February 2012

Wondering where and when you can get your hands on unique pieces from the best emerging British talent of 2012? Well look no further.
Wolf and Badger are extending their Ledbury Road boutique to Dover Street next month with shop number two.

I caught up with owners Henry and George to find out what's up their sleeves for SS12 and got a sneak peek of their top 5 pieces for the coming season.

Can you tell me about the kind of designers you champion?

For us independent means not owned by another company or selling to dozens and dozens of stockists. Some of whom might be straight out of college following an MA, others might be showing at fashion week, but in any case they're generally early on in their career, maybe within their first three of four seasons, and about to make it big.
They're mostly British, although we do work with about 20% of brands that are from the rest of the world. We carry menswear, womenswear, jewellery, some product design and accessories.

And how does your relationship with the designers work?

They pay us a monthly retainer for which in return we provide an allocated space in the boutique from which we retail on their behalf in a staffed shop. In return they get 90% of anything that they sell, so unlike the normal store, they can try different pieces and retain the bulk of the sales revenue.
Moreover, we consult with the brands, advise them with pricing and other business, or indeed creative advice that they may require. We work a lot towards promoting them, through stylists, press and department stores who come seeking something different and new. In essence, we're a retail and consultancy business.

What was the idea behind your new store on Dover Street?

First and foremost, we are taking the best emerging independent brands that we have discovered over the last few years in fashion and taking it over to a new market in Mayfair. We are supplementing those a little with some slightly more established but still very niche exciting upcoming brands, predominantly London Fashion Week and NEWGEN type labels. And really it's going to be an exciting shopping destination where customers can find something new, something unique and something unusual that is the next big thing in fashion.

How do you go about sourcing the designers?

We have a great word of mouth reputation; we get a lot of designers who share studios with other designers or know them from their schools and then recommend us. We also get approached via our online application form to "stock here". From that we pick the best applicants and meet with them to see whether or not it will work for us.
We also go out to the shows and seek out new designers. Not really the main, big shows; we're likelier to be found at Fashion Scout in Freemasons than we are in the main tent at Somerset house. We like to seek out the ones that are new to the radar. Those are particularly the brands that we're working with in the new store, complimenting the best of the designers that we've been working with for the last few years. It's very exciting!

What you're doing is pretty unique, I don't think there's really anyone else who provides a platform like this for young designers?

In particular, we look to offer a high level of support, advice and infrastructure for designers to help ensure that these brands don't just fizzle out after one season. We want to build on what the designer has been doing and take them to the next level. That's really important to us, to grow with the brands we have been working with since we started. That was always vital to the idea behind our new store on Dover Street.
Henry & George's Picks for SS12:

This first piece is by Georgia Hardinge, who is a British Designer. We love this dress, it is very flattering. It is printed by placing the print on the roll, rather than buying the print as something that's already made, so it is a bit more expensive, but certainly worth investing in.

Next to it we have another dress, a kind of degré de dip-dye effect, by J. JS Lee, who's a british NEWGEN designer. We love the orange hues of this, it's going to be a big colour coming this Spring.”

Then we have some MC Hammer type, 80s parachute pants by Jean Pierre Braganza. He does a lot with print, but we bought a lot of these fantastic monochromatic pieces from him too.

The one beside is a great Gatsby style, 1920s jacket in a loose fit, made from beautiful Italian linen. Made by Baartmans and Siegel, another British Brand, who got bought by Harrods straight out of their graduate collection.

This last piece is by Lou Dalton, who's also NEWGEN, becoming very successful, with a lot of international stockists. This is a functional piece, but what's interesting about her is that she makes pieces that are functional and easy to wear, but has a very unique design aesthetic. We think it's fantastic, this is probably one of our favourite bits.”

Visit the new Wolf and Badger boutique at 32 Dover Street, London W1