29 December, 2011

Waving The Flag For Cool Britannia – Jack Wills Lands In Hong Kong!

29 December, 2011

Recently, all the new American stores headed to Hong Kong have been hogging all the limelight… but the new Jack Wills is waving their flag for British fashion loud and proud!

Although Jack Wills might not have the brand recognition that Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Hollister and American Eagle seem to have here, it’s already created a definite buzz for its cool take on British heritage with a twist! And trust us, you will be seeing plenty more of their trademark pink and navy stripes all over town!

As a native Brit myself, I was already familiar with Jack Wills from my time at school and uni – where its signature slouchy sweats, rugby tops (collars turned up!) and checked shirts became the uniform of choice amongst most of my fellow students. So I entered the HK store expecting much of the same preppy English style – and came away pleasantly surprised!

It seems whilst I’ve been away, Jack Wills has totally invigorated its style. All those much-loved basics are still there, yet there’s plenty more besides – no sticking in a sartorial rut for these guys! I fell particularly in love with all their stunning dresses, including this black spotted party dress, sequinned flapper dress and Liberty-style print one, which looked awesome dressed down with one of Jack Wills slouchy knitted cardigans. There are also some great fur capes, sparkly cardigans and printed jackets perfect for party season, whilst I also loved their black rock-star sequinned shorts and tailored red blazer, an eye-catching style statement that looked utterly fab.

Now HK is starting to get a bit cooler, I’m also desperate to get my mitts on some of their gorgeous tweed coats, chunky Arran knit jumpers and cute legwarmers too!

Jack Wills has also branched into pretty much everything else you could think of – accessories, make-up, jewellery, homeware, bed linen, stationery, iPhone cases… you name it, they’ve got it, and all emblazoned in their some of their signature ‘fabulously British’ prints! I predict these will be a big hit with tourists, but they’re also stylish enough to fit right in to any home (I’m already rocking my Jack Wills mug… and tote bag… and scarf!). Of course, come opening night, I had to grab the Union Jack nail polish tin (my love of nail polish is well-documented already)!

I also have to mention how fabulous the store itself is. In HK, it often seems like the mall is king and there’s a distinct lack of identity in many of these anonymous chain stores… yet Jack Wills couldn’t get much more idiosyncratic if it tried! Their Causeway Bay flagship store is firstly HUGE (a very welcome contrast to the many postage-stamp sized shops here!), two spacious floors with nice high ceilings and even some chandeliers! Secondly, the décor is fun, quirky and cool – Union Jack sofas, a fireplace, neon antlers and even a Jack Wills kitted out Land Rover parked stage centre! I love shops like this because it makes shopping a truly fun experience – as if I needed further incentive to spend!

The great thing about Jack Wills is that it doesn’t feel like it’s slavishly following trends… yet nor is it completely the same old stuff churned out season upon season; it’s the perfect balance between British tradition and youthful fashion, with lots of little details (embossed metal buttons, vintage-style labels sewn into each piece) that make everything feel that little bit more special. Their more basic preppy pieces (tees, rugby shirts, sweats, underwear) are priced fairly similarly to American Eagle and Hollister, whilst the more special stuff is a little pricier (think Ted Baker or Club Monaco) but with quality to match. Their opening night summed them up exactly – beefeaters at the door, scrumptious fish and chips on tap, fun photo opps and fabulous clothes everywhere!

Overall, I can’t think of anywhere else quite like it in Hong Kong – which can only be a very good thing! You’ll have to fight me for that black spotted dress though!

Some photos by Aurora Van Kerckhove.

Jack Wills, Leighton Centre, 77 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
LCX Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


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