THE fashion chain River Island could be expanding into the US early next year.
And with the announcement last month that the store was working on a collaboration with international megastar Rihanna, the company seems to be writing its own success story regardless of the recession.
River Island, which has a number of stores in Ireland, including one on Grafton Street, is already firmly established across Europe and Asia, but may yet follow its rival Topshop, which opened a New York store in 2009, and has since expanded across America.
Although nothing has been confirmed yet, an early season check-in proves that River Island has plenty to shout about; its new collection is stocked full of its own take on the baroque splendour seen on the rather more exclusive catwalks of labels such as Dolce & Gabbana and Moschino.
Other key influences include edgy youth and street culture.
Prices remain resolutely low, even on items such as shoes and bags that boast thoughtful and complex design features.
"Our customers want fashion with an added twist, and that's exactly what we do," explains Farida Kaikobad, the store's brand director.
"New lines go in each week, keeping the stores looking fresh and ensuring customers come back for more. The whole team is very creative and I think this is reflected in our stores."
Born as a tiny East London wool shop in 1948, River Island started out as an independent clothing chain across the UK called Lewis Separates, which later morphed into the 1960s high-street hit Chelsea Girl.
Having resurrected the Chelsea Girl line in recent years, the company has also added credibility by working alongside designers such as William Tempest and sponsoring events at London Fashion Week.
"River Island is such a successful brand because its style feeds in straight from the street," says Katherine Ormerod, senior fashion news editor at Grazia.
"When you're in the stores, you see references taken from music videos, from street style websites and from style icons outside the world of catwalk fashion."