If you grew up in the noughties and you’ve got your ears pierced, there’s a high chance that you had them done at Claire’s. Founded in 1961, the US brand – better known back then as Claire’s Accessories – first made its way onto British high streets and shopping centres in 1996. Its cult following of mostly teenage girls would typically descend on their local store en masse to get their first piercings and snap up Y2K accessory classics (think butterfly clips and choker necklaces).
As Claire’s’ customer base grew up and fell out of love with the brand, its decline seemed as depressingly inevitable as its early success. In 2018, amid a difficult retail climate, the business filed for bankruptcy in the US. The same year, it underwent a restructuring across its European arm, closing a raft of underperforming stores including in the UK. Fast forward to today, however, and the business has undergone a drastic transformation from an outdated mall brand to a firm favourite among a new generation of consumers.