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WITH a passion for designer labels, businesswoman Christine Hughes has always been a follower of fashion.At a time when other companies have struggled to make ends meet, Christine and business partner Jane Robertson have seen takings at their new Edinburgh based designer clothes agency rocket.They began selling pre owned high end women’s clothing at Stock Xchange in June 2009.Since then, wealthy clients have been handing in their unwanted or unworn designer garments for Xchange to sell, and cash strapped label lovers have been flocking through the doors from as far as Durham in the north of England.As a result, Christine and Jane have more than doubled their projected takings for the first six months.But Christine reckons the secret to their success is, ironically, the recession.The former hotelier, who once ran a five star hotel in Murrayfield, said: “This is good news in gloomy times. We’ve started up a business in one of the worst recessions the country has ever seen and are doing well. We have smashed our targets.”The nature of the business is recycling and, because of the recession, people have more of a conscience about what they are spending.”However, the current economic climate doesn’t mean Scots have to curtail spending on their favourite designer brands, says Christine.She reckons if you shop at Stock Xchange you can buy one off pre owned wardrobe staples often never worn for less than half price.The 45 year old added: “There are a lot of people who, like me, love quality key pieces and timeless items in their wardrobe but there is a price tag attached to that.”With Stock Xchange you are paying a lot less for a piece of that.”We all have mortgages and bills to pay. These things come first but if you’ve been used to quality, it’s hard to go back the way. A great designer agency is the way to maintain that status quo.”Top selling labels at Stock Xchange include Diane von Furstenburg, Missoni, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci while handbags and dresses fly offthe shelves.Recently a black, jersey style Alexander McQueen dress (RRP which was worn by X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, sold for justThis is just one example of the amazing less than half price deals at Stock Xchange.Christine, who has recently celebrated seven months in business, revealed: “There is something for everyone. We have worn once Armani suits that retail at and we sell them for to it’s less than half price.”We have Diana Von Furstenburg tops that would retail at but we sell them for “You can pick up Gucci sunglasses for We also sell Victoria Beckham’s Rock Republic jeans. They retail for but we sell them for around “Recently a beautiful Chanel suit came in. It had been worn once and retails at and we sold it for That’s a total bargain.”In the late 1990s, Christine ran a similar venture to Stock Xchange called New 2. At that time, it was one of the first clothing agencies in Edinburgh that exclusively stocked designer labels.Six years later, Christine bought a small hotel with her husband but after realising her heart was in retail, they developed it before selling it for a sizeable profit. This was when her friend, and now business partner, Jane Robertson approached her with a proposal for Stock Xchange and Christine jumped at the chance.The businesswoman, who previously worked in advertising, admits she’s always had expensive tastes in clothing but don’t call her a ‘label lover’.She admitted: “I hate the word ‘labels’, I really do. People think it’s about that but it’s not for me it’s about quality.”I love beautiful things. I love the fabrics, the quality, the colours all the things you only get with so called labels. My mother had a great saying, ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’.”I like quality clothing. I didn’t discover ‘designer’ until I was working in advertising.”One of my colleagues was heavily into designer clothes and as soon as I experienced how good the cloth felt, I got addicted to it.
mulberry darwin clutch bag New business allows women to pick up designer brand garments at bargain prices