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About Us

Van Mildert was established in 1996 as a men's and women's fashion boutique in picturesque Durham City. Retailing from an old 17th century Gaol, the Grade 1 listed building on Elvet Bridge leads to the cathedral in the heart of the city. The store certainly has character and 'Bob' the 'tour guide' even used to bring the city's many daily visitors to marvel at the store, shocked by the retail space we had created. Van Mildert was certainly new and exciting, retailing in a space with so much character and history.

This lifestyle store was one of the first really directional independents. Back then Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Comme Des Garçon, Helmut Lang and Costume National were only available inside of London, but now the North East had its own fashion lifestyle store - a haven for the fashionista. Books from Atlas littered the old shelves, home accessories from Atomic brightened up the display cases, and furniture from SCP was used daily by customers shopping to the latest sounds on Rough Trade. Local artists exhibited their work in store and sculpture installations from art students and the regions designers all had a price tag, adding to the lifestyle concept. Customers from as far as London would spend an afternoon in the store with some of the most experienced and passionate staff who still feature in the industry today.

Van Mildert Wins Three Drapers Awards in 2009

The best of the UK's fashion retailers and fashion brands were recognised with a coveted Drapers Awards at this year's gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, on November 18 2009. The Drapers Awards are recognised as a huge accolade by the fashion business with more than 100 retailers and brands vying for the winning laces. Now in its 19th year, The Drapers Awards, organised by leading fashion business weekly magazine Drapers, is a glittering event that recognises and celebrates the best in the industry. Awards categories champion the best of the high street and the leading independent fashion retailers across the country. The Drapers editorial team visited over 50 shortlisted entrants, to create a prestigious list of finalists judged by industry experts.

Van Mildert swept the board with 3 awards including 'menswear retailer of the year' for our MetroCentre branch and 'Young fashion retailer of the year' for our branch in Darlington. The third and final award of the evening was also presented to Van Mildert, the 'Independent retailer of the year'. This award is the highest accolade celebrating us as the best of the best in the UK. We are all fiercely proud of winning these awards, to be amongst finalist such as Selfridges, Harvey Nicols, Brown Thomas, Browns, ASOS and Top Shop is an acheivement in itself but to take home 3 awards including the ultimate recognition, show what we are doing is leading fashion retail in the UK. The Drapers Awards are like the Oscars for fashion. These awards are the most prestigious awards for the fashion industry, and bring together more than 1,000 industry leaders to celebrate and recognise the achievements of 20 of the most innovative and passionate fashion retailers and brands in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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