• Love this concertina beach scene print on @marios_official tote available at @therefineryhk now! #PMQIS
  • Congrats to my cousin @elizabethlauldn and her new shop @therefineryhk in the new PMQ building @PMQHKDesign #PMQIS much love for @BernstockSpeirs bunny ears!
  • Love that I always see the best pieces by Brit designers abroad @nicoll_studio @liger_hk
  • Swash land at @liger_hk Patterson St store #SwashLondon
  • Patchwork chair by Brut Cake at @littlethingmag shop in OCT Loft Shenzhen

I'm pragmatic to the point of dogmatic when it comes to buying things when I'm abroad.  If the answer to "Can I buy it in London?" is a firm "No", and the exchange rates are looking good (I permanently have my XE calculator app out on my phone), then I'll make a considered decision.  In New York, I have my strict shopping routine of combing through Opening Ceremony (good lot NY/American labels that can't be found in London), flagships of NY labels (Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, VPL etc etc) and then the routinely once-overs at J. Crew, Madewell, Club Monaco just to sniff out what the New York 'high street' is offering up.  It all sounds deathly boring and completely unspontaneous, which might come as a bit of a surprise.  Well, that is the STRICTEST of shopping routines if I have say a half a day.  A few more days and I might be venturing into taxidermy and antique hat vendors.   

I added Joe Fresh to this half-day once-over purely because I spotted a forest green neoprene Balenciaga-ish (Cristobal, not Nicolas Ghesquiere…) coat on Lauren Sherman of Lucky and was also goaded by Tommy Ton of Jak and Jil to go and check out this Canadian chain's first flagship in New York.  On name and logo alone, I might have dismissed Joe Fresh as inexpensive clothing that's a little on the plain side of things.  After a ten minute gander, a few key pieces jumped out at me, including Lauren's coat (that comes in green and turquoise), a neoprene belted coat in a BRIGHT vivid orange to match the logo and and a matching skirt for $49, which I picked up.  I also came away with a grey wool coat with an orange neoprene collar and green neoprene pockets and belt that was a very reasonable $149.  The prices are Uniqlo low and the store fit itself has a feeling similar to the Japanese chain.  

The astonishing thing about Joe Fresh is its origins.  It's a brand created by Joe Mimran for the Canadian food retailer Loblaw Companies Limited and in Canada is mainly sold in these supermarkets and superstores with stand-alone stores only coming into place in the last two years or so.  I can't quite picture it, but to me it sounds like shopping at Tu at Sainsbury's, or Tesco's clothing range, neither of which I've ever bought anything from.  That's not to say I have anything against the clothes.  I'm just not one of those people who can shop for mild cheddar, chorizo, apples and a jumper all in one sitting.  

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(Joe Fresh coat, COS padded sweater, Joe Fresh neoprene skirt, Prada shoes)

I'm not saying Joe Fresh is DA TOTAL BOMB because the store does have a fair amount of very ordinary officewear, very ordinary knitwear and well… erm… Joe Bloggs clothing (pun TOTALLY intended) but then again, I'm not exactly the primary target customer if I'm zooming in on items made out of neoprene.  Instead I'm one of those skulking around for the rare occurences of strange stand-out items, the sort that are more than likely to end up on the sale rail.  I'm more than happy to pick up these 'weird' scraps.         

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P.S. When I Tweeted about Joe Fresh, one person did reply back accusing Joe Fresh of underpaying him/her as a freelance designer, which is one possible reason for the chain's affordable pricing.  I hate citing these sorts of examples without solid proof and I wouldn't single out Joe Fresh on account of undercutting designers, but of course, it does call into question whether we should know ALL the underbelly dealings and facts that goes on behind the brands we buy.  If we investigated EVERY brand, at EVERY single level from design to sourcing to production to store management, the can of worms would be unstoppable.  It's impossible to take all of these factors into consideration without concrete evidence therefore more open cases of charges against fashion houses/chain might help.  For example, I no longer shop at American Apparel because quite simply, the reported tawdriness sucks out any desire in me to go in there and get all enthusiastic about a neon singlet. Instead of airing unaccountable grievances through Twitter, I'd urge people to come forth and mount something in public domain to make change possible… 

Comments (29)

  1. love details of your outfit.
    camilla

  2. Natalie says:

    Love Joe Fresh. It’s really popular and they have had some really creative commercials in the past. And yes, it’s kind of interesting that they are in our grocery stores but there are now stand alone stores in Toronto. They also carry inexpensive cosmetics, which are pretty decent. Joe Mimran also launched Club Monaco (more pricer and more chic clothing store) and his wife is a fashion designer – Pink Tartan.

  3. Sophie says:

    I love the quilted jacket and the Prada shoes x
    http://thechicmuse000.blogspot.com/

  4. Shawna says:

    Great post! I’m Canadian, and shop at Joe Fresh every now & again. I agree that many of the products are quite plain & ordinary, but there have been times when I’ve discovered real gems at amazingly affordable prices. They seem to be upping their game however, and I am seeing more & more great pieces, like the ones you are wearing here – love your jacket in particular! :)
    <3 Shawna
    http://serpentinestreets.blogspot.com

  5. Ebeth says:

    Oh man totally love the coat! You rock it. I love the photos, especially the last one – you look like you’ve had it your whole life! Too cool.

  6. really, i love your sytle!!!
    GOLDEN night!!

  7. Alice Hammond says:

    One advantage of sweaters is that they conform well to the body without requiring the tailoring as woven garments.

  8. Dorothee says:

    Wow Love your mix with these items…Very stylish :)
    http://www.desperatelyseekingpegase.com

  9. glyza_deer antler velvet_ says:

    AWESOME! :-)
    deer antler velvet

  10. miguel says:

    ohhh myy…this one is really adorable…. grrr….hope to have one

  11. ambika says:

    I’d never heard of them before and the background is crazy–there are such chains here (Target for instance) that have grocery stores and clothing side by side but it’s always struck me as a weird mix…especially if the clothes are as interesting and awesome as what you’ve shown here.
    Just love your coat. Love it to death.

  12. Sean says:

    Great look, really sharp! Do they have a men’s line, or do their women’s clothes seem unisex-ish (no female-customer-specific seams?) Thanks~

  13. Love that coat! and those neon fur mixed shoes! wow fucking amazing!
    Your blog is so inspirational!
    love,
    Nathalie
    http://www.styllist.blogspot.com

  14. MR SLEEK says:

    Love the sleekiness of the coat! beautiful piece!
    http://sleekdesignmontreal.blogspot.com/
    _MR SLEEK_

  15. L. says:

    Interesting to see the attention to Joe Fresh on your blog! I’m Canadian (from Saskatchewan) and have been watching Joe Fresh since the beginning. Its been fascinating to see how the brand has overcome what were initially very humble, very boring beginnings and associations with the Superstore range of random two dollar tees and ill fitting shorts they used to carry. The grocery chain used to be simply just a source for cheap but colourful socks and underwear and have grown to where they are now a part of Toronto Fashion Week with Joe Fresh. Its a scenario that seems just as weird to us Canadians who have seen them grow from nothing. Hadn’t heard they opened a location in NY. Wow. In answer to your one reader’s question about a men’s line, yes, my bf loves their men’s shirts and has even found a great tie or two there in past seasons. Overall great for staples of reasonable quality for the price and every once in a while a very awesome little gem appears on their racks like the ones you found on your visit.

  16. matt says:

    Very unique jacket you bought there. I always ask myself is it something that I can purchase while I am at home? If not then it is worth buying because how often do you get to go on vacation?

  17. Janice says:

    Interestingly, the same family/company (the Westons) who own Loblaws also owns Selfridges…

  18. ShoeTease says:

    Shocked & pleased to see our much loved Canadian brand featured on your amazing blog! I completely agree however that most of the clothing is a tad bland & rather commercial. But if you’re lucky enough to get your hands those couple of the funky & original pieces in your size, it kind of feels like you’ve won the lottery!
    xo ShoeTease

  19. That coat looks amazing. Just the perfect colors added to grey: Orange and green.
    And you shoes… to die for, still…
    XO Charlotte
    http://www.thefashionguitar.com

  20. la femme says:

    I never thought I’d see you in Joe Fresh :) I pop in whenever grocery shopping at Loblaws. The coat looks great on you!

  21. The garments looks very comfortable when using it when its winter. Very fashionable that you can wear it when you want to go somewhere else.

  22. Aja says:

    I love it too. It’s funny based on the name alone, I would totally skip over the store.

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