Supermarket fashion labels are the opposite of logomania. If the brash designer logo’s main purpose is to signify to the world ‘I spent X on this' or ‘I align myself with the values of Y brand,’ then supermarket clothes have been worn with a more covert attitude (‘This?’ – drops voice to a conspiratorial whisper – ‘It’s George at Asda!’ would be a typical reveal). Shopping supermarket collections is a guilty pleasure – like sneaking a chocolate bar into your basket at the checkout.
But whatever your attitude, there’s no denying that supermarket fashion lines – as well as George there’s Sainsbury’s Tu, Tesco’s Florence & Fred, Morrison’s Nutmeg – are big business. A prominent driving force in the UK’s value clothing market (which is worth a whopping £10 billion, or nearly a quarter of the total UK clothing market), supermarket fashion lines account for 10% of all clothes and footwear bought in the UK. These are billion-pound empires built on £20 jeans and £4 tees.
Jacket, £35, Tu at Sainsbury's A/W '17 collection
This month, German supermarket Lidl is joining the party with its Esmara by Heidi Klum collection. An 18-piece capsule of ‘stylish wardrobe staples’ including trenches, shift dresses and hoodies, it ranges from £4.99 for a cami to £49.99 for a suede biker jacket and will be available in 670 stores in the UK, as well as a further 10,000 stores in 28 countries worldwide. On top of Klum’s star appeal, it’s coming complete with a New York Fashion Week launch and a Rankin-shot campaign. Lidl are obviously backing this big time.
But would you really shop your new season wardrobe in the supermarket? Would you pick up a frock with your frozen peas? Many do – and many love it. A/W ’17’s heritage checks trend is getting air-time on the shop floors at the moment, as are boho-style dresses. One fashion editor informs us that they’re also a great source for workout and leisurewear – not to mention a no-brainer for childrenswear.
The snobbery that once dismissed supermarket lines is old-fashioned. While they don’t bear comparison to shopping designer collections at high-end boutiques – this is no luxury experience – these value pieces have instant pick-me-up appeal. And their affordability (with pieces retailing at less than the cost of a bottle of wine) plus wide range of sizes, gives us fashion at its most democratic and attainable – not to mention the height of convenience.
Shop our supermarket sweep below: