interesting to see if in five years, or maybe even two - those four brands have not done that well - resulting in a "profit line" excuse for their complete disappearing act at Harrods. I'll visit the new sections when I can in the next few months. I'll let you know how it feels, what it looks like and how obvious it is, if at all, that these are brands for curvier/fatter/plus-size girls and women. Here's hoping I come back sheepish and telling you it's amazing.


x.




6 comments:

  1. My mom and I have both written to Harrods on Saturday. I'll let you know if we get the same reply.

    At least I am happy for my mom because those are the brands that she loves the most. I think I saw part of that area already in July. It's on the same floor but to be honest the clothes were really well-displayed and it felt more like all the other lines than stepping into a specific plus size area. That's why I shocked when I read they'd get rid of it. I didn't get why they'd create such a department only to remove it a few weeks later. It already had the Fall/Winter collections too.

    Anyway I don't get why their buyers aren't a little more aware of younger brands. I mean they could easily carry Monif C, Baby Phat (after all they carry Juicy Couture - can't say it's classier!), Carmakoma, Kyonna, etc There are so many new plus size designers. This is killing me.

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  2. It is annoying that we are not catered for. In most shops the "plus size" range is hidden in a corner at the back of the shop or in the menswear dept or anywhere far away from the size 8's! On Saturday I was in New Look in the Bullring, Birmingham and their Inspire range was nowhere to be seen. When asked about it a member of staff said that there was no call for it in that branch (the biggest branch in B'ham!!!) so I had to go to the other branch in Corporation Street! The line has been moved from the ground floor to the 1st floor with the menswear and the shoes and it consists of about 4 rails of truly awful clothes!!

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  3. I agree - I don't understand the need to REDUCE lines. With such a new surge in great brands and designers (particularly aimed at younger markets), it would be amazing to see Harrods embrace things. I mean, if Carmakoma or Monif C were sold in there - think of how many younger women would start to be loyal to Harrods. Neither of them are cheap brands, but instead affordable to women with okay cashflow - and then also affordable to women without an okay cashflow - as one-off pieces and treats. It feels backwards to reduce the range. The plus-size department, while squirrelled away in a back corner, was, at least - a DECENT high-end plus size section.

    I have written back and asked if the actual words plus-size will be displayed and also the actual sizes those clothes go up to. We will see. Harrods IS a beautiful store, and no doubt the "designer plus" section will look gorgeous, I just feel disappointed that this section has been reduced.

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  4. I am pretty sure that Elena Miro and Rinaldi go up to a 26/28. Basler stops at a EURO 52 but it tends to run small especially in the tops. Don't know the other brand.

    Exactly. The brands I have mentionned are definitely more expensive than in the high street BUT still affordable when not on sale.

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  5. I'm really saddened by this decision to scale down. There isn't really anything more I can add, you've all summed up how I feel!

    That said I would really like to check it out once it opens - although I'm guessing there won't be a big opening launch - so perhaps it could be a little meet up? :)

    Lauren xx
    pocketrocketfashion.com

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  6. Am reading this in Sydney...after David Jones introduced their first plus sized mannequin.

    I do hope our stores do not follow this...I read that Selfridges stopped their plus size range last year I think it was...did they go through with it?

    I love Marina Rinaldi and Basler ..but get mine on Ebay...no way I can pay Australian prices for these clothes.

    I think I will be encouraging more women to design and make their own clothing the way I still do at times. At least that way one is assured of silk and linen etc being used.

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Hi there! Thank you for leaving your post. Due to some blatantly obvious spammers I have had to turned comment moderation back on with word captcha for older posts. Hopefully the spammers will bugger off and I can take some of the settings back to normal quickly! Thank you and smooches! Em. x