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Last week we were invited to meet the crew at Mint Velvet, a small design brand that's just one year old, selling really nice clothes you can wear without having to think too hard. When we got there, it turned out that Jane used to work with half of them and so it was a mass of hugs and whoops all round.
Mint Velvet's story is interesting for two reasons: firstly the three ladies who run it, Liz Houghton, Jane Rawlings and Lisa Agar-Rea worked together at Principles for 15 years, before it closed in 2009 due to the collapse of the Bauger group. They were all jobless, but had an idea that there was a gap in the market for clothes for women like them (all 35 plus working mums) who loved fashion. So they just went for it, concentrating on great shapes and quality fabrics.
Secondly, within just one year, Mint Velvet has risen from an initial 10 outlets in House of Fraser stores, to 60 outlets, many in House of Fraser, but also now Fenwicks and John Lewis. You don't get that successful in just one year without having a good product. They also have two stores of their own in Windsor and Chichester as well as a website.
What we loved about the team was their appreciation of what women like us want, because they ARE women like us, albeit with better wardrobes. Liz and Jane told us that they all try every fit sample on so they can ensure everything works, and Lisa is the official 'fit ' model at a size 12, not the standard skinny size 8 youngster most companies use.
We loved the range, particularly the jersey layering which start at about £12 and run to £29, in easy-to-slot-into-the-wardrobe neutral shades. We loved the fact they were long bum covering Ts, made from lovely soft jersey.The leather aviator (pictured above) is £175 and super soft, and the leather military style jacket seems a wardrobe staple and £175. The 'don't call these Hoolihan trousers' are worthy of note, as is the useful leaf print dress made in silky hammered satin with a lovely blurry print.
Altogether a range worth seeking out and one that is clearly keeping a lot of women happy. Jane and I were given a jumper each to try and I am loving my batwing sleeve knit, it's great quality and very flattering and it makes me feel modern. Check 'em out and let us know what you think.