Home to some of the biggest high street and designer names, as well as boasting an impressive collective of independent brands, Birmingham is certainly not second best when it comes to retail therapy. Whilst stores have their doors closed for the time being, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we’re all switching our spending online; with screen time on the increase across the nation.
One thing that the current pandemic has brought us is an appreciation for home-grown businesses; the #shoplocal movement is more important than ever as we all rush to save our local high streets and town centres. Research has already shown that 2 in 5 Brits have been shopping at local, independent stores more regularly than before and it looks like this appreciation for independent brands is here to stay, as we move to more conscious consumerism post-lockdown.
Birmingham already has some impressive names in its hall of fame, with the likes of Solihull headquartered Gymshark leading the way, but here are some brands from our fair city (and slightly beyond) that you might not have known come from Brum.
Similar to its Solihull neighbour, Gymshark, Lounge Underwear saw a meteoric rise to fame online, with influencers and Insta-shoppers helping to propel it across the pond. The brand launched back in 2015 with its signature triangle design and saw phenomenal success in Australia and the US, with the launch of Lounge Apparel and Lounge Intimates quickly following suit. Set up by Dan and Mel at home in their living room, it’s a worldwide brand that aims to make comfort sexy across its lingerie, swimwear and loungewear styles. The latter of which is perfect for those lockdown chillout days.
Shop Lounge Underwear here
If you’re “in the know” you’ll already know all about P&Co… it’s a brand that has a loyal, worldwide following who all buy into a similar lifestyle. Mostly centred around motorbikes, leather goods, great coffee and slogan tees, they’ve amassed an impressive Instagram following and boast a pretty epic selection of men’s and womenswear. The brand was started by two friends in the Jewellery Quarter, who had a run of just 45 hand-printed tees, and now it’s a global lifestyle brand living by the mantra: “Think Free, Live Free.”
Shop P&Co here
Footwear fans will recognise RAID from the likes of ASOS and Zalando, but they started selling direct to customers early last year. The fashion-focused women’s footwear brand has a host of #RAIDBABE influencers on its books, helping to promote to its national, and international, shoe-addicted audience. What’s more, their warehouse is based right here in Birmingham.
Shop RAID here
Launched by two sisters, Francesca and Marianna, jewellery brand Soru rose to fame when Kate Middleton was pictured wearing a pair of the brand’s earrings. This Royal endorsement opened the floodgates to some of fashion and television’s finest; from Millie Mackintosh and Vogue Williams to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Rochelle Humes, Solihull-based Soru is now a big player in the accessories game. Their stunning Italian-inspired jewellery is stocked in the likes of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, and worn by major style influencers like The Fashion Bug Blog and Lima’s Wardrobe.
Shop Soru here
Friend of the Soru sisters, Fiona Williams, launched McHugh Lifestyle as a celebration of the fashion, accessory and interior finds from her travels around the world. Boasting bohemian glamour, she’s brought now-celebrated brands like Maridruna and Talis Chains to the UK and has a host of celebrity fans including Rosie Fortescue and Tiffany Watson. Some of Instagram’s biggest fashion influencers, including The LA Way, Nicole on Trend, and The Fashion Bug Blog can be seen posting McHugh Lifestyle knitwear and monogrammed bags regularly on their grids.
Shop McHugh here
V by Laura Vann
Hailing from the heart of our famous Jewellery Quarter, V by Laura Vann is an emerging Birmingham success story. Championing responsibly made vintage jewellery; Laura Vann’s designs are not just stunning but also affordable. Art deco-inspired, each piece is made to last; both in terms of time and design. V by Laura Vann is stocked in John Lewis and Harvey Nichols, and aims to get generations of all ages sharing, wearing and treasuring stunning jewellery.
Shop V by Laura Vann here
Lockdown has us all focusing on #selfcare and what better way to do it than with organic, ethical brand, Honest Skincare. Made right here in Birmingham and shipped worldwide from its Kings Heath store, the independent skincare brand now has almost 100 stockists. Each product is made by hand with the ethos: “less is more”, focusing on a few, carefully-chosen ingredients that can nourish, restore, protect and heal skin. Plus, the packaging is a must-have for any bathroom shelf!
Shop Honest here
Not quite a ‘B’ postcode, but we’ll take the glory anyway, Heaven Skincare hails from Shropshire and is one of the world’s leading, award-winning skincare brands. Derived from natural bee venom products and founded by expert Deborah Mitchell, the luxurious range of anti-ageing products boast organic, natural and results-driven ingredients. Even better, Deborah chose to launch a new UK concession in Harvey Nichols Birmingham, so it’s a must-visit when stores re-open their doors.
Shop Heaven here
So, as you navigate your way through lockdown, remember that there are some amazing local brands helping to ‘big up Brum’ on a national, and international, scale. It’s something to be celebrated as we seek to find even more hidden gem indies from what I like to consider the UK’s fashion capital!
Founder and Managing Director of retail and hospitality PR agency, EAST VILLAGE.