Friday, 5 November 2010

River Island: Turning over a new leaf?


River Island is always a high street shop I’ve avoided – on so many occasions, I’ve wandered into the shop and then walked straight back out again, disappointed by the quality of their clothes and also their weird tendency to over-embellish things. After multiple trips to the shop which served to confirm my feelings about their clothes, I didn’t go back for a few seasons and they were mentally noted down in my mind as a ‘not worth looking’ shop.

So when I popped into my local branch a few weeks ago accompanying my best friend, you can imagine my surprise (and delight) when I discovered a shop filled with rails of 60s inspired tops, dresses and coats, as well as mock-Alexa bags and stunning knitted cardigans and jumpers. It seems they’re reverting back to their 60s roots, when the brand went under a different name – Chelsea Girl.

A photo of the Manchester Chelsea Girl (photo credit)
I would so love to have lived back then - you don't get shop fronts as cool as this nowadays!

Their new stock is a far cry from the items I remember from my last visit – out with the diamanté, and in with the retro tailoring and quirky pieces that I could easily see slipping nicely into my own wardrobe. I hope this new River Island image is here to stay!

Here are some of my top picks from this season's stock:


I may have made a sneaky purchase of one of the above items... I'll leave you in suspense until I visit home next weekend, where I plan to do a little photoshoot with it :).

Has anyone else noticed a big change in River Island over the past year?

Sadie xxx

25 comments:

Fleur said...

I love it all! I bought the blue coat for the winter season and I adore him. It keeps me warm in the cold Dutch rain showers. When I was in England, the improved quality of their products really surprised me. Over the past year I really did notice a bit change, they turned their collection from sort of cheap to vintage-inspired classy. I love your blog by the way!

sarah. said...

i work there, and yes, the clothes have got so much better, particularly this season!
somehow-someday.blogspot.com
x

tamsin said...

I've definitely noticed this! And I hadn't realised that Chelsea girl became River Island, either!

Lizzy said...

i feel exactly the same about River Island and subsequently haven't been in for ages. However, next time i'm in town i will definatley be checking it out! Such cute jumpers !x

Dodo said...

I'm not that known with river island but the times I went in it does seemed to be quite highly priced for the quality they mostly give. The shoes are fabulous though! And I think most people want quality over quantity nowadays!

VicissitudiniLombarde said...

I love the firts and second shoots!

http://vicissitudinilombarde.blogspot.com/

Svenja said...

I used to live in Ireland a few years ago and did not like River Island at all but these clothes look really nice. Thank you for telling us!

Cherry Pullinger said...

I feel exactly the same about River Island and I always avoid it, maybe I should pay a trip there soon.

Looby said...

Definately noticed this!! They have so many lovely things now. A few weeks ago I bought a very 70s brown floral tea dress with huge bell sleeves. It buttons right up to the neck and...has no shiny sparkly bits anywhere!! :O

I hope they carry on with the vintage range...

Looby xx

Anisa said...

The first blouse is adorable and so you!

thelaughslut.blogspot.com

Shelby said...

i love the leopard coat

Catherine said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have always been annoyed with River Island's need to take a perfectly nice t-shirt and cover it with rhinestones and embelishments. Even a plain pair of jeans I have from there has a coloured rhinestone on the button! Good to hear they may have started to change their ways. I'll have to check it out.

arnique said...

I just hope that they continue to keep it classy (but affordable). I'm hoping to buy a lot when I visit in April. :))

Arianne from A + B in the Sea

the girl in the bowler hat said...

I totally agree. I used to be dragged in with my friends and truly hated the place, it seemed to be the definition of cheap and chavvy things. However over the past few months I've seen so many things I'm really liking, and their shoes are really good also sometimes.

xxxx

Lauren said...

I've avoided River Island for years for the same reasons you did. They just seemed to cover everything in studs and cheap-looking tat. I'll have to have a peek inside next time I go past one!

said...

My local River Island has always been rubbish. And is still rubbish.
But recently I visited a few others and I was amazed! I especially love their faux fur, it's so soft.

Georgie said...

Wow I completely didn't know it was called Chelsea Girl before! Same I've always been 'meh' about River Island, I think I bought a necklace there once and thats it but maybe I should go take a look in there now!
xx

bee. said...

River Island has definitely improved of late. I agree. I really love some of the quirky pieces they have on offer (:

Jen said...

I'm in total love with a fox print jumper dress from RI. They've definitely improved! x

Anonymous said...

Yesss, I really used to stay away from it and would have to leave dissapointed whenever I dared myself to actually venture inside, but I went in literally this weekend and came out with a shiny mock-croc satchel, a pair of velvet leggings and a white lace top. They're sooo beautiful and I really regret no going in before!

katieafox said...

haha this made me laugh because I always say this about River Island! "Why do they have to take something nice and cover it in diamantes?!"

I still haven't really ventured into the shop in recent years but I've been surprised at the clothes they've produced after asking friends where their new outfits are from.

I actually love the jumper top centre. I may have to have a browse!

x

secreteliese said...

My guess is that you either bought the gold p.p collar dress, or the leopard print coat, but they are all equally lovely. I also used to work at R.I (5 years ago when it was wag-tastic to the max) and it has come on leaps and bounds since then. They still over embellish about 85% of the stock though.

xx

P.s. new to the blog and very much enjoying it!

Mackensie Perry said...

Oh! i want all those sweaters! so pretty! :)

http://myownlittleireland.blogspot.com/

Rebecca from See You in Sweden said...

Soooo, so wish we had RI in the States. It's not fair, haha!!

Kim said...

Wow! I never go in RI either as I always feel like it gives me a headache (which I now realise must be due to the overembellishment!) but maybe I better stock up on aspirin and brave it.. love the tunic in particular!