Competition: Win £100 to spend at Bedford’s Anorak womenswear shop

Anorak womenswear Bedford

One of Bedford’s little-known secrets is Anorak, a womenswear shop full of quality minimal classics and edgy fashion pieces with sustainability at its heart. in the Edwardian Arcade just off Bedford High Street.

Anorak is the brainchild of fashionista Emma Foley, who says she had no choice but to open the small shop in September 2019 as the “crazy idea about opening a womenswear shop wouldn’t leave my head”.

Browsing through the collections that Emma has personally chosen herself, you can see the influences of Scandinavian aesthetic, especially Danish design, that she loves so much.

“The Scandinavians are really great at making really well-cut quality clothes,” says Emma. “Their commitment to high levels of sustainability has become a blueprint for Anorak and now I actively seek out brands that make this a priority.”

And Emma is true to her word, currently stocking three Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified brands, and other brands that have GOTS ranges.

GOTS is the highest accolade you can get for sustainability and ethical standards in textiles. It means that everyone is earning a fair wage, right down to the people that farm the cotton.

Emma Foley owner Anorak Edwardian Arcade Bedford Image Emma Foley
Emma Foley owner Anorak in the Edwardian Arcade, Bedford. Image: Emma Foley

Brexit, COVID and Cost of living

It’s clear that businesses have had a tough time of it of late, for various reasons, but Emma takes that all on the chin and turns challenges to her advantage.

“When I opened the shop, I also worked for British Airways as cabin crew. Combining this with being a single mum, life was pretty full on, so I decided last year to leave my ‘safe’ job and concentrate on the shop,” says Emma.

“It’s been a roller coaster over the last three years with a lot thrown at the retail industry, but it’s forced me to think in new directions and offer more than just a retail space.

“Brexit, for example, had a big impact on independent shops like mine and the new importation regulations were a nightmare,”

This is where Emma started thinking about manufacturing in the UK and so she launched her own brand, Every Thing We Wear, in 2021.

“The idea was to create a range of really good quality wardrobe essentials made to last and made in the UK,” she says.

“It supports the UK textile industry while also having a minimal impact on the environment.”

So far, Emma has launched two collections and is looking to launch the third in 2023, but Emma is not just about simply finding something new to wear.

Emma Foley owner of Anorak as British Airways Cabin Crew. Image: Emma Foley
Emma Foley owner of Anorak as British Airways Cabin Crew. Image: Emma Foley

Win £100

During Covid, Emma came up with a Style Box idea where she puts together a capsule wardrobe based on a customer’s responses to a survey.

The box includes five items of clothing that can then be worn in different combinations to make six new outfits. “It’s proved really popular,” she says excitedly.

The Anorak loyalty reward scheme was also launched this month, giving regular customers a £25 voucher after collecting stamps in the store.

“I like to think of my shops being an experience for customers,” she adds, “but I do still think there are a lot of women in Bedford who would love my shop, don’t know I’m here in the Edwardian Arcade.”

Anorak really does offer something for all women, and you’d be hard-pressed to not find something you love.

In fact, Emma is so confident you’ll love her current or future collections, that if you visit her Bedford shop and don’t find anything you like, just quote “Bedford Independent”, and leave your email to be notified when new collections come in.

You’ll then be entered into a draw to win a £100 voucher. The competition closes at 14:59, 24 December 2030 and the draw will take place, live on Anorak’s Instagram page at 3pm.*

“I really want to get the word out I’m here and show the women of Bedford some really good collections, that I know they’ll adore,” Emma adds.

“I love being part of the brilliant Bedford Indies we have across the Borough. I have just opened a second Anorak in Olney, but Bedford will always be my first shop and I can’t wait for more people to come and see it.”

Anorak is at 13 The Arcade, Bedford MK40 1NS and is open Mon-Sat 9:30am to 5:30pm

*Full Ts&Cs apply. Read them here.

Advertising feature with Anorak