In the midst of all the news of downturn, bankrupcy and a flat economy, there is a highly successful group of mid range design studios which are doing extraordinarily well. One of the very best is Aftershock London, whom I met on a recent visit to Pure London. Aftershock London designs wearable luxury at an affordable price, and this is a company to watch, in no small measure due to the energy, vision and sheer determination of its founder, Hiro Harjani.
After the madness that was London Fashion Week and all the other international shows in New York, Paris and Milan, I was reflecting on the entire British fashion scene and its place in the economy of this country and indeed on the world stage. Certainly over the past twelve months there have been a few winners but many loosers. Republic, la Senza, Gio Goi and many other smaller lesser known fashion labels have closed their businesses and doors.
Aftershock London started with a wish and a prayer on Petticoat Lane by the indominable Hiro and his wife who had arrived from India. Such was the lack of budget that Mrs Harjani traded her wedding ring to get the business going. Fast forward some 15 years and Aftershock sells in 13 countries, and this is in addition to the UK stores and 40 new stores planned worldwide for 2013 / 14. The prize in the crown came yesterday with the news via Drapers that Aftershock London is to open 120 stores in the next five years after signing a multi territory agreement deal with Saudi Arabian group Al Hokair Group.
For sure, Aftershock are in safe hands with the Al Hokair group. They already operate franchises in the area for retailers including Zara, Gap, Monsoon and Miss Selfridge. Al Hokair chief executive Simon Marshall said Aftershock had “the potential to become a leading player in the Middle East, North Africa, the US along with other markets globally”.
In today’s news of downturn and bankrupcy, this smart business, lean, canny and not top heavy with management, stands out as shining beacons of hope on a dark road at night, and it is important to acknowledge them as well as study their business model, as they embue and enhance that all too elusive “confidence factor”, a vital part of recovery in any economy. Given all the above, I have long thought that it is the moral duty of news producers and all fashion editorial magazines to cover successes as well as the sad news of companies going to the wall. We at MyFashionReview say fair play, well done and good luck.