With big name designers strutting down the catwalk in London, Milan, New York, and Paris, where does Norwich fit in? Norwich Fashion Week is getting bigger and more varied each year. What makes Norwich fashion different from every other high street in the UK? How about looking at some quirky independent retailers to bring the fashionistas into Norfolk?
Like absolutely everything, it would seem fashion is in constant motion; bringing retro back, or thrusting us into the future. The domination of the high street retailers often dictates the same trends in each UK city. Too much sameness! Now, I’m not saying this is entirely bad, if everyone is looking similarly good, but isn’t fashion all about a bit of variation? A bit of originality and creativity?
Norwich is no stranger to the high street retailers: Debenhams, M&S, Topshop, Topman, H&M, Primark, and Next, along with its very own Jarrolds. High street fashion is lovely, but samey and repetitive.
Though, behind the shopping malls and high streets are the Norwich Lanes; the heart of Norwich fashion (in my opinion). The Norwich Lanes sit behind the massive retailers on picturesque, cobbled, winding streets.
The diversity in fashion down the Norwich Lanes is so massive you can go from skate styles to hippy knits to dapper threads down just one lane! There is also a great intent on locally sourced fashion. I spoke to Roberta, founder of Ethika, who pointed out the value that comes from locally sourced fashion, and the good that comes from promoting designers from the surrounding area. With an esteemed arts university in the city, NUCA, Norwich is bursting with creativity that is unfurling onto the fashion scene here.
Another aspect down the Norwich Lanes are the quirky shop fronts. What more can persuade you to go into a shop with windows like these?
The Lanes shop fronts look better than any high street retailer that I have ever seen. If this is what they can do with shop windows, imagine what they can do with your wardrobe. With the high streets throwing out discounts in these times of economic difficulty, independent fashion retailers like those down the Norwich Lanes need all the wow factor they can get to bring in the customers. I spoke to a girl in Imelda’s – the prettiest shoe shop you will ever see – who said that people will continue to come down the Lanes for their fashion because it is so eye catching and people appreciate that attention to detail. Even the inside of Imelda’s is like a shop from Alice in Wonderland. Amazing.
No doubt, the high street fashions are full of beautiful, lovely things, but why not be a little bit more adventurous and seek fashion tips and bits through the independent retailers near you. I’m sure the Norwich Lanes will provide some original, trendsetting threads for you to flaunt. As well as basking in their scenic settings.