As the workplace beckons for thousands of office workers this month, there’s a palpable ‘back to school’ mentality in the air. Yes, September usually brings the desire for a fresh start – but this time around, it’s not just for the kids. According to a recent poll, more than half of London’s office workforce is expected to return to their desks for at least three days a week from this month. This level is expected to be echoed around the country as the nation continues to edge ever closer to the new normality. And it is believed that this hybrid working model (part workplace and part at home) is very much here to stay.
A transition back to the office then calls for a new uniform – and another opportunity for boutiques to shine. But, after spending so much time wearing elasticated waists while working from the kitchen table, what do people want to wear to work in the post-pandemic world? Fashion insiders think it will be a combination of hyper-smart and relaxed pieces that nod to the new hybrid working approach. So, if you’re looking for inspiration to revive your store’s workwear edit (or are looking to add one), we’ve got some great pieces lined up over on page 27.
Of course, with so much uncertainty around when forward orders were penned last year, AW21 was a tricky season for buyers to prepare for. Many indies bought minimal stock and are already finding that it’s not enough. Luckily, many brands are offering more in-season pieces than usual as we navigate this next part of the country’s unlocking. So, for those of you who need a quick refresh, we’ve hunted down some great short order womenswear and accessories ranges to update your rails starting on page 34.
Meanwhile, as we look forward to economic recovery and brighter days ahead, SS22 is set to be an important period for fashion retailers. And if you’re planning on introducing some new collections to your store, Scandinavian designers are an ever-popular choice for UK indies. We uncover some of the region’s most promising brands over on page 42. Likewise, sustainability and ethical fashion brands have really come into the fore since the start of the pandemic. But is just stocking greener fashion brands enough for boutiques that want to operate more responsibly? Haysmacintyre’s Natasha Frangos reveals how taking small steps across the business will lead to positive changes in the long-term, over on page 57.
The future remains unclear, but one thing is certain: retailers must stay relevant to survive. And as we embark on this fresh September start, we hope this issue inspires you to do so with excitement and optimism.
The September 2021 issue of Boutique magazine is out now; read the digital edition here.