With brands such as Zara and H&M snapping at its heels, Topshop has had to work hard to remain at the forefront of British fashion lovers’ hearts and minds. Their strategy of competitive pricing, huge turnover of key trends and a sprinkling of luxury items is one that has been adopted all over the High Street. Even their penchant for designer collaboration has been relentlessly imitated. But Topshop still has an ace up its embellished sleeve.
Topshop has made some unprecedented moves in the past few years to bridge the gap between the big name fashion houses and their High Street brand. No longer content with simply imitating the looks shown on the catwalk, Topshop now has its own spot at London Fashion Week. This September, the Topshop Space in Bedford Square was the most hyped venue of them all. I was there with the swarm of bloggers and paparazzi snapping furiously away as fashion stars such as Olivia Palermo and Anna Della Russo sauntered through the closely guarded gates. Not only was the great, white circus tent showcasing Topshops own high fashion brand Unique, they played host to a cohort of young and super-talented designers. Louise Gray, Michael van der Ham, Mary Katrantozou, Meadham Kirchhoff and Peter Pilotto all dazzled the fashion world’s great and good.
By nurturing developing talent Topshop is giving back to the industry it relies on, all the while ensuring that their shops will always be full of collaborations with the latest bright young things.
“It’s rare to find a brand that can simultaneously keep fourteen year old girls in neon short shorts and have high flying fashionistas coo over their latest collections.”
This unique symbiotic relationship has produced an interesting hybrid of a brand that can cater to all breeds of fashion lovers. It’s rare to find a brand that can simultaneously keep fourteen year old girls in neon short shorts and have high flying fashionistas coo over their latest collections. Even though H&M snags some big names for its collaborative work, it’s pretty much impossible for the average person to get their hands on it without ninja queing skills and a platinum credit card. Not so with Topshop, as evidenced by their latest mutual effort with Jordan Askill.
Sculpture and jewelry designer Askill hails from Sydney, Australia, where he was awarded the 1st Prize Grand Marnier Design Award for Fashion Excellence. He made the move from Down Under to cut his teeth working for Dior Homme in Paris, before launching his own original jewelry collection. Now Topshop has snagged him to produce a dazzling array of shiny things to take pride of place on every girls Christmas wish list. The capsule collection includes delicate rings, some hefty cuffs adorned with majestic panther heads and an intricate charm bracelet. Askill named his inspirations for the collection as ancient Egypt, endangered species, and ‘sentimentality’. It’s quite an eclectic mix, to say the least.
However, there’s a twist in the tail that brings all those influences together. The panther heads feature a unique take on the traditional charm bracelet model; they hold in their mouths detachable trinkets that can be kept to adorn their original piece, or, as the designer himself suggests, given away to someone who matters to you. They’re a sexy, sophisticated take on a friendship bracelet or locket and will make a perfect gift that keeps on giving, so snap them up whilst you can. Let’s just hope that Topshop keeps evolving and continues to pick smart collaborations like this one.