How clothing boss got Norwich hooked on luxury
- Credit: Samuel Bradley/Belstaff/Dominic Castle
A luxury retailer which has been suiting and booting the fine folk of Norwich for more than three decades has shared the secret of its success.
Philip Browne Menswear opened in Norwich in 1986 and has since expanded through three stores - finally settling in its biggest location yet in Guildhall Hill.
But how did owner Philip get the Fine City hooked on the finer things in a high street dominated by fast fashion retailers?
George Browne, son of Philip and now creative director, said: "Dad would say the shop's success is due to calculated risk and luck.
"He started the shop because he never wanted to buy from luxury stores, he felt self-conscious. He just wanted somewhere with a bit of a vibe.
"When you come in you can hear good music, see good art and have good conversation. It creates a place that people know and want to stop into."
But Norfolk's rurality has also played a part in its best-selling brands, he added: "Our three biggest brands are probably Stone Island, Canada Goose and Moncler, which are all luxury outdoor brands."
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George went on: "Dad's really respected by those brands, he's always understood their vision.
"Our ethos is really about buying quality, clothing that's well-designed and made of good fabrics.
"But you can't get the in-store experience online. That personal experience can really be felt, we're not reading out of a script or a book.
"That's really the beauty of being independent. There are only ten of our ilk around the country, so we're one of very few."
And owner Philip, who is originally from Great Yarmouth, said: "I couldn’t have done it without the youth of creativity that has surrounded me, so thank you to all concerned, you know who you are.
"To those people who will take Philip Browne forward, you know the mantra: 'You buy the ticket, you take the ride.‘ Thanks for the ride Norwich, I can’t stop now, I’m far from finished."
George added: "People might think things about Dad because of the type of clothes we sell but he's the most modest man. It's so central to his success that he doesn't see this as his."