PUBLISHED: 23:43 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 20 February 2013
Defying the credit crunch, the shoppers of Solihull are still out in force. From high street staples to chic independent boutiques, dotted around the contemporary shopping arcades, pedestrianised streets and squares.
Defying the credit crunch, the shoppers of Solihull are still out in force. From high street staples to chic independent boutiques, dotted around the contemporary shopping arcades, pedestrianised streets and squares, there's something to suit everyone. We took to the streets to find out where the stylish set head for.
Words: Rachel Crow
Photograph: Stuart Purfield.
Name: Liz McConnell
Job: Part-owner of Bang & Olufsen on Drury Lane
We took over the shop 18 months ago from the previous owners.
Solihull is an ideal place to have a store like this. It's a high quality product
with a lot of loyal customers and the customers in Solihull appreciate that
kind of quality.
I think there are a lot of shops in Solihull that fulfil the need that customers
have for stylish products, but Mell Square itself isn't stylish.
It's a good place to shop because everything is close together and it's a
proper town centre. You can get around all of the shops on foot.
I suppose I like things that are a little unusual and different. There are a lot
of good places to shop. You have John Lewis and House of Fraser but you also
have all of the little boutique shops along Drury Lane, like Bridge.
Name: Lucean Brown
Job: Entrepreneur. Buys and writes software contracts
In Solihull I like to shop in Zara, John Lewis, Jones the Bootmaker and Faith. I also use Molton Brown products. I'd probably give it 6 out of 10 for shopping. A lot of the stuff is much of the same, so it could do with more variation and individualism from my viewpoint.
Women are definitely better catered for than men, 100 per cent, especially if you want something more trendy and casual, you struggle from my point of view.
For food, I don't think I'd rate it to be honest. I think it could do with something with culture and flavour. My parents are from Jamaica and so I think it could do with something more culturally diverse and a bit more quality healthy food and snacks. I'm quite into my nutrition .I've been to Wagamama and for business meetings, Fat Cats is good.
I think the evening venues are more aimed at people who want to go out for a drink and maybe want a quick bite. But if you want to go out and have a really nice meal and spend some time in a restaurant, I don't think Solihull really caters for that.
Name: Alison Barlow
Job: Manageress, Katherine Draisey womenswear boutique, Mell Square
We stock designers you can't find elsewhere in the region. They are niche brands, discrete designs and labels.
The shoppers in Solihull are very discerning, and aren't just looking for a name but real quality in terms of the cloth and finish and want something a bit different.
My favourite designer here is Marc Caine; the pieces are sort of everyday wear but with a little bit of a twist. From the new autumn/winter collections I like the Ann Louise Roswald sculptured dresses with bold shoulders or the cashmere sweater dresses by Don't Label Me, which you can wear with skinny-legged trousers underneath.
The wine bars and restaurants have become a lot more upmarket in recent years and Touchwood helped that. I like to go to Metro Bar & Grill on Warwick Road, the Slug and Lettuce and Must in Touchwood for a drink. Fat Cat on the High Street and the Town House on Warwick Road are good places to eat. I suppose my personal style is quite young and colourful and a little bit quirky.
I think the town is quite stylish if you compare it to a lot of the other little towns around the Midlands.
Solihull is a destination shopping town and a lot of people regularly come from quite far away. It offers unique shopping with the independents on Drury Lane
More up-market stores have opened in the last 18 months. We've just had a White Company opening in the town, and also a Space NK. Even having a little independent coffee shop is nice rather than getting another chain coffee shop.
Solihull's secret is its independents.
It has more than any other shopping centre, and they are independents with flair.
Name: Duncan Fewins
Lives: Formerly Solihull, now Warwick
Job: Lecturer in Theatre Studies, Stratford-upon-Avon College
Solihull has changed a lot since when I was younger; it's a bit more
cosmopolitan. Touchwood made a big change with the shopping facilities and
it's a bit more modern than it used to be.
I'd say it's become a more stylish town. There are a lot of nice shops on
Drury Lane and at the top of the High Street near the church. I shop in
Touchwood, John Lewis and Parkinsons
I think they could improve Mell Square because it's still a bit of a 1960s
arcade. It's quite nice as an open square, but the shops haven't got very nice
facades. I think with a bit of architectural tweaking it could be better.
Name: Lynsey Dyche
Job: Business Development Manager for Npower
I think Solihull is wonderful for shopping. Whenever I have a work meeting here I try and arrive a couple of hours before so I can get some shopping done!
You haven't just got high street; you've got lots of variety. There are some nice little boutiques. I've just been looking for a christening gown for my daughter and there are some nice little independent children's shops. I also like to shop in Warehouse, Next , John Lewis and Fat Face.
I follow the main fashion trends and wear whatever I feel comfortable in. Today my top is from Warehouse and my accessories are from Oasis.
The town caters well for all ages. There are a lot of spaces where you can take children for a bite to eat when you're shopping.
Names: Karen Such, Linda Oswin, and Sheila Treppiss,
All Live: Solihull
Jobs: Karen teaches beauty therapy; Linda is a housekeeper's assistant and
Sheila is retired.
Solihull is a stylish place since Touchwood opened and has good shops.
Especially now that John Lewis is here.
There are quite a few nice places to go from drinks or to eat. Metro Bar &
Grill is really nice and Fat Cat is good for food. The Town House is also a nice
smart place to go for a drink or bite to eat.
Solihull is a nice place to shop. It's always very clean and there's plenty of
variety for all ages. We've got children of similar ages, 25 and 21, and as soon
as they come back home they are out in Solihull to shop.
You've got all the main shops that you've got in Birmingham. All we need is a
It's improved since they've done away with the roads in the town centre,
because we remember it when you could drive down here.
I like to dress up and look glam because I go on a lot of cruises with my husband so need nice dresses for that and so like to wear them when I'm back home too. I like shopping in Wallis and Monsoon and Bridges on Drury Lane.
If I go out with my husband in the evening we will often go to the Slug & Lettuce in Touchwood and also Must Oriental restaurant on Mill Street.