Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Mmmm I'm so not Sienna Miller...

...or Kate Moss. You know the boho chick fash off thing that happened, well I didn't join in. I think while it was going on I was still spending my summers in neoprene in Cornwall. I was much more a surf chic and so some bikinis, tee shirts and a few jumpers was my lot. I'd use my towel as a skirt.

But I've always been drawn and of course over the years the look has become a mainstream de facto look for the summer. When I was asked to do a product review for boho clothing company Joe Browns it did pique my interest as I'd often received an unsolicited catalogue. However I am sort of caught in this blogging hole where I'm coming to the conclusion marketing peeps don't really read my blog or know my work.

To clarify I have worked for years and years in the fashion industry at Elle magazine, as a stylist and I have an MA from LCF. I've undertaken retail consultancy and worked for a number of year in marketing to earn a shed load of money to keep me in the handbags I wanted. I am always going to have an opinion and for good reason - the retail industry is in dire straits depending on what you are selling.

I struggled to select an item from Joe Browns as the web imagery isn't great and of course the clothes weren't really me. The Menswear is a far stronger offering and I wish I'd ordered from the men's shirt section! The versatile checked shirt delivers but I'm not sure the womenswear does. My first choice wasn't available in my size and I wasn't sure what to select next. Sharon Rose of My Style made the selection of the maxi dress I nearly opted for. I went for the Perfect Patchwork Kaftan to enter into the boho clothing spirt.

In short, it came, I tried it on, it is useful - I will wear it on holiday I'm sure but I immediately cut off the ties which were pointless. I also wished the design and colours were different but I was quite pleased the size 10 was too big (vanity!). But Sharon was absolutely right to call the Joe Browns peeps lovely, as they sent me a sample of their Sloe Joe Joggers in size 10. I'm always in search of a pair of these things that fit me because they never do. Well these babies fit PERFECTLY. They are a lovely cotton and just perfect for wearing to the gym or apres tennis when its cold.

What has happened is Joe Browns is stuck in a niche offering but boho has moved on and getting the design absolutely right even at the lower retail offering is key. Folks are cutting back and this means not buying, not buying cheaper. Retailers are going to have to revise, revise and revise to keep customers and grow.

If womenswear is the smaller side of the business then they need to simplify the offering and step away from their view of boho. I don't know who they consider their target audience but I know it isn't me. Except for their guys shirts and those sportswear joggers.


  1. Hi my dear-I think you got it right by saying their pieces are 'useful'. I will wear my maxi dress and playsuit, but choicewise it was very hard to choose-I was pleased to do a review, but I agree they have a target market which I don't think I'm part of.

  2. For some reason I've always been on the Joe Brown's mailing list. I've never considered them "boho" more surfer chick style. I do like some of the vibrant prints and aged-look but never been tempted to buy. That being said I like your choice, it's an ideal beach cover-up and would look gorgeous worn over flared jeans with loads of wooden beads. x

  3. Ha, Kate, you look well unimpressed in that first photo! They're not my style either...but then the whole boho thing was never really my bag. xx


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