Monday, 27 June 2011

Oh The Jane Norman Fan Club Will Be Devastated!



I bet you didn't know that Women's fashion chain Jane Norman has a fan club? Seriously, look here!
So all 538 fans must be weeping into their strappy lycra tops with the news that the fashion retailer has fallen into administration today (27.6.11) with up to 1,600 jobs at risk.

Founded in 1952 in London, Jane Norman has over 171 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland, as well as franchises and concessions across the Middle East and Europe. Their style ethos is "sexy and affordable adaptations of catwalk trends which come to life for young fashion-conscious women". Mainly women in the 16-25 age bracket who either inhale food, or eat threw a straw. Basically if you have a bust that can cause eye damage, you shouldn't be shopping there. Or hips that don't lie. And that's despite their size policy which says it fits women from 6-14 and even 16 in some stores. Ahem, that's if you can find the bigger sizes.

I'm just going to be honest and say I can spot a Jane Norman item a mile off, and not in a good way. Overpriced clothes, poor quality and a constant repetition of styles year after year, just in different colours or fabrics might be a reason for their decline in sales. Especially when Primark and New Look across the high street are offering a similar product, but at much more affordable prices and with a quicker turnover of seasonal trends. But similarly, their items all fall apart as quickly as one another (3 washes will usually do it).
I can say out loud and proud that I've never bought anything from a Jane Norman branch and never wanted to. It's one of those shops that give me blinkers on a Saturday shopping-fest and the window-dressing seems targeted towards girls who frequent clubs in Essex and like having their nails painted and bejewelled. And on Sunday's they like to throw a belt around a fitted beige cardigan and tangerine vest. With their FUGG boots (and that includes Summer).

I think they were going for a full-on boutique feel with their styling concept and store design, and a more "up-market" customer, hence the many special occasion pieces and clubby/bar-hopping type dresses which to be fair you do see in Hampstead most Saturday nights, along with lots of big hair and high heels.
But even the Hampstead massive couldn't save it in the end, as stores closed on Saturday with rumours that department store Debenhams and knitwear firm Edinburgh Woollen Mill are lined up as potential bidders.

If it is re-launched under another fashion umbrella, perhaps they should re-name it... Jane Normal.

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