Joan Burstein

Joan Burstein

Founder, Browns

She established the upscale London retailer with her husband and was one of the first to stock Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan.

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United Kingdom Retailers

She established the upscale London retailer with her husband and was one of the first to stock Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan.

Biography

Joan Burstein has owned and run London’s most influential boutique Browns since she founded it in 1970, with her husband Sidney. Her greatest contribution to the fashion industry however, is undoubtedly her unerring ability to spot, stock and support avant-garde talent.

Dubbed ‘Mrs B’, and thought of as the ‘fairy godmother’ of fashion, Burstein is credited with being the first to stock Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Gareth Pugh, Hussein Chalayan and Christopher Kane. “As a fashion buyer I will always take a risk,” Burstein exclaims.

It was also Burstein who brought Giorgio Armani, Donna Karen, Sonia Rykiel, Jil Sander, Missoni, Calvin Klein and Comme des Garçons to the United Kingdom. When asked about her talent for predicting fashion’s future stars, Burstein maintains, “[it] is nothing more than a hunch, it just happens. It’s a gut feeling. It’s gut instinct.”

Thanks to Burstein’s instincts, Browns has maintained its position at the forefront of London’s retail destinations. Describing her approach to stocking her stores, Burstein resolutely focuses upon the clothes themselves: "We buy only pieces we like, we edit tremendously. It's all about quality and individuality. It's all a concept. If I feel that something is a little bit different, then I'll take a small order. The designs must have a handwriting.”

Career

  • Browns
    Browns

    Founder 1970 - Present, London, United Kingdom

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