Eight geotag journalists exploring your city. This week: Creative London.

Passion for Fashion

By Ramona Fischer

It is one of the most talked about fashion destinations in London - yet it is hard to find.

I had to ask twice for directions, before discovering the location of the Designer Warehouse Sales in a narrow backyard in Finsbury Park.

Only five times a year, Roger Walker-Dack opens the doors to his fashion outlet - which is why 86,000 people subscribe to his website anticipating the next sale.

When the former menswear designer set up his business back in 1995, he was far ahead of time.

“I started very high, selling clothes of the likes of Dolce and Gabana or Vivienne Westwood at an affordable price,” he says passionately.

Roger sells one-offs, samples as well as end-of-range items of over 180 designer labels. The price ranges from five to 3,000 pounds and can be reduced up to 80 per cent.

He purchases his clothes directly from the designers. It helps him to offer reasonable prices, which in turn helps them to keep their finances afloat, he explains.

“As a Designer, I am good. But at running sales, I am the best,” says Roger with a sparkle in his eyes.

But selling is not the only thing that fuels his passion for his business.

Family business

Roger loves to keep things ‘nice and tidy’ and to take care of the business himself.

He lives in Miami for most of the year, but regularly flies into London to supervise each of his warehouse sales personally.

"I love what I do and I love my staff,” he says and looks at his bulldog that turns around, revealing a big blue ‘staff’ tag around his neck. “I love my staff without exception”, he asserts.

Having worked in the fashion industry for close to 25 years, Roger knows many of his customers for years.

Roger fondly recalls: “One of my customers lives in Seychelles. Whenever she is in London, there are two important appointments for her, visiting me is one of them.”

“I sometimes can’t believe it - some of my customers came here years ago with their children and now they bring their grandchildren,” he says and adds: “We are like a big family.”

This is London

The unique bond with his loyal customer makes him the brand he is.

“Sometimes we have so many people here that you can hardly breathe, while at times the place is rather quiet,” he says.

Most of his customers learn about the sales through personal recommendation says Roger and adds: “I never had to make an effort to get customers in here. People find me.”

But word-of-mouth is not the secret of his long-term success, he reveals.

“If you really want to be successful in this business, you have to be a destination.”

His warehouse sales clearly are a destination.

“I never wanted to be just one among many. I am not a shop for passers-by or tourists”, Roger explains.

With a wide gesture he points to the customers who are strolling through the racks. "All those people you can see came here on purpose“, he says.

Roger has students, professionals and customers who bring their designers along. “This place is living London," he signs off.
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