It was only October 2014 when I wrote a blog post celebrating the fact that OPEN menswear had begun trading via the web after opening their first store in Stevenage just a few months earlier.
Last month the guys at OPEN contacted me again with a view to working with them on the SS15 collection, and I was excited to be involved with their apparent continued success. When I failed to get a reply to my emails I got in contact with a PR company that I’d worked with on an OPEN campaign previously and received a shocking reply explaining that OPEN are to cease trading.
It’s a further sign that the UK economy continues to struggle and that while men do enjoy fashion, they generally look more to the internet when buying. It seems the age old chore of traipsing around stores looking for that perfect item still remains a bug bear for us men, who unlike our female counterparts do not revel in the experience!
OPEN was born in 2013 and was originally based at the Granary in Barking East London,the company was taken over by sports giant JD Sports who wanted to add a mens fashion chain to their armoury.
Designed to rival the likes of Primark with their low cost approach and Blue Inc and Topman in the mens fashion stakes, they opened their first store in August 2014 and a further ten stores across the UK in following months. Stores popped up in Bristol, Bury, Leeds, Manchester, Brighton, Hanley, Leicester, Glasgow, Merry Hill and Northampton. The plan was to open a further 20-30 stores a year which would have put an OPEN store on the majority of our high streets.
It is said that after the challenges JD faced with the Bank fashion chain, they made a decision to move out of the fashion market and focus solely on the sports side of the business. They have said that there will be a small number of redundancies and that they are in talks to decide what to do with the eleven stores they currently occupy.
After attending the SS15 preview in london last year I wish all at OPEN the best of luck with whatever they work on next, particularly Head of Buying Stewart Messer who took me through their range and whom I had the pleasure to meet.
|Myself and Stewart Messer, Head of Buying at OPEN Stores|