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The Lucky Ones
We were among the lucky few (700 to be exact) chosen for a preview shopping night before the gates to Topshop opened today. Topshop Sydney has arrived and we asked our most pressing questions to Creative Director Kate Phelan.
Kate, the most important question for Topshop Sydney: will we receive the same stock as the rest of the world, or will it be a different mix?
Well, you’ve got everything that we have in London right now … The only thing we’ve held back on obviously are the winter coats and the very heavy knits and things. But we feel that it’s really important to give you the true representation of what we do … The heritage of Topshop has to go wherever the shops … We can’t dilute it for a different country. So you’ve absolutely got the best of everything that we have from the UK.
Oh good, that’s good to hear. And what about new drops, how often will new stock be coming into the store?
I mean amazingly (I don’t know how they do this), but they’re saying two times a week new things will be coming in. So that’s really in line with how we operate everywhere else in the world. If you don’t get it when it’s in it will be gone, and then something else comes along, so it’s like nothing hangs around for very long at all. It’s all very fast-paced.
And what about the designer collaborations, will they be coming over as well?
Yes! You’ve got the J.W. Anderson collaboration, which is one of my favourites. I think it’s because it really sort of hits the right spots … It’s got an element of something classic but it’s got the cool factor and that design etiquette in there as well.
So is there one thing you love above all else this season?
It’s the girl that wears Topshop that makes it look so great. It’s that interpretation. So it is really hard to isolate one piece and say that that’s the best thing that there is because it’s the combination of so much.
And finally, how different is your role now, to that of Fashion Director for UK Vogue?
Oh gosh, its sort of … Retail’s enormous, compared to a magazine that’s so niche and so refined … It’s a very, very different world, and it’s a rarefied world from a magazine. You go into retail and it’s huge, you know, the volume of product and the volume of everything is just so different from a magazine. It’s a business. It's business first and creativity second I’d say.
So are you enjoying it?
Yeah, I am. I mean I do have moments where I wake up in the morning and think ‘Oh my God, what the hell have I done?’ and then you know, there are days when it’s absolutely thrilling because it's so interesting, watching Topshop grow as rapidly as its growing, and it is such an exciting time to be a part of that. But the thing about Topshop is it’s such a successful brand, and it was successful before I joined it. So it’s interesting to be a part of something that’s already such a well-oiled machine.
Really, all I feel that I’m doing is tying it all together, and sort of giving it a bit more of a point of view, refining the product, really sort of pushing to improve the accessories. And making sure that the collaborations are the right collaborations for us … I mean, I feel really passionately that if we’re going to work with these young British designers that we really do give them the ability and the possibilities to grow, in an environment where its so difficult for these designers to get off the ground.
And do you think that there will be the potential there to start partnerships with our local designers too?
Well it’s interesting because we’ve sponsored the New Gen scheme in London for the last 10 years and we’ve just signed up to sponsor it again. And within that scheme there is sort of an international stable coming through, you know? We’ve got designers from Brazil, from China, so already that’s starting to feel quite international. I’ll never say never … I mean if the right person came along of course we would, but I think it would have to be someone that would translate to all of our stores across the world you know?