Today, Branding Styles unravels what is going on behind the scenes at Rhoda, an independent boutique of Crouch End specialised in edgy young designers and graphic prints. It is the impeccable selection of products mixed with the warm welcome every shopper received that caught our eyes… Let’s now meet Ruth Yiampouranis, owner and buyer for Rhoda, to talk about the biggest trends of this spring/summer and discover how she finds new talents.
Branding Styles: How did the Rhoda adventure start?
Ruth Yiampouranis: The shop was created in 1998 and at the beginning it was just two rails of womenswear! Before being Rhoda, it was a dress factory belonging to my parents. In the 1990′s, they had to close their business but the space was still theirs… so I decided to transform it into a fashion shop a bit by accident. It came to me one day while reading Drapers Records so I started to go to some professional exhibitions with one of my sisters and buy some clothes. It went so well that soon I quit my job in the civil service and worked full-time here. I had no previous background in fashion, just a passion really and I knew what I wanted to sell, some clothes that I could not find anywhere else.
How would you describe the shop?
It is a family business, now selling both menswear and womenswear. We offer a mix of independent labels with strong graphics, designers who do something good with a twist. For men, I choose international and established brands (like Penguin Footwear, Fred Perry, Carhatt) but also some T-shirt brands with a more original and graphic aesthetics.
The graphic prints seems central to your work, can you tell us why?
It is hard to say. I just don’t want to sell something boring. And I think it has to do with the clients as well. Most of my clients work in the media: they are journalists, TV actors, celebrities…For example, Simon Pegg bought a T-shirt here that he wore for the Cannes Festival! We have a few celebrities: Clive Owen, Emma Bunton… and also some young mums who search for some edgier clothes.
What are the main trends for Spring/Summer 2012?
After doing some researchs and readings, I knew that, for men, “cornflour blue “was going to be THE colour of the season and that chinos were going to be big. I also bet on speckled tees and pocket tee-shirts.
For women, it is all about animal prints and speckled tops. In general, my selection for women is a bit more edgy and different from menswear.
It is also very important for me to offer mid-range prices so that people can enjoy fashion without spending too much money.
Can you talk to us more precisely about the way you select a brand?
It is important to move forward, to introduce new brands and to learn what is appealing to our clients or not. I work differently when choosing collections for men. I will focus on keeping good basics and good quality. Only the tee-shirts will be more experimental. For women, I try a lot of different brands (Nümph, Louche,St Martins, Brat & Suzie and Glamourous). My last discovery was Louche, a British brand that I handpicked during Pure, an exhibition in Earl’s Court.
To choose a new brand, I have to feel very strongly about it, to bear in mind what customers will think about it and to be convinced that the brand is original and creative in its approach to fashion. I don’t have a particular vision of what I want for the shop, I stay open-minded and I try. Last season, I wasn’t sure about a skeleton and old man tee-shirts that I bought but they ended up flying of the shelves! I strongly believe there is a market for graphic designs.
Did you travel to find new talents?
Yes, I traveled in the past outside England to find new products. I went to Paris to see the Who’s Next exhibition but I made the most interesting discoveries in Denmark (including the brand Nümph) during the CPH and CIFF. I also went to Bread & Butter in Barcelona.
Where to find Rhoda?
25 Park Road
Tel: 020 8348 7963
Tags : behind the scenes, buyer, clive owen, crouch end, emma bunton, graphic designs, graphic prints, new brands, rhoda, shopping in London, shops, simon pegg, spring/summer 2012, trend, trend spotting, trends