Casual
By Walker_D
Monday 06 Aug 2012 18:26:00
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Van Mildert

 

As the main man MA has just added Van Mildert to his business portfolio I thought it would be fair to follow up my Hugo by Hugo Boss at cruise article on their step sister shop Van Mildert.

 

I can still remember my 1st visit to VM, I must have been about 13, my dad was welding the new railway line from Newcastle to Scotland so we were wedged up to the hilt and me mam took me to Durham for a day out with the bribe of if I went to uni with her and spent an hour in the library without causing any bother I could get some new kit. During that time Van Mildert was an organically independent shop that you don’t get anymore, it got mentioned a few times in FHM magazine and had a few adds on the last page of the fashion additions so I was dying to check it out, I went to the library and took the bribe so after that hour was over it was clobber time. I can remember seeing a pair of trainers in a shop window that totally blew my mind but unfortunately my child sized feet were no good so I walked across the street and my ma pointed for me to come into this shop with her, as I walked into the listed building I said wow what’s this like, it looks like we are in London, it was infact Van Mildert, nothing fit and everything was too expensive as I was still on Armani junior from Fenwick’s but the thought of growing out of my favourite clobber wasn’t that scary knowing that shops like VM were about and that my big brothers Armani jeans from cruise were just as nice as the one’s I already had on.

 

Comparing cruise to other shops wouldn’t of been a good idea 10 years ago as the customers felt the same way about the shop as we do about our football team but a series of public and intended pricing mishaps, buying mistakes and possibly the worst website to have ever been created by man from old owners took the company to rock bottom and let Van Mildert stake claim as the 1st choice for cruise customers to spend their money.

 

The main difference between CRUISE and VM is that at 1st glimpse cruise is a few steps up on how designer the labels are, CRUISES jeans store is on par with VM which is classed as a main line shop, but if you go into either store or on either website at the moment you can tell that their under the same control and on the menswear front theirs not a great deal of difference in the product that both places have for sale. I hooked up with one of Van Mildert’s top dogs to talk about VM, what sets it apart and most importantly the clobber.

 

No matter how hard I try I cant hide my love for stone island & cp company so as you might of noticed iv stopped even trying so what better to start off with than my two favourites, in the grand scheme on things stone island isn’t a big player in Newcastle, I know a lot of shops stock it but selling it is a totally different story so unless everyone’s buying off the net the main stone island shoppers buying from Van Mildert, most fans of the label may have noticed from the VM website that they seem to have gone for the more casual collection which isn’t my favourite look if I am to be honest and that black square badge on the chest looks completely wrong, I went into cruise jeans yesterday to check out their collection and I must admit it looks a lot better, and this is weir having more shops around the country pays off… cruise can take risks with buying collections, share them out between shops then swap products from area to area to try and guarantee that the product will get sold so someone from Newcastle could end up with a jacket which all got sent to Glasgow a month later so no one else in Newcastle got the chance to buy it, this is the benefit of being a big company which VM is no doubt going to become so having this stone island conversation in a years time will most defiantly be a different story.

 

My main misunderstanding of an undoubtedly great website by Van Mildert was the way that the site was categorised as premium and young and my view was most items in premium were either “brands” or “independent” and most things in young fashion were in my opinion “high street”, then extremely high price points for sportswear such as lacoste are in the same category so you’ve got a new label like folk in premium and lacoste in young. From the 1st time I went on the website this was my main gripe but as I was informed… their split by price point so to use my exampled label’s a lacoste polo might be 80 quid a folk crew necks around 70 so depending on what their stocking labels such as Lyle go to premium and flossy’s are in young, my fingers still scratching my head when humor’s classed as premium but that’s just me.

Website categories aside no one can argue with the product than Van Mildert offers, its good that it’s got something for everyone and if I was after brands that I class as “high street” id much rather have the VM shopping experience than dealing with the busyness of USC or similar spaces.

 

If you cancel out the labels that offer nothing to casual fan’s you’ve still got a good few of the best that you could ask for at VM including Folk, SI, CP, ma.strum, YMC, lyle & scott and paul & shark which isn’t bad at all. I’m a big fan of everything iv just mentioned and all labels offer things that can be worn on all occasions. A good few issues ago I wrote about my love for YMC and the clobber that I mentioned is still ahead of the pack so that’s good going, a lot of its been copied by high street but unfortunately that’s a thing that’s happens with everything great and can only be took as a compliment.

 

All these words into the VM article and iv forgotten to mention one of the most important factors about the place, it’s a north east company, I could be wrong but in my lifetime certainly no NE company has done as well in the clothing trade and the fact that its playing with the regions most wealthy business man and has strong links to Newcastle and Middlesbrough football club’s is great news for all concerned, anything that brings good jobs to the north east are positive in my book and it seems to be a great company to work for, so get your cv’s in now.

 

The company’s changed a great deal to what it was like when I first walked into the shop in Durham, its a lot more mainstream and a lot less exclusive but that’s how you make money, its sad to say but I think the days of small independents sticking to their guns and the views that they had when they first set off get clouded in bills and progression of the shop, no doubt it can still be done but only if the internet side of the business is booming to make up for the lack of physical sales in the shop, if any one fancies testing my theory look into the story of end who has one of the best on line communities going for an independent then compare it to the story of the sadly diminished Sunderland based eleven who didn’t use the internet to its full. At this moment in time I’m not sure that VM can be classed as a designer store but again that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means its grown into the regions biggest stockist of branded good’s instead of the regions smallest designer boutique.

 

If I could recommend a shop for anyone to give a go it would be Van Mildert, we should all get behind the company that’s holding its own and putting the north east on the business map and who knows one day they might be doing so well that bringing labels like Dries Van Norton and Costume National back to their stores will be a risk worth taking.



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