Inspired by Burberry’s new ‘social networking site’, Art of the Trench, I met up with my Italian friend Cristina for breakfast and a long-overdue trip to the Burberry Factory Outlet at Hackney Central (ah, the luxury of Bond Street shopping just five minutes away).
Having heard rumours on the net about Burberry disciples hunting out jackets for a mere £80, we had high expectations and fully intended to emerge dressed like the slightly smug, Sartorialist-snapped hipsters on the site.
The outlet is like a shining fashion beacon, almost temple-like, in the middle of a particularly non-descript part of Hackney. On arrival, we were asked to put all of our world belongings (apart from our purses, conveniently) in the lockers at the entrance. Usually I’d be horrified at the thought of being separated from my keys, phone and other handbag essentials, but it actually lent to more efficient browsing and I knew my possessions would be safe under the watchful eye of the burly security guards and stern Italian lady on the door.
Our hearts leapt when greeted by a large, checked, although slightly hideous bag at the front of the store, which was just £149. We were ready to scoop up some of the more tasteful pieces, however, the so-called bargain was more of a mirage than a taste of things to come. The bags that you’d actually want to have on your arm, from the runway collections, were priced between £300 and £700, although this was a mighty discount from the original £1000+.
Discounts range from a shy 20% up to a massive 70%. Cristina found a gorgeous silk and net cocktail dress in either brown or red that was reduced from £1230 to £120!
Burberry tend to go for one style of shoe for the catwalk shows, and low and behold, I spotted the black patent leather heels with ruched straps from the Autumn/Winter 08 show and the olive green lace-ups from the Spring/Summer 09 collection, all gracing the tootsies of models like Agy, Daisy, Irina and Sasha.
My tops picks of the trip included a delicate, iridescent silver mac for £150, some studded/warrior leather gloves for £89 and some incredible black lace-up, calf-lenth boots for just £200. Cristina hunted out a gorgeous silk and net cocktail dress in chocolate brown or berry red that was reduced from £1230 to £120!
There are some more affordable items like perfume gift sets from £29, checked wool scarves from £69 and a selection of purses and jewellery, including the square warrior cuff from last summer. The great thing about the Burberry outlet is that there are timeless, investment pieces that you buy for a snip of the price and can keep forever. The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but if you’re in the market for one excellent quality bag or trench, then you can upgrade from high end high street to luxury for just a little bit extra.
The outlet doesn’t offer refunds or exchanges, so make sure you’ve tried on your purchase, that there are no visible production faults and most of all, that you really love it. It can be quite easy to kid yourself into liking the best of the pile in the name of a bargain! Come armed with Christmas money and scour the clearance rails with a fine tooth comb for the real discounts.
Burberry Factory Outlet, 29-53 Chatham Place, Hackney, London, E9 6LP
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm.
How to get there: Overground: Hackney Central Tube: Bethnal Green + 106/254 bus to Hackney Town Hall or 20 minutes walk.