Devon in fashion: eight of the county’s favourite independent boutiques and talented designers
PUBLISHED: 13:57 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:57 24 March 2015
Devon may not be competing with Milan or London, but the charming county features many hidden gems in the form of independent boutiques and talented designers. Devon designers and boutiques exude concern for the environment through various ethical practices and materials, whilst remaining involved in fashion, as Camilla Ellacott discovers.
Claudia Meller produces exquisitely patterned scarves, created in the heart of the Devon countryside. All of her products are produced in the UK from start to finish, reducing air miles and supporting the British industry. Claudia Meller’s scarves have a unique selling point: they are dual purpose, suitable for winter and summer. These lightweight accessories, made with top quality wool, provide the perfect accent to any outfit. I personally love statement scarves; it gives me a free pass to experiment with prints and clash textures. Claudia states that her favourite design is the ‘Art Deco’ as she is a sucker for pink and black and the geometric theme which is so apparent throughout the collection. Claudia Meller’s designs are available for pre-order from her website, along with a selection of stationery. Claudia’s designs will also be featured at Pulse at Olympia trade fair in May. claudiameller.com/
Starburst Boutique, Dartmouth
Starburst boutique broke onto the scene in 2008, run by Hannah Jennings, an ex PR in fashion. With a shop located in the historic town of Dartmouth, Starburst boutique offers womenswear through a collection of international designers, all whilst hosting a laidback shopping experience and an online store for further convenience. Starburst boutique earned serious fashion points when it was featured in Draper’s magazines ‘Top 100 Inspiring Independents’ list
Bibi Boutiques, Salcombe and Royal William Yard, Plymouth
Get that Parisian feel without the plane fare at Bibi and Mac. This bespoke, customer focused boutique offers hand-picked European brands at its locations in Salcombe and Royal William Yard, Plymouth. Many shoppers are now seeking a more personal shopping experience which cannot be imitated elsewhere. Bibi and Mac provide this and more, reiterated by their win of the ‘Best Fashion Retailer Independent’ at the Plymouth City Centre and Waterfront Awards in 2013. From Danish ponchos to French culottes, Bibi and Mac is certainly a boutique I will be exploring often. Their chic pieces and relaxing atmosphere make for a perfect shopping trip.
Juste Moi, Dartmouth
Having been dubbed in the past as the most stylish lingerie and swimwear shop in the West Country, Juste Moi is comparable to top boutiques in London with brands from all across the globe, including Lise Charmel and Aubade. High quality is an integral part of their marketing with the swimwear pieces being selected with attention to detail and style in mind. Juste Moi’s shop location contributes to its uniqueness as Foss Street exudes quirkiness through its cobbled streets, but if you do not live close to Dartmouth, then Juste Moi also have an online shop. This delightful boutique is the perfect stop for updating your bikini collection this summer (that’s if the sun decides to show itself!).
Conker Shoes, Totnes
Beautifully hand crafted shoes are extremely hard to come by recently, with the concept of having made to measure footwear being slightly unusual. Conker have been producing handmade leather shoes since 1977, using only the finest quality materials and traditional cordwaining techniques. Their small workshop in Totnes allows for an even more personalised experience where you can pick from a range of styles, colours and soles. From ankle boots to ballet pumps and brogues, Conker provides a one of a kind service that will be hard to find elsewhere. My personal favourite picks are the Cowboy boots, made by hand in leather, these are an easy to wear, stylish boot that can be worn in many different ways.
Caramel Clothing, Honiton and Exmouth
Caramel clothing is a boutique that was shortlisted in Drapers awards and a finalist in another, the ‘Best Independent Women’s wear Retailer’ in 2014. Offering contemporary fashion for style conscious women, all items are selected by Sarah Simcock who has over 20 years of fashion experience, basing her choices on customer feedback. If you are slightly doubtful about your fashion knowledge then place your trust in one of the trained members of staff who are up to date on the latest trends and are happy to answer style queries. Their clothing selection features Scandinavian and UK brands such as Ted Baker and Sandwich Clothing. Their wide range of casual and more formal garments make for endless outfit builds. Visit either of their shops which are based in Honiton or Exmouth or shop online.
Maggie & Co
If you’re really looking to treat yourself then Maggie & Co has some seriously luxurious items on offer, with 39 years of experience in women’s fashion, Maggie & Co has recently expanded to selling online too. With a shop located in Torquay, the shopping experience offered is comparable to those you would receive in designer stores. Brands include the likes of DKNY, Jenny Packham and Diane Von Furstenburg and many other top designers from around the world. The Diane Von Furstenburg collection features my favourite pieces, particularly the Fleur ceramic a-line dress for its effortless elegance and simplicity.
Brigid Foley is an expert within the fashion industry, having been involved in this sector since 1970. Her exclusive designs have impressively sold worldwide, being showcased in three of the worlds fashion capitals. Paris, London and New York. She has managed to sell her designs to luxurious retailers including Selfridges and Harrods, an extremely respectable feat. Brigid’s special little boutique is tucked away up a cobbled street in the historic market town of Tavistock, contributing to its charisma. Find beautiful pieces for events ranging from day to night for many ages, featuring brands such as Masai and Roberto Naldi. Brigid Foley also has an online store.