Jane Shepherdson on the Kate Middleton effect

Whistles CEO on those printed dresses

If you shop on the High Street, then chances are you’re a fan of Jane Shepherdson. She headed up Topshop’s buying team for an incredibly successful period in the 2000’s – eventually leaving the brand in 2006.

Since 2008 she’s kept busy turning around the fortunes of Whistles, who, at the time were in need of her magic touch – and which has subsequently developed the hip, boutique-feel that we all want to buy into today. And the sales figures – 22% up in the current climate – to prove it.

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She spoke to the Business of Fashion blog, about her double retail success stories and being one of Kate Middleton’s select few favourite labels.

‘She wore a blouse [in the royal engagement photos] which was actually from a few seasons ago, which we weren’t running. So in that instance, it raised profile certainly, but it didn’t do anything for sales.’

However, when the Duchess does wear something current season the effect is noticeable; ‘the biggest impact has been on a dress she wore at the [Olympic Closing] Ceremony. It’s a style that’s been very successful for us anyway — a printed silk dress. That weekend, we sold out of it. Well, of what we had.’

Although unfortunately, it’s not the question of megabucks that some people assume; ‘The thing is that we don’t do huge runs of anything. We might have sold out of it, but there might only have been 150 units.’

Oh well. At least lovely Kate won’t be faced with umpteen well wishers all modelling the same dress. Less is more at Whistles.

See Kate Middleton's style file here

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