Local fashion label and boutique Mai Loui recently moved from its Hutt St home of six years to a district better known for outlet stores. But Mai Loui’s new Glen Osmond Rd locale is part of a resurgence for both the boutique and the street.
Mai Loui owner and designer Anna Williamson (who runs the shop with fellow designer Georgia Guy) says Glen Osmond Rd is now a vibrant precinct despite the attached stigma. “There is not one [clearance shop] left on the street,” Williamson explains. “The precinct is definitely forming its own little vibe. Retailers on the strip are all offering something different: amazing cafes, boutiques of all different calibres, boutique hairdressers and graphic design studios. It’s growing rapidly in the right direction. “There was a small hesitation about whether people would or wouldn’t come to the area due to it previously being a clearance area. After conversing with fellow shop owners, even before the move was set in stone, all signs showed that people were very well aware that the strip has changed completely. But after a few months of being on Glen Osmond Rd, people still ask about the clearance stores. With many consumers, you will never be able to shake what it was previously. Focusing on the resurgence of this area is in all of the retailers’ best interests.” After six years on Hutt St, Williamson said she needed to reinvigorate Mai Loui as a business and label. “As one of two boutiques on the strip, there was not a huge retail focus [on Hutt St]. We had to reconsider where Mai Loui was heading in the near future. After seeing the developments happening around the Glen Osmond Rd area, an opening arose for us to take on a lease.” Times are tough in the fashion world and Williamson admits Mai Loui has experienced its fair share of trial and tribulations. “The one thing that has made this label survive through the testing times is the niche style and service that we provide. Having designers in-store designing and producing garments creates a bond with the customers. It shows we’re not messing around when it comes to trying to bring something new to the scene. We care about our product and build consumer awareness about Mai Loui’s background.” All of Mai Loui’s designs are manufactured in Adelaide and the cutting is completed in-store. Keeping it local is important. “It’s vital for us. Quality control is essential. The only way to really have our finger on the pulse is by having the manufacturing completed right under our nose … We endeavor to keep it that way for a long time to come, hopefully no GFC hurdles will hit again. Georgia Guy, who is now part of the Mai Loui team, is a designer who creates her own gear. We utilise the skills we’ve been taught for good.” Aside from the in-house labels, Mai Loui and Georgia Guy, the boutique stocks other labels including Mesop, Martini and POL. “We source labels that our clientele won’t be able to find in many other places. All the labels pretty much go hand-in-hand. The other labels we stock here are purely garments that we might not be able to get produced ourselves (such as knits, certain fabric garments, accessories etc). We also like to try and keep the labels sold through Mai Loui to be Australian based/produced. Williamson says coats and colour are the winter trends that are exciting her. “Get a few essential coats in the wardrobe and you’re sorted – the rest of the wardrobe will follow! This year we’re focusing on unique cuts for different body shapes. One thing that we get at Mai Loui is a variety of size and age groups, so catering towards these women is our mission. Another trend that is bringing joy into the bleak winter is colour. A lot of it too!” Mai Loui 90a Glen Osmond Rd facebook.com/MaiLouiBoutique