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October 27

Tales of Retail: Diverse

By Ella Miista
Located at 294 Upper Street, not far from Angel or Highbury & Islington, is a boutique that’s been running for nearly three decades now. Its long track record is impressive but if you’ve ever been to Diverse, you know why they’re still going. Shopping gives me PTSD. Crowds of people on Oxford Street, the distinct lack of air in shopping centres… It just isn’t very appealing. Luckily making yourself available for 12-hour delivery slots isn’t the only alternative. This is where boutiques like Diverse step in. Not only do they make it tolerable for people like me, but they also sweep you off your feet with their stock. It’s the kind of shop you can go to without a clear idea of what you’d like - the carefully curated selection is bound to take you to places. Miista sits among some of our favourite brands, like Kenzo, Acne and Carven. It’s pretty much heaven there. Payday is this week, so a trip there might be on the cards! Until then, here’s the interview we’ve done with Saskia, the store director and head buyer. DSC_9575 Style icon: Jane Birkin, Chloe Sevigny, Frida Khalo, Stevie Nicks and David Bowie Guilty pleasure: Clothes, especially impractical shoes. Favourite blog: The Sartorialist Morning coffee: Flat white Song stuck in your head: Love Letters by Metronomy Staple in your wardrobe: Lots of denim jeans, white shirts and an Acne blazer. What’s the story of Diverse? The shop was founded 28 years ago by my mother and father. We made a range of t-shirts, which were snapped up by Paul Smith and Joseph, and it seemed a natural progression to open our own shop selling t shirts. I always worked in the shop, on weekends and during holidays, so it’s literally the only thing I know. I love the customers and have actually grown up with them. They are a loyal bunch. The atmosphere at Diverse is very laid back, I feel it’s important to create a sociable environment, where customers can just drop in for a chat sometimes too. DSC_9565 Do you have any traditions with the team? Well, we all play hard together, especially at Christmas when we have a big slap up meal, and usually find a good house party to go to after. How many people are there in the team? What’s the Diverse world like on the inside? Currently we have six people on the team, and a fair few of them have been here for over 10 years. So it’s really like an extended family. Who is the Diverse woman? Also, do you have any regulars that have been shopping with you for a long time? The Diverse woman does not follow trends religiously. She knows her own style, and has an independent vision. She's able to be creative with fashion mixing all sorts of elements in her wardrobe from high street to vintage. What’s your buying process like – what do you abide by when making your selection? It's an organic process – I follow my gut. I know instantly if its not right, if it doesn’t inspire me. How has Diverse grown since you started there? What’s new on the horizon? It’s a constant evolution, you can never rest on your laurels so I will be striving for new interesting brands and concepts - and celebrating our 30th year in the industry. DSC_9567 DSC_9570 DSC_9605 DSC_9607 DSC_9613 DSC_9623 unnamed Miista Elena on the Diverse window display. Diverse contact info here.
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