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29 May 2013

Blog Takeover | Lou Stoppard SHOWstudio

At SHOWstudio we pride ourselves on opening up the world of fashion to a wider audience, whether by live streaming Nick Knight's photo shoots, inviting designers into our studio to make a garment live on camera, or, in the case of our popular 'In Fashion' series, broadcasting candid and lengthy interviews with top figures from the industry. Our rolling 'In Fashion' initiative began in 2009 when Penny Martin - now editor of The Gentlewoman - was at the helm of the site. The concept was to profile individuals who help shape the ever-changing landscape of contemporary fashion, often from behind the scenes, as in the case of hairstylist Sam McKnight, PR Mandi Lennard and stylist Simon Foxton. Also featured in the project are industry heavy weights like designer Alexander McQueen, Vogue editor Alexander Shulman, GQ editor Dylan Jones, journalist Suzy Menkes, fashion icon and artist Daphne Guinness, designer Philip Lim, milliner Stephen Jones, as well as young design talents such as Simone Rocha, Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff, and J.W Anderson.

Sometimes the most interesting people in fashion are not those on the front rows or taking the bows at the end of the shows, but instead those who have being pulling the puppet strings from backstage. That's why retail doyenne Joan Burstein, or Mrs B as she is affectionately known in the industry, was high on our list as an interview subject for a long while. As a buyer and founder of Browns boutique, she's shaped the face of British fashion by championing new talent and pulling in overseas talent to her now legendary store.

Interviewing Mrs B is a fascinating experience as not only does she have such an informed and detailed knowledge of the industry - from the trick to editing a collection to the brightest new stars on the scene (Meadham Kirchhoff, if your wondering) - she also has a very personal, natural take on fashion and retail, visible in the way she makes buying decisions based on gut feeling and has worked to keep her business a family affair. This instinctive approach to fashion has informed decisions throughout her career - from what designers she's championed to how she's set up the Browns stores - and, in her opinion, has made Browns completely unique, despite several copycats! From discussions about her earliest memories of fashion to a thorough dissection of the way Browns runs, including why windows are so important and the reason Browns' girls work harder than any other buyers, Mrs B's interview was an invaluable insight into fashion retail, and a wonderful chance to learn more about this much loved fashion figure. Uncut footage of the interview will be available shortly on SHOWstudio, so stay tuned! Thanks again Mrs B!

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