Cabot Circus/Quakers Friars welcomed a new boutique to Penn Street last Thursday, in the form of Garment Quarter. My partner in crime and I were lucky enough to attend the launch party and have a natter with the masterminds of this high concept, service-with-a-smile designer boutique. Oh, and I'm now in lust with a pair of Vivienne Westwood 'Melissa' shoes...
I've been a bit naughty as I should have typed my ramblings on GQ up on Friday but instead I headed up to Doncaster to see some very dear friends - who don't have the internet. Coming from a city where I am hooked up to the net as if intravenously, I struggled with not having Google at my beck and call and developed some major withdrawal symptoms, especially on the train home yesterday when a businessman with a laptop sat next to me and started playing online Solitaire.
Anywho, I digress. The purpose of this post is to say what a genuinely lovely time we had on Thursday, and it has very little to do with the champagne and sushi we knocked back, and more to do with the lovely chaps behind Garment Quarter, who were kind enough to chat with us about their new retail empire.
As a former buyer for fashion franchise Herviea, owner John Reid decided to take his merry band of merry men south from Manchester to our very own Bristol. Drawn by the quirky sensibilities of the city and a gap in the market Garment Quarter was born. Cabot Circus was an obvious choice where the boutique is already proving to hold its own against the likes of Harvey Nichols, drawing in a wide range of customers it's first two weeks.
Ship-Shape had a natter with John and his colleague Patrick who told us why they think GQ will suit Bristol shoppers. "The focus is on providing individual, tailored service to all our customers. We're already seeing return customers and beginning to get to know and anticipate their needs for the coming seasons."
Although the boys have been working solidly on Garment Quarter since moving to Bristol a few weeks ago, they have still been able to squeeze in a little down time and experience Bristol's infamous nightlife. Both the boys have been pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the city's inhabitants have been; "I thought with Bristol being down South that the people would be a bit unfriendly" commented Patrick "but everyone we've met have been really nice and relaxed".
While S gave Patrick tips on the house music scene in Bristol, John gave me a hint of the kind of customers that have been frequenting the store. "The location is great and we've had lots of Saturday shoppers come in, as well as students and local footballers looking for something special. What we're offering is pretty unique to Bristol and with the range of labels there is something to suit everyone".
Naturally Vivienne Westwood's Red Label and Gold Label lines are present, as is Twenty8Twelve, Alexander McQueen (just men's underwear at present but hopefully more to follow) and emerging designers such as Ashley Marc Hovelle, who attended the launch.
Already there is talk of expansion and Patrick hinted that GQ could soon be setting up shop in neighbouring Bath. My fingers are crossed for John and the boys - all the stock in Garment Quarter has been handpicked and the focus is on individual care and customer service, something that while shine in its high street surroundings.
Garment Quarter, 25 Penn Street, Cabot Circus.