Covid-19 has had many impacts, being the detriment to many companies but the pillars that held up retail empires are now crumbling. I would never have forecasted that all 71 innovative stores disappear with the terrible virus. Exiting Oxford Circus station, the first vision is the black bold capitals of Topshop Topman, a building that has stood for 27 years. Meeting your friends outside the entrance, admiring the curated window displays, greeted by the beating feel-good records by in-house DJ, endless hours viewing the new-season collections, but feeling inspired. The store was one in a million, it was a community of people who appreciated the smaller things in life. Accessories, jewellery, clothing, shoes, brands, it had everything and more. Browsing or shopping, the free-spirited atmosphere was unlike any other. The authentic originality from festivals to Christmas, floor to floor of imagination. Welcomed to all nationalities, ages, genders. The Corona Virus has caused the extinction of the high street. When we see the day, the shops open their doors, I can’t express how paramount it is to visit and have that interaction with people, it might just make your day.
I was once the Copywriter at Topshop Topman; I wrote descriptions for products that were loved and cherished by millions of customers. My journey started in 2015 where I was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of Arcadia’s work experience in Digital Editorial. I felt so honoured to have been 1 out of 50 selected, to have been given a chance. When I went to the launch event, Sir Philip Green communicated about ‘Making your own luck’. This has always resonated with me, taking steps to build your future. I never filled out a university application…with the hope one day I would open the great office doors in Central London. The experience changed my life forever, I was accepted to return for a sixth month apprenticeship after my sixth form studies.
Working in the HQ, the people I encountered weren’t just colleagues, they were my family. We all had the phrase ‘One team, one dream’, and I would like to take a moment to focus on the word ‘dream’. I could never have dreamt I would have been made permanent three months into the opportunity. The company was generous with staff perks that brought a smile to your face and created a unity that everyone enjoyed and treasured. From sample sales to Christmas parties, it was all about the office culture. If ever a friend left the business, they always said the hardest thing about departing was the ‘people’. In life, if you are fortunate to work with amazing people it makes beyond a difference.
Behind the scenes, the Designers designed state-of-the-art clothes, Buyers bought into leading trends, the Studio shot wonderful imagery, each department gave it’s all. Highlights from Topshop’s own beauty range, collaboration with Netflix’s Stranger Things and unforgettable London Fashion Week show. I entered the business aged 18, nervous as anything and have also departed, not as a young girl but as a young adult. Arcadia shaped and transformed my life, my career in ways I will always be grateful for.
Being closely speculated in the public eye, I know that everyone is keen to say the wrongdoing but no one wants to give you a standing ovation or praise. My best five years has sadly come to a close, but I have seen Arcadia grow in ways that make me so proud. The global identity, the wide appreciation of followers and the ethos for having your own style. Working in an environment that welcomes passion and creativity was so cherished, I will truly miss it. Thank you if you bought from our brands online or offline, whether digital or in reality.
For everyone who has been a part of the magic, the loss of such trendsetting brands is a deeply sad one. But we must look to better times ahead, and reminisce on the great memories we all together shared.
As a writer, I know how important a great ending is on a page-turning book. I must say, this wasn’t the ending we had all planned or ever wished for, but working for Arcadia was rare. And the rarest things are hard to find but lucky to have.