I think I may have admitted before that I’m not a fashion blogger. I have never kept up with fashion, as I am sure anyone who meets me or scrutinises my wardrobe would easily spot! But as a mother of two I do a lot of clothes shopping, and one clothes supplier which seems to consistently impress me is Next. The clothes that the kids have had from Next have always worn and washed well, and seem to last better than other high street brands. So when Next invited me to attend a preview event where I could get a sneaky peak at their new Spring/Summer 2012 collection I couldnt accept fast enough!
Next made it very clear in the invitation that kids were welcome to their preview event, and so I decided to take the geekdaughter with me for a girls’ day out. This was only the second blogging event I’ve ever taken her to, and I was a little apprehensive that she might get bored or play up. She on the other hand was very excited about going to a “Mummy blogger” event (it sounds really cute the way she says it!). We were sent a Next gift card in advance of the event so that we could get the geekdaughter a nice outfit to wear. I selected a gorgeous pink and grey striped dress from their current range, and the geekdaughter (thankfully) approved of my choice.
So last week we headed off to the Next head office in Leicester. “Despicable Me” on the iPad kept the geekdaughter entertained for the whole journey, thank goodness! On arrival we were shown into the “mock shop” – which really is a complete Next store inside the head office building! The store was laid out with the kids ranges from the forthcoming Spring/Summer 2012 collection, along with a small number of “sneak peaks” of their “high summer” collection. There was a great selection of toys to keep the kids entertained whilst we looked around – the geekdaughter headed straight for the colouring table and had a lovely time with all the pictures that had been provided (in fact she insisted on bringing some of them home with us at the end!).
Next had lined up some of their buyers to talk to us, and it was great to hear from them about the amount of thought and testing that goes into putting each of their collections together. We also got to tell them what we liked and didn’t like, and it was good to have that two-way conversation. I mostly focussed on the girls’ range, as the geekson is still living in his cousins’ cast-off clothes and doesn’t get much say in the matter, whereas the geekdaughter is getting more and more opinionated about what she wears.
I was really pleased to see that the dominant colours in the new spring/summer collection are blues, yellows and whites – hardly any pink to be seen! I’m not completely averse to pink, but it’s not a colour I tend to pick out for the geekdaughter, mostly because I don’t wear it myself (doesn’t match the red hair y’know!). The buyers were very keen to tell us about how the collections were put together – I think they referred to each stand as a “storyboard”, but to be honest that went a bit over my head. I just want nice clothes, I don’t need them to tell a story!
It was also great to see some really bold colours coming as well – both the geekdaughter and I fell completely in love with the gorgeous multi-coloured dress
pictured to the right, and I know I’m going to have to buy her one of those as soon as they’re available in the stores.
After she’d done some of her colouring, the geekdaughter came to look at the clothes with me, and she really couldn’t understand that although the mock shop looked for all intents and purposes like a real Next store, we couldn’t actually buy anything – she kept asking me to buy things for her! If she could have had just one item out of the whole store it would have been the red swimming costume with white spots and a cute bow on the top – she spent a long time working her charms on me to try to get me to buy it there and then, despite my telling her it wasn’t really a shop!
After we’d all finished looking at all the clothes, we were taken to a local restaurant which Next had completely taken over for the event. On arrival the geekdaughter was delighted to be given a Peppa Pig backpack with a few things in it to keep her quiet whilst we waited for food, which to be fair arrived very shortly afterwards! Both the geekdaughter and I enjoyed our delicious lunch, and I took the opportunity to catch up with some of my fellow bloggers whilst a very hardworking lady from Jo Jingles entertained the kids.
Finally it was time for us to head home, and the geekdaughter only just managed to tell me how much fun she’d had before falling asleep for the journey home!
Thank you Next for putting on such a great event. I was very grateful for all the kids distraction and entertainment that was provided, and the level of detail to which the day was arranged – for example ensuring that the restaurant served all the kids’ meals first. It was great to see a preview of the clothes that will be in store shortly, but it was even better to be able to speak with the buyers and talk to them about what I think of their choices! Both the geekdaughter and I felt really spoiled, and I must confess to being worried – the geekdaughter has already started asking when she can go to another “mummy blogger” event, and she’s going to expect them all to be as good as this one!
Disclosure: Next paid for my travel to and from the event, and gave us a £30 gift card in advance to buy the geekdaughter an outfit. During the course of the event both the geekdaughter and I received goodie bags.