Alongside exclusive high fashion, shoes, handbags and accessories are an important driver of the luxury industry. FashionUnited spoke with Hollie Harding, womenswear non-apparel buying manager at Browns about what role the segment plays for the British luxury department store. In the interview Harding talked about the most popular product categories, the success of fine jewellery and the upcoming trends for SS23.
You have been working as a non-apparel buyer at Browns for almost six years, why did you decide to take this path?
My career started as a buyer in menswear, however I was always keen to move over to work in the womenswear sphere. I was particularly interested in working at Browns as it had been a store that I'd admired for years. When I joined Browns, after it had recently been acquired by Farfetch and it had begun to leverage its tech expertise, it had launched a new website and app. It was a really opportune time to join such an iconic business, at the start of its new digital journey.
How has the womenswear non-apparel buying evolved over the past few seasons – in general and also at Browns?
Browns has evolved so much since I joined the company and I am so lucky to be a part of this journey. The boutique has always been a go-to for new luxury talent, and although we have grown digitally, we have always stayed true to our roots as an incubator for young designers, supporting them in their growth and watching them evolve into established brands.
Fine jewellery has also evolved. Browns was the first multi-brand boutique to stock fine jewellery so it was incredibly important for us to remain a leader in this world. Over the years we have launched some incredible talent, such as Foundrae, Marla Aaron, Lizzie Mandler and Lauren Rubinski.
Which designers should we keep an eye on?
Looking at our non-apparel edit, a few names to note include Amina Muaddi, Wandler and Ruslan Baginskiy.
Browns has redefined its fine jewellery offering over the last few years. What has changed since you came on board?
When looking to redefine our fine jewellery offering at Browns, we wanted to go back to the beginning, and highlight what Browns is known for; our luxury curation and emerging talent. We added some industry leaders such as Repossi and Suzanne Kalan, as well as focused on growing cult talent like Anita Ko and Foundrae, who are now pillar brands for us. We’ve also added new exciting designers like Marla Aaron and Eéra. Additionally, we’ve expanded our offering of men’s fine jewellery, a department that is ever-growing, expanding selections across our favourites; Lauren Rubinski, Spinelli and Lizzie Mandler. We’re also adding exciting new talents Bleue Burnham, A Sinner in Pearls and Hatton Labs.
Which product categories are the most important in Browns’ non-apparel assortment?
Browns shoppers are always looking to invest in non-apparel, from shoes, to bags, accessories and jewellery, whether it be a luxury super-brand bag, or tapping into a current shoe trend like a mega-platform from House of Honey or Nodaleto. At Browns, we’re so lucky to be able to curate an edit of heritage designer brands, whilst also supporting new talent.
What kind of styles have worked well this year?
Party was definitely back for 2022 and there was definitely a “more is more” attitude across all our non-apparel categories. We saw platforms from Haus of Honey, Versace and Valentino, alongside bright satins and crystals from Mach & Mach, plus pink and blue sapphires, emeralds and yellow diamonds on fine jewellery.
What are the trends to look out for in SS23?
For SS23, ‘party’ continues to be a prominent trend, with bold colours and fabrications, feathers and crystals galore. Looking to fine jewellery, colour and size are key here. We have some beautiful rainbow pieces from Suzannne Kalan, exclusive Sapphires from Spinelli, plus we are launching Stephen Webster, who plays with colour in the most lustful way, with his double stone cult engagement rings.
This interview was conducted in writing.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit by: Lara Grobosch.