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28 Oct 2020
Expression


Pop London

Pop London is a boutique, online store and fashion label. It produces beautiful, feminine and glamorous fashion for women who value original designer-quality clothing and accessories. It is a business with sustainability at its core. In 2020 it was named by Conde Nast magazine as London’s only sustainable fashion boutique destination.

Pop is based at Blue House Yard, a community of small shops in Wood Green, London. The Yard is described as a hidden treasure, set back off the main road. Shops look like colourful beach huts and there is a family atmosphere. Founder, Shazia Saleem explains more.

“Being in the boutique is my favourite thing. When we re-opened after lockdown on 15 June, there was a real buzz. I have built up a community around the shop and there was a real energy to get out and feel normal again. My shop is small so only one or two people can be inside at a time anyway. People can still try things on, I steam garments afterwards. It is important that people can have the experience of trying things on in-store.

“During lockdown the business had to adapt. The physical shop closed, the online shop grew and our production paused. We manufacture garments in India and like everywhere else, it has been badly affected by the pandemic. I have strong relationships with all my partners in India, I have worked with the same people for years. Lockdown really tested our remote relationships but we modified our plans. People out there are working reduced hours and remotely and I am working on a longer timescale.

“Usually we work at a very fast pace with new lines developing all the time. This year has been different. We had new stock just before lockdown and we’ve been able to sell items from last year. It has helped my customers to understand more of what we are about. I think it has made people looking at their fashion-buying habits too which is a good thing.

“India is a global hub for production and wastage. That’s why our manufacturing is based there. Everything is produced ethically and sustainably. We upcycle fabric and trims and yarn, all surplus wastage from the industry. We use new fabrics which are surplus to requirements and set for landfill or incineration. I use my network to source supplies and put them together to turn into collections. There’s lots of research involved and it is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle! What is most exciting is that the collection doesn't look like sustainable fashion.

“Now I am looking ahead. Usually we would be getting ready for Christmas party clothes but this year we focussing on gifts and are launching a new line of upper body workwear which works with lower body loungewear. It is aimed at everyone working from home and spending hours on Zoom calls! No one wants to be wearing uncomfortable clothes while they are sitting down all day but they still want to look stylish and professional.

“I think as small independent businesses we are able to adapt and make the most of things.”

September 2020


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