By Aimee Chanthadavong

There’s proof that consumers are still spending, as high-end gown designer Rachel Gilbert prepares to open up her first ever boutique store at Sydney’s iconic strip shopping destination, The Intersection in Paddington.

Already selling her products at 85 national stockists, director and designer Rachel Gilbert tells RetailBiz that the aim of opening a stand alone store was to offer customers a ‘one stop shop’ for Rachel Gilbert ready-to-wear and mainline collections.

“We want to offer our consumers the chance to experience the Rachel Gilbert Collections in their entirety. Our merchandise assortment within the store will compliment the overall diversity of the brand,” she said.

When asked about how a luxury brand like hers is surviving in such a fragile retail environment, Gilbert said there’s a high demand all year round for evening and special occasion wear.

“Our consumers look to our special occasion wear as being investment pieces which they are always willing to spend money on in exchange for high attention to detail and most importantly, reliability,” she said.

“We have invested a lot of energy into our design and production team to ensure the core of our brand offering is always delivering over and above to meet these consumer expectations and maintain market share.”

And while there’s a constant battle between boutique shopping and shopping malls, according to Gilbert, there’s room for both to exist.

“I think there will always be room for strip shopping, especially in Australia. We are lucky enough to live in a sun blessed country with a very pleasant climate (most of the year) and Australian’s love nothing more than to be outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine,” she said.

“This coupled with the fact that shopping malls promote more of a hustle and bustle shopping environment, means that strip shopping offers consumers a more comfortable experience with the chance to stroll and relax as they casually pop in and out of their favourite boutiques.”