Fashion: More than just a phase

Original yummy mummy shop Phase Eight is now the go-to, go-anywhere label. Stephanie Smith reports.

Meredith blouse, £59. Autumn range, call: 0207 471 4422.
Meredith blouse, £59. Autumn range, call: 0207 471 4422.

It’s been something of a little style secret among fashion-loving women for a few years now. Phase Eight is one of those brands that, once you discover it and try a few pieces on, there you go – you’ve got yourself a go-to store that you can rely on to come up with something you’ll love and be able to wear, no matter what you’re up to.

It’s thanks to a blend of wearability combined with a classic-contemporary luxuriously chic edge, offering clothes that are flattering and forgiving, but also on-trend, interesting and at a reasonable price.

The brand was founded in 1979 by Londoner Pasty Seddon. As a mother of young children, she found it hard to buy affordable clothing that offered both practicality and great style, plus a touch of sophistication, so she started to design her own pieces and then opened a small boutique on Wandsworth Common, taking the name from a combination of P Hayes, using her maiden name, and the address of that first shop, 8 Bellvue Road. She sold her stake in Phase Eight in 2005 but the brand maintains her core principles of design-led, affordable clothes in beautiful fabrics for casual, work and occasion wear.

Phase Eight has grown significantly over the past 10 years and there are now 430 stores and concessions across the world, in Europe, the US and the United Arab Emirates. In 2012, Phase Eight launched Collection 8 as a premium range of limited edition evening dresses with a luxe statement look. Many of its designs would not look out of place on the red carpet, and if you’re looking for something stunning to take on your cruise or for a special do, it’s really worth a try-on. The sales are impressive too, and there are still some pieces left.

Last month saw the launch of Studio 8, a new sister brand created for fashion-adoring women size 16 to 24, available at John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser, and online at

For its autumn collection, Phase eight blurs the lines between occasion and casual wear, with shapes and luxe textures inspired for the 1960s and ‘70s. Stunning.