For a year I have been banging the same drum: that we have to stop buying cheap throwaway high street clothes and invest in fewer, more expensive pieces. And I have been saying Jaeger Jaeger Jaeger (and Cos). In the past week I've seen pictures of Sarah Brown, the wife of our prime minister, and Anne Enright, winner of the Booker this year, in this season's Jaeger jacket with shoulder detail.
Now here is the Times with more of the same:
The sector of the fashion high street once unflatteringly called middle market has lost its flabby lack of focus and identity, and been given a fierce shot of retail Botox. It’s been upgraded and rebranded as something called Affordable Luxury or Masstige (that’s prestige for the masses; desirable things for everyone, not just the rich), and it’s meant to appeal to women, rather than girls, who appreciate youthful but don’t do teenage. Belinda Earl, Jaeger’s top woman, who has transformed the label into a fashion must-have and recently kicked off London Fashion Week with Jaeger’s first international catwalk show, is one of the movement’s forerunners.
“Today’s consumer is very discerning,” Earl explains. “Because of the huge amount of fashion information available through the internet, weekly glossies and TV, she’s aware of trends but wants them interpreted in a way that flatters her shape and is right for her lifestyle.” The ailing Jaeger label, bought by Harold Tillman in 2002, has been completely revitalised by Earl, who was wooed from Debenhams (where she negotiated the Designers at Debenhams ranges). “Our customer shops with her hands and wants quality fabrics that feel good to touch and against her skin.” Items such as the cashmere poncho and printed silk shirt have rapidly become contemporary classics at Jaeger. Since Earl joined, the number of stores has risen from 89 to 120. As a company, it has gone from losing £3 million a year to last year’s profit of £70.6 million. “When I arrived at Jaeger, I did lots of research and focus groups with our customers. They told me, ‘You must do this. There is nothing for us out there.’”