I was in London for lunch at the rather good Cafe Boheme having a rather tasty steak frites, béarnaise all washed down with an excellent Gigondas. Full of the joys of impending Spring, I suggested a short stroll over to the Paramo Shop in Covent Garden. This wasn't my other half's idea of a thrilling retail experience, but well, we had just had a nice lunch and it wasn't far away and I never spend too long in shops anyway so we skipped on over there.
I wanted to take a peek at the new Velez trousers that I had heard so many good things of on the web, most recently from Andy Howell - thanks Andy.
It's a smart little bit of London with all sorts of first class outdoor retailers jostling for trade in the vicinity and so having found the shop I was full of expectation as it was to be my first visit.
Now I have to start off by saying that I am a total Paramo fan - I have worn Velez jackets for about ten years and am so supportive of them that I could almost be classed as a Paramo Disciple. The idea of a new pair of trousers that would be more stylishly cut than Paramo's previous offering (Cascadas - big and baggy) and in a wonderful black colour-way was just too good to be true and really had to be investigated, even at their seemingly expensive price tag.
Well, Paramo may well be a market leader in technical clothing but my oh my! What a dreadful shop! It has all the feel of a jumble sale as you enter - racks and racks of clothing suspended with precious little clues that tell you what clothing is where. The range of colours that Paramo comes in are not what most people would call 'bright and cheery' - for very good reasons - and so the resulting array of drab colours don't make for a cheerful environment. We mooched about the shop (it's not very large) and eventually, almost by chance found some trousers - then some more trousers and then with a bit of luck the Velez trousers.
They look like this:
Even from the photograph you can see how poorly made they are. Seams have gathered material and so they have a permanent wrinkly finish (so they will go with my skin texture then...) and the belt loops just do not fit the belt at all. The loops are far too big. This will mean that the belt will ride up above the trousers when worn and dig into you. The belt buckle itself looks really flimsy.
So why am I niggling on about this? Well, these are expensive trousers- they have a RRP of £140 and for that sort of money I want them to be better made than this.
Now I am not a retail guru and I don't really like shopping but I was with someone who could shop for Britain - and does. As a 'retail experience' she agreed with me - it was pretty poor. I really do believe that Paramo should get someone in to sort out their dismal shop. As we left we noticed that in the shop window Paramo are advertising for a new manager for this shop.