US digs UK high street fashion cool

British retailers are beating the economic blues in America. Kate Youde and Rachel Shields report

It has snapped up everything from the Beatles to the Duchess of York. Now the US is rushing to welcome another British export: high street fashion.

The retailer All Saints took more than $1m (£680,000) last week after opening a flagship shop on New York's Broadway, while the preppy British label Jack Wills and UK street-wear favourite Superdry are all proving hits across the Atlantic, striking a chord with fashion-hungry Americans tired of "homogenised" home-grown brands.

While many UK retailers are licking wounds inflicted by the economic downturn, a band of resilient brands are cashing in in the US.

"The main reason they are doing so well is because they are quite different to anything else trading over there," said Jess Brown, editor of Drapers magazine. "Retailers like All Saints and Jack Wills behave more like brands; they don't slavishly follow catwalk trends like high street shops such as New Look and Topshop." All Saints now plans to roll out 30 to 50 shops across the US in the next five years, while "university outfitters" Jack Wills, which offers public school-style casual wear, is preparing to launch a third US store in Boston in July. The retailer has opened shops in the past six weeks in upmarket Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, popular Massachusetts summer haunts of well-heeled Americans, and is forecasting a full year turnover of £65m for 2010.

Eric Musgrave, director general of the UK Fashion & Textile Association, said: "Jack Wills is viewed by many people as a British take on Abercrombie & Fitch. It will be very interesting to see how Jack Wills does in the home of the look it is channelling," he added.

Superdry, a streetwear brand worn by David Beckham, which blends US vintage style with Japanese design, launched on Broadway in November. Total group sales of its owner, SuperGroup, were up by 83 per cent, to £139m, in the 52 weeks to 2 May, with wholesale sales up 98 per cent to £54m. Further store openings are planned for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami this year, with eight more US stores planned for 2011.

"Being British is cool to Americans, especially those who are style-conscious," said Kevin Fegans, spokesman for the online fashion retailer Asos. Asos already ships to the US but is launching a standalone American site in the autumn. Its head, Nick Robertson, said users would benefit from pricing in dollars and the use of American vocabulary, such as "sweaters" instead of "jumpers".

The US, the number one consumer market in the world according to Mr Musgrave, has attracted British companies for many years. However, the country is difficult to crack due to its size, competitiveness and multiple markets, along with logistical difficulties in managing operations thousands of miles away. Marks & Spencer tried to turn around the US clothing store Brooks Brothers in 1988 but sold it at a loss in 2001.

British successes include the high street chain Reiss, which opened nine stores in the US between 2005 and 2008. Topshop has also welcomed 30,000 shoppers every week to its Broadway store since opening last year.

US retailers are, of course, also still testing the British market. UK shoppers were able to buy J Crew, popular with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, for the first time last month through the website Net-a-Porter.

News
University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
newsFrom a former custard factory to a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Retail Business Analyst

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Ecommerce/Retail/E...

    Project Coordinator

    Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

    Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

    £350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

    Embedded Linux Engineer

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz