British Designer Brands on the High Street

Posted in Daily Outfits, Fashion.

I’m currently experiencing a bit of a pivotal moment in my fashion life. Look back into the Little Bird archives and a year ago, you’ll see I was almost always head-to-toe Primark, Zara or H&M. Fast fashion was my thing and my wardrobe was full of once-worn impulse buys.

In the last 6 months I’ve overhauled the way I think about clothing. I do still like trends and I’m far from a stranger to the Zara fitting rooms, but now I find myself looking for quality pieces that will last rather than the latest neon sheath coming out of East London. I love Whistles and NW3 by Hobbs, don’t understand the appeal of Nasty Gal (surely the name says it all?) and am already planning my second Mulberry purchase. It’d be easy to become a fashion snob, but rather than paying full whack for beautiful brands I hunt high and low for ways to save, which stops me from slipping into Made in Chelsea mode. 
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Dress, Uniqlo x Orla Kiely | Jacket, Clements Ribeiro via TK Maxx (c/o)  | Brogues, Somerset by Alice Temperley at John Lewis (c/o) | Bag, Mulberry via factory shop | Bracelets and ring, H&M

In today’s outfit I’m wearing pretty much head-to-toe designer clothing… all of it purchased on the high street or at discount shops. The only item that cost more than £150 is the Mulberry bag, and even that was almost 50% off the original RRP.

Spending £500 on a shirt or £2,000 on a handbag is insane to me. I don’t have that kind of money, but even if I did I’d be reluctant to spend it on clothing – maybe it’s the Yorkshire lass in me. Capsule designer collections available on the high street, like Somerset by Alice Temperley at John Lewis or Orla Kiely at Uniqlo, mean I can wear the brands I love without remortgaging my house (and I don’t even own a house).

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TK Maxx has long been a favourite of mine for snagging designer bargains at reduced prices – the Clements Ribeiro bouclé jacket I’m wearing here is current season and cost £44.99 down from £250. My Mulberry is from the York factory shop which I highly recommend if you want a piece from this beautiful British heritage brand – they also have factory shops in Somerset, Oxfordshire (Bicester Village) and Cheshire Oaks. The dress is from Orla Kiely’s range for Uniqlo and cost less than £20, and the brogues are Somerset by Alice Temperley at £130. You couldn’t get designer pieces for such low prices from a main collection, so these high street alternatives are an affordable way to wear the hottest names in British fashion.

Have you bought anything from a designer/high street collaboration collection? Ever found a high end bargain in TK Maxx or an outlet shop? Let me know what you think and share your advice on luxe for less shopping in the comments.


Annabelle Britton

I’ve been keeping an eye out for the Autumn new Orla Kiely for Uniqlo love the dress you chose still can’t decide which one to get myself! x



I love this but just wish there were most bicester village type places in my area! I own a few Mary Katrantzou for Topshop pieces & 1 sale Mulberry bag which I adore.

Love your jacket & dress by the way! x


Also if you fancy some real designer bargains – marc by marc jacobs stores have pieces starting at $10!? I picked up the most gorgeous skull necklace in New York a few weeks ago for that amazing price. x

Rachel The Hat

i am in love with the Orla Kiely for Uniqlo range, i have already invested in 3 items as i know i could never justify £200+ on an actual piece from her collections. And plus the range is gorgeous!
I love this look on you, having followed your blog for a while i have noticed your style change and mature in the most wonderful classy way. I look forward to seeing what evolves over the next few years xx

Kate Wyver

Beautiful outfit, I looooove the Orla Kiely for Uniqlo collection, I bought a top that I adore from it! I completely agree with you about buying long lasting clothes rather than getting things just because they’re on sale!


I’m all about ebay, I always find things I’ve lusted after a few seasons later on there for a fifth of the price.


I was super tempted to get something from Orla Kiely x Uniqlo. So many things have sold out and I am still kicking myself for not popping into the store when I was in london yesterday!

sandra moffat

Vintage all the way and scope out discount charity shops, cancer resarch have two in Edinburgh where i live and all the tops are £1 all dresses £4, all trews £2, jumpers £3 and so on regardless of brand or tags etc so good for quality and the purse and for keeping on trend i picked up a vintage blouse there at the start of last season and it was near identical to one i saw on the prada s/s catwalk i have had several lovely complements when wearing it 🙂 i love your choice of glasses in this look i love a good pair of spec’s x


Hi Sandra, I’m heading to Edinburgh next month – could you let me know where these shops are? They sound amazing!

Glad you like the specs too 🙂


Orla Kiely’s a recent discovery of mine, gutted I hadn’t heard of them sooner, their Uniqlo collection is amazing.
I’m only just getting into buying better quality on the highstreet and have only really gone for Zara standard stuff so far. The problem with fast fashion is just that, it’s so easy to just dip into H&M or TopShop and buy cos it’s cheap and just there (it also doesn’t help that I work in the New Look part time =|).
I do agree with you about TK Maxx though, I’ve started to really scout through the racks for bargain designer pieces now! xoxo


I like your style lady, quality over quantity every time for me! I used to wear loads of primark and new look but upgraded to shops like Zara and topshop and have recently been buying little designer bits and bobs that i know are going to last me for years. my whole family love TK Maxx, such great value and in the big shops they do Prada, Miu Miu, Paul Smith etc. just amazing! x


Its nice to see a blog post about something like this. I too have found that buying designer pieces from TK Maxx/outlet villages is really amazing as its still an expensive and quality piece but a fraction of the price!
AND its lovely to see a fellow mulberry lover;)
The dress looks lovely on you but could i just ask what the fit is like? xx


Hi Zoe, thanks so much! Glad you like the post and it’s always great to chat to a fellow bargain hunter 🙂

The dress is quite a standard fit, I think… I got a large as I wanted it to be oversized and although the neckline is a bit too wide, the cuffs are a nice fit (think they would’ve been tight in the next size down) and the length is great. The good thing about this dress is the shape means you can get away with a bigger size without it looking baggy or unflattering!

Hope that helps.


Do you have any London-based TK Maxx recommendations? The stock seems to vary wildly by branch, and all the London outlets are on the outskirts. I’m reluctant to travel miles if I’m not sure what the shop is like. I’ve found some amazing stuff in the Bournemouth branch before, but it’s a bit of a trek from Hackney…


Hi there, I don’t live in London and have never shopped at TK Maxx down south so unfortunately can’t help you out there! I think it’s a case of visiting a few and scoping out the best ones. Good luck!


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