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Style Director, Marks & Spencer on why customer satisfaction is high on the brand’s list


There is a marked increase in the sale of dresses and trousers for women in India, says Belinda Earl, Global Style Director of British fashion brand Marks & Spencer.

The brand, the legacy of which dates back to 1884, reflects the smart, contemporary and neat British style.

“British style has a handwriting that is unique and influences international fashion looks, so this has given me the opportunity to get really hands on in terms of contemporary fashion in the collections and what our customer wants to wear,” Earl, who has been dubbed ‘Retail Queen of UK’, told IANS in an email interview.

Earl is in the country to launch the spring summer 2018 collection in Mumbai on Thursday for the brand, and said they “carefully edit” their lines to make them relevant and suit the needs of the Indian customers.

“We’re very focused on carefully editing our collection to deliver coordinated trends that are easy to shop and relevant to customers in each market. Our customers have busy lives, they want a seamless and inspiring shopping experience, they want to update their wardrobes to reflect the current key fashion trends and top up on those all-important wardrobe basics too, so we make sure we offer them both.

“We’ve seen sales of dresses increase by 88 per cent over the past year in India and have used this insight to keep offering fashionable styles our customer will love,” she said.

How important is Indian market for the brand?

“We tailor displays to the Indian customers’ mindset around the pieces she will be looking to pick up at that time. We also want customers to see something new every time they step into a store to feel inspired.

“We have also seen formal trousers prove popular with India customer with skinny and slim fit most popular, and have now increased our offering in these styles to include over 55 different options.”

The new collection is inspired by ‘All Things Natural’.

“I work alongside many different teams to oversee different elements from design through to technical and using natural fabrics and adding in innovations to ensure we have the right pieces she will love in stores. I also work with various teams around how we bring these trends to life in stores as well as through eye catching photography,” said Earl, who joined M&S as the Style Director in September 2012.

With over 30 years of experience, Earl was awarded prestigious Order of the British Empire in 2017 for her services to retail.

She feels the colour green will make a splash in the fashion world in the coming months.

“There are some really key pieces for the Spring Summer 18 season – starting with green, this really is ‘the colour’ to be seen in and khaki and botanical prints are a really easy way of wearing this trend,” she said, adding that it is “also worth investing in exaggerated silhouette dresses, these are so easy to wear, scream fashion and can be worn all year round”.

“And finally colour is also going to be huge, whether it’s bold primary colours such as crisp reds and blues through to softer pastel tones of yellows and violets.”

Excited about her trip to India, she said: “I’ve visited several times before and sent some time in Jaipur as well as Delhi last year. It’s such a wonderful and vibrant place and I’m keen to try some Indian specialties to eat. Everything is so colourful in India and of course in Mumbai, there’s Bollywood.”