HIGH HIG STREET – HOW MUCH? MUC

Grazia (UK) - - 10 Hot Stories - WOR DS L AUR A AN­TO­NIA JOR­DAN

I’M NOT ONE to boast, but I’ve just dis­cov­ered the per­fect coat. A swad­dling hug of a piece, it’s crafted from but­tery but­ter­scotch suede and a cloud of white shear­ling. It’s ro­bust yet re­fined, and the best bit is it’s from Gap, so a snip at… Oh. Errr, just over £700. Yep, you read that right.

This price tag might be sur­pris­ing, but it’s no od­dity or mis­take. Wel­come to the high ticket high street. Gap is by no means the only high street name prof­fer­ing spenny pieces right now. There’s Top­shop’s leather pants (£225), Rus­sell & Brom­ley’s em­bel­lished biker boots (£595) and Whis­tles’ Teddy sheep­skin coat, which comes in at a whop­ping £1,199.

So how can the high street jus­tify these ap­par­ently ex­or­bi­tant price tags? In short, the same way de­signer brands do: crafts­man­ship and ma­te­ri­als. Re­spon­si­bly sourced, those shear­lings, sheep­skins and leathers don’t come cheap. For its nubby tweed jack­ets, LK Ben­nett works with Lin­ton Tweeds, a sup­plier in Carlisle also used by Chanel and Burberry.

The high street might be the nat­u­ral habi­tat of the bar­gain-hun­gry, but these high-ticket pieces are res­onat­ing with cus­tomers right now. ‘ We’re see­ing a big lift in our oc­ca­sion dresses at this higher price point, with sales up by a quar­ter,’ ex­plains Huong Su, mer­chan­dis­ing di­rec­tor at LK Ben­nett. ‘Sales of our Charlee tweed jacket have al­most dou­bled in the past year alone.’ It’s a sim­i­lar suc­cess story at Fin­ery, where the Glass leather coat (£599) was a sell-out – and the Leila (far left, at £395) is set to fol­low in its foot­steps. ‘ We’re very proud of our leather and feel it bridges the gap be­tween high street and lux­ury (and the price tag that ac­com­pa­nies the lat­ter),’ says the brand’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, Emma Far­row. ‘ We’ve been re­ally pleased with cus­tomers’ re­ac­tions to our leather col­lec­tions. It’s def­i­nitely a key growth area for us.’ That suc­cess shouldn’t come as a sur­prise. In an age when the ‘ buy it, bin it’ men­tal­ity of fast fash­ion feels grossly out of step with the times, when we’re all striv­ing to con­sume more mind­fully, it fol­lows that the high­street cus­tomer might also want to in­vest in ‘for­ever pieces’. Typ­i­cally, when em­brac­ing a wince-wor­thy price tag, we like to be buf­feted by the re­as­sur­ing kudos of a de­signer la­bel. It takes a cer­tain self-as­sur­ance to spend that money on a high street name. Snobs would dis­miss the high ticket high street as the sartorial equiv­a­lent of buy­ing the best house on a bad street. And there is a point to be made: if you’re drop­ping a grand on a new item of cloth­ing, why not just buy de­signer? Well, sim­ply put, for the equiv­a­lent item you’d be look­ing at two, three, four thou­sand pounds more. In the age of £1,000 de­signer jeans and £500 T-shirts, a £700 coat might not be a bar­gain ex­actly – but it is a solid in­vest­ment.

Gap (gap. £ 704. co.uk) 95 3

ett Benn LK com) nett. lk­ben ( £475

ley Brom ll & Russe om­ley .co.uk) landbr rus­sel ( £595

Karen Millen ( karenm illen.com) £1,400

Top ( sho top sho p £ p. com 695 )

Whis­tles (whis­tles.com) £1,199

LK Ben ( lkbe nett nne £ tt. 1,60 com ) 0

Whi ( whis stles tles. £ com 1,19 ) 9

H&M ) com (hm. £199

Reiss (reiss. com) £750

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