Browns, the fashion boutique founded by Joan Burstein and husband Sidney in 1970, has a stellar history of catering to the whims of London’s most stylish, introducing the likes of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen to the capital’s shoppers.
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Now Browns is entering a new era. Its new CEO, Holli Rogers, has been working her magic for just over a year now, developing a tightly edited stock that boasts over 70 new labels, beginning to redesign Browns’ famously warren-like shops, and creating some shiny new packaging, too, designed in collaboration with former Vogue creative director Robin Derrick.
It’s all part of her strategy to bring the 47 year-old brand stable to the forefront for the next generation of designer fashion addicts – making shopping a fun experience that you might want to share with your friends on Instagram, but without compromising on the traditional boutique-style service that has made Browns a revered name.
‘Browns has incredible heritage and DNA,’ explains Texan-born Rogers. ‘Maximising that as we re-establish ourselves as the coolest boutique in the world is incredibly important. We wanted to do something that was very striking, but also recognisable, demonstrating continuity with the past, but also very clearly how we are evolving.’
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As such, the brand’s new website is packed full of innovative editorial features and mini-edits, aiming to harmonise the best bits of the boutique shopping experience (personal service, artsy environments) with the speed and convenience of e-tail.
The evolution of the retailer’s ingrained logo was, inevitably, one of the most sensitive parts of the process. ‘We looked through archive material such as the original Browns magazine, which had a lot of playfulness to it,’ Rogers tells us. ‘This sense of fun has been a critical element in our approach to everything. As a result, Robin and his team used the original logo as a starting point, refined the typography and applied a “cut” resulting in a very different, bluntly cut design.’
Rogers is definitely doing something right. She has seen triple-digit growth in her first year at the helm and has made big infrastructure changes, like the relocation of the retailer’s distribution centre, as well as the creative-led developments.
With all this change, however, the former head of buying at Net-A-Porter hasn’t taken her eye off what matters most; the product a.k.a the stuff you’ll want to save up for. ‘Browns has always offered a fantastic edit and curation, so one of my key priorities has been ensuring that remains second to none,’ she explains, citing Sandy Liang, Saks Pots and Ganni as some of the 70 new designers that she’s taken on so far.
‘We are now able to offer a broader selection of brands and have also made a point of ensuring that we have more accessible price points within our offering. The future of fashion retail, I believe, is the seamless combination of the magic of the boutique experience, with the range and convenience of online shopping.’
Here are 5 of the best things to buy at Browns right now…
Vetements boots, £740, Browns
Jacquemus coat, £530, Browns
J.W. Anderson Pierce shoulder bag , £1,965, Browns
Blaze jacket, £840, Browns
Ganni sweatshirt, £180, Browns
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