21 January 2015

Dressed for Success winners

Winners of the Dressed for Success awards for Brighton & Hove’s favourite festive shop windows were announced last night (Jan 20).

Imi Loa in Western Road, Hove was the overall winner of the competition, which was organised by Brighton & Hove City Council to promote the city’s independent shops in the run up to Christmas. Winners were also announced in six other categories in the competition, see full list below.

Twenty eight independent retailers across the city received expert advice on how to make the most of their festive window displays to boost their business.Shoppers could follow a trail of participating shops around the city, pictures of the displays were put up on the council’s website, and more than 2,200 people voted for their favourites on the council’s Facebook page during December.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the council’s Economic Development and Culture committee, said: “The standard of the displays was fantastic, with some really creative and imaginative designs, and we would like to thank everyone who took part and voted.

“Dressed for Success is a great way of showcasing the wonderful selection of independent and specialist shops we have in Brighton & Hove, which are one of the big draws for shoppers here. The council is committed to helping our local retailers thrive and it is one of a number of ways in which we support small businesses.”

Clare Morris-Coole, runs winning shop Imi Loa with her business partner Damien Compain. The shop, which sells gifts, homewares and clothes, featured a 1960s motorbike as the centrepiece of the Christmas display. Clare said: “We are delighted to win, and quite surprised as there were so many great windows in the competition.

“We try to be as creative as possible with our window displays to make people stop and react. The training gave us some fresh ideas and practical tips and taking part in the  competition was an incentive to push ourselves further. It helped to boost our trade and attract new customers and we are already thinking about what we can do for next Christmas!  The bike in the display proved a real talking point and was sold to a motorcycle collector.”

Ellie Kidson, from retail trainers Metamorphosis who provided tuition to shops taking part, said: “We feel incredibly passionate about Dressed for Success, as each year we see different groups of retailers embrace their skills and talents in order to raise their level of window dressing expertise.  This impacts not only on the retailers themselves, boosting their Christmas trade, but also on the experience of Brighton & Hove customers, as year on year we see the standards of window dressing getting higher and higher.  

“A fabulous window combines many elements such as strong composition, commercial thinking, creativity, use of colour, storytelling, styling and attention to detail.  It is fantastic to see all of the retailers take these elements on board in order to capture the attention and imagination of their customers. This year’s winner Imi Loa is a brilliant example of this, with their impactful display conjuring a feeling of nostalgia and wonder through their fabulous use of props, dramatic lighting and exquisite styling.”

Category winners:

Irresistible Image

Vintage Workshop (Kemp Town)

Most Visually Stunning

Eco Makers Emporium (London Road)

Best Silent Seller

Merlin & Ellis (St James’s St)

Most Theatrical

Vintage Workshop (Kemp Town)

Cleverest Concept

Imi Loa (Hove)

Overall Winner

Imi Loa (Hove)

Best Transformation

Pardon My French (Kemp Town)

Note to editors

-Shops from Kemp Town to Portslade took part in the competition, selling everything from food, fashion and flowers to toys, gifts, homewares, and wine.

-They received one-to-one visual merchandising tuition from independent retail trainers, Metamorphosis, on behalf of the council

- Voting took place from December 4 to 23. Five of the awards were decided by public vote, the Best Transformation and Overall Best Dressed category winners were judged by Metamorphosis with oversight from the council's Economic Development team.

- The training was part of a package of support for small businesses in the run up to Christmas

-   Imi Loa were awarded a prize of one year’s free Partnership with VisitBrighton. VisitBrighton is the tourism arm of the council, now working with 465 businesses across the hospitality and leisure sectors and receiving over 2 million unique views on their website in the past year. VisitBrighton Partnership provides many benefits to tourism businesses; their own page on visitbrighton.com, promotion of their offers, a listing on the VisitBrighton app, potential PR and press coverage and invitations to networking events. http://www.visitbrighton.com/partners/join-visitbrighton/benefits

Further information:



Brighton & Hove City Council press office 01273 291035 / 293033

Metamorphosis www.metamorphosisgroup.co.uk