ONE of York's biggest fashion names has racked up another top award - after its customers helped it beat off some tough capital competition.

The Sarah Coggles store in Low Petergate can now boast to be the best boutique in the UK following its latest accolade.

Despite being up against a string of famous fashion retailers from London, support from the people who shop there saw the city centre retailer claim the title at the UK Fashion Awards, which are voted for by the public.

Sarah Coggles' success follows a hat-trick of prizes at November's coveted Drapers Awards - the fashion industry's equivalent of the Oscars - where it was named Designer Store Of The Year, Womenswear Retailer Of The Year and Independent Retailer Of The Year.

"What's impressive about being named Best Boutique is that it shows people are right behind us," said senior partner Mark Bage, who runs the store with his sister, Sarah Marwood.

"All our competitors were London-based, so it's great for a York store to win an award like this and it proves how loyal our customers are. So many of them come to us while they are students in the city and stay with us when they move away from York.

"We were up against many well-established, world-beating London names like Browns, Matches and Coco Ribbon, but I believe people voted for us because we're innovative, cutting-edge and also approachable - our staff are brilliant and we're not the sort of designer store which people think they daren't come into.

"Our website had two million visitors in the first year after it was launched, on top of the 280,000 people who visit the store itself, and that's what has swung it for us. It is a real feather in our cap - 2007 was an amazing year and to start 2008 by winning this award is an honour all our team are extremely proud of.

"We always used to keep our head down, try to do the best we could and not worry about awards, but maybe we should go in for more now!"

Sarah Coggles was set up in 1974 by Mark's mother, Victoria Bage, who ran a stall in York market which proved such a big hit that she opened the store, one of the north's first boutiques, two years later.

It now houses more than 200 designer items from names like Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Ralph Lauren and Nicole Farhi, and also sells books, photography, iPod holders, dog carriers and refreshments.