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Carola Long: Time to fill a gap in the US market

Topshop's launch of a US website last September caused a frenzy of excitement. So an actual shop, with all the trappings of the fast-fashion experience, is, for the unpolitical, like the coming of Obama.

There is a gap in the US market for cool, mid-market fashion. Gap, Banana Republic and J.Crew provide chic, preppie basics like jeans and trenches, but it's hard to find more trend-led, experimental pieces at reasonable prices. In New York, little boutiques in Greenwich Village or the Lower East Side cater to cooler tastes, but are too expensive for the average consumer to shop at with the regularity that trends change. At the bottom of the market, Target or Forever 21 are cheap – and look it.

The Brits gripe about Topshop – it's too expensive, or the quality has declined – but we take it for granted. Grateful Americans are likely to overlook its flaws, and the even higher prices.