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Personal shoppers and the British shopping scene

 “We are fashion insiders. We strive to make your shopping journey a thrilling experience.” Julian Sudre is founder of Style Alphabet, a London-based men’s personal shopping service. As he walks me through his experience in his native France and now in London, I ask him why people seek a personal shopper in the first place. “People who choose to engage the help of a personal shopper do so for several reasons,” he begins. “Some need a personal stylist who can advise on clothes that are going to enhance their personal image. Others need someone who can organize their shopping as they are usually busy, so we organize and source clothing and accessories. Also, they may be people who don’t live locally, and so perhaps they have no idea of where to go.”

Learning that a significant number of his clients come from outside London, we inquire about the reasons for this. “James Bond springs to mind,” replies Sudre with a grin. “London is home to the ‘gentleman culture;’ Mayfair and Sloane Street have always been magnets for the luxury-seeking shopper. Visitors to the capital seek for heritage brands that reflect a very British lifestyle. Think Savile Row for bespoke suiting, and other refined UK luxury brands such as Douglas Hayward, Globe-Trotter, Burberry, Cleverley’s and Dunhill, to name a few.”

“I think the culture of the ‘gentleman’ is coming back,” he adds. “There is a certain pride to wearing quality, bespoke clothing.” Sudre offers some industry insights as to why he tailors his services exclusively for a male clientele. “The menswear market has been growing year on year. This is quite noticeable with brands opening, or planning to open, more menswear-only boutiques. Take Jimmy Choo, for example: they are opening a men’s shop this April.” But why this sudden flurry of activity on the male front? Sudre explains, “Men are becoming more interested in fashion. I think this is due to the fact that they have come around to accepting the fact that their image is important. In addition, there are also corporate male clients who need to ensure that their image is polished for business, and this is another incentive.”

In the personal shopping trade, time is of the essence. How do you optimize a personal shopping experience? “To get the best out of a personal shopper,” says Sudre, “we recommend that a customer give us some information to work with so that we can prepare the field and smooth out your shopping experience. After all, our clients need their sartorial problems solved quickly. We, as personal shoppers, are expected to deliver solutions promptly!”

Julian Sudre
Personal Stylist & Personal Shopper
Style Alphabet
Tel. +44 (0)7 4299 47480