Visiting factory, or outlet, stores is an increasingly popular way of getting quality pieces of fashion and style cheaply during the recession. Many of you may of heard about Bicester Village in Oxfordshire or The Mall in Florence, Italy and many flock to such locations to grab some incredible pieces whilst being, relativity, kind on their wallets. Not so long ago many fashionisto's look down Brand's who have outlet stores because they saw it as being 'cheap'. However, as we know, they are only outlets for labels to shift older stock or over made styles but increasingly, they are making pieces to sell specially through these stores. Perhaps this is to appeal accessible and hook in those who would not necessarily visit full price stores for what ever reason.
One of the greatest British brands, Mulberry, is no exception at owning a factory store very close to its actual factory in Somerset in the south-west of England. Having only visited there once a year or so ago, I decided to take a trip this weekend to have a look at their wallets - being in the market to replace my Comme des Garcons gold one.
I went with Brad from The FYI Blog as he had never visited the outlet which is about 2 miles from the factory where every piece of leatherwear is made. What is great about this location over their other discount stores, in York; Bicester and Cheshire, is that you can only really reach it by car as it is far from a train station and a hassle by bus meaning that it is quiet and never has a great crowd of people.
The store is fitted out with the spring summer 2011 show furniture and colours of roses and ladders but is not over kill to distract you from the stunning architecture of the store with its vaulted ceilings and lime-stone walls. We first had a quick look around and then decided to have tea and cake in the small cafe which has the most delectable home-made cakes which were displayed upon the ladders which I thought was a great idea.
They have a superb range of bags, small leather goods, accessories and clothing for men and women, and was seduced by the incredible savings on the pieces - including the wallet and bag below, which I took home with me.
The wallet is a beautiful leather with mock-crock detailing, stamped subtly with the Mulberry tree logo. It has space for notes as well as plenty of room for cards (I get an expenses card with my new job, so that is an another piece of plastic to the 7 I always carry) but I think keeping coins in wallets ruins the look, so didn't opt for a coin purse inside.
The bag, below was an impulse buy really because I saved double what I spent on the piece. I have long been after a weekend bag and one suitable to carry work when not in use for time away. The canvas bag is accentuated by the black leather handles, detailing and of course the brass hardware and the logoed plate on the front. It has a zipped pouch inside which is ample for important pieces, such as a passport and tickets, without having to search around.
The wallet made it's debut on Saturday evening and the bag will make its tomorrow morning. If you can, take a ride down to the outlet as it is in a lovely location but do not expect have all your purchases wrapped and packaged lovingly as you would in a full-priced boutique. On this occasion, I had to ask for a decent bag and Brad's scarf was not even tissue wrapped or boxed- which is half the experience and being silk, needs not to be screwed up in a white paper bag. I think this is to do with the woman's attitude (but the lady who served me was wonderful) of almost distain at the brand or the customers, but apart from this it was a wholly wonderful experience.