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Here are some of this week’s news and features highlights handpicked by TheIndustry.fashion team.

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley is back in fashion as it unveils spring collection

At a time when so many brands are disappearing from our high streets, isn’t it so refreshing to see the return of a much-loved name? Laura Ashley is back in fashion with a new 47-piece collection available on its own site and at NEXT – and it’s a nice-looking collection too. I feel confident it will find an enthusiastic audience for its new line of dresses and separates that have been inspired by prints and silhouettes from its extensive archive.

Since it was acquired out of administration in 2020 by Gordon Brothers, the historic British brand, whose heritage lies in fashion, had been solely focused on homewares. Now it’s back doing what it was once known for around the world: creating quintessentially British fashion.

I think Gordon Brothers, NEXT and licensing partner IMG have pitched this collection just right. It is distinctly Laura Ashley and, while it has a vintage vibe, it does not feel old-fashioned at all. For those who don’t wear print (that’ll be me then), there are great plain colour styles too and some lovely blouses to pair with jeans.

Welcome back!

Lauretta Roberts, Co-Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief.

represent

Represent signs for first UK store in London’s Soho

At the beginning of this week, it was announced that British luxury streetwear brand Represent has signed for a 5,000 sq ft flagship store in London’s Soho, its first in the UK, set to open in early 2025. Positioned on the corner of Wardour Street and Broadwick Street, it’s a highly desirable location in close proximity to END, which also happens to be a stockist – along with the likes of Selfridges, Harrods, Selfridges and Flannels.

Perhaps even more of an eye-opener is news that the brand opened its first-ever standalone store at 461 North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, last month. Cracking the US market would be a real game changer.

Paul Spencer, formerly European Regional Sales Director at Puma, who joined Represent as CEO in the summer of 2022, is clearly a major force behind the growth drive. You certainly have to hand it to brothers George and Mike Heaton, who founded the brand in 2011. In fact, it all began as a college project that led to George realising he could sell his graphics on clothing, initially screen printing his designs on t-shirts out of his parents’ shed (or garage, I forget which) in Bolton.

Social media played a massive part in getting the word out there, and last year the brand turned over £80 million. Add to that, at the tail end of 2023, it launched a new performance apparel line called 247 by Represent, which is very much an extension of the brothers’ focus on fitness. The collections keep growing and new products are continually added, including now footwear. It’s intriguing to watch the brand develop from such humble beginnings. Especially as the brothers clearly live and breathe it.

Tom Bottomley, Contributing Editor.

Karl Lagerfeld H&M

Karl Lagerfeld for H&M (Alamy)

Happy 20th birthday fashion collaborations

It was 20 years ago that H&M and legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld caused a frenzy in stores worldwide (pictured above) with their ground-breaking designer collab. The Swedish fashion giant went on to team up with big names from Stella McCartney to Isabel Marant, Balmain, Mugler, ERDEM, Jimmy Choo. Each of them received a similar stir among consumers desperate to lay their hands on designer fashion at high street prices.

H&M wasn’t the first high street brand to collaborate with designers – Britain’s Debenhams had done launched its Designers at Debenhams concept back in 1993 – but this was the first collab to feature truly global designer names and to be launched on a truly global platform.

I loved reading our contributor Marcus Jaye’s feature, which looks back at 20 years of the phenomenon, and in particular reading the comments made by Karl Lagerfeld at the time in which he expressed his disappointment that the retailer hadn’t made his designs more widely available. Even though he was Creative Director at Chanel, a brand which seems to delight in freezing customers out through its endless price hikes, Lagerfeld wanted everyone to have access to his designs. And, rather hilariously, he, a man who lived in a gilded cage, accused the fashion giant of snobbery for not allowing that to happen. It’s a great read and trip down memory lane.

Lauretta Roberts, Co-Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief

Mytheresa

Mytheresa expects double-digit growth in Q3 despite ‘tough’ market environment

Luxury e-tailer Mytheresa today confirmed that its third quarter sales are expected to rise between 15% and 18% year-on-year. The company forecasts sales in the range of €230-235 million for the third quarter ending 31 March 2024. It also posted improved profitability on adjusted EBITDA, with an expected margin of 3-4% against the prior year quarter.

The rise in profits and sales from Mytheresa interestingly comes amid a slowdown in the wider luxury market. Following troubles at Matches and Farfetch, along with a recent drop in sales at LVMH, the retailer’s latest trading update injects some hope into the sector. It seems to be bucking the negative trend. CEO Michael Kliger still acknowledged the “tough” market environment, but labelled the business as a “winner” as it continues to “build a community for luxury enthusiasts and create desirability through digital and physical experiences”.

Sophie Smith, News Editor & Senior Writer.

In History: Roberto Cavalli’s inventions – from sand-blasted denim to leopard print dresses

Reading the news that Roberto Cavalli, one of the fashion greats in my eyes, passed away last week was a real blow.

Growing up in Essex with a mother who had a penchant for all things leopard print, Cavalli was one of the first designers on my radar. His pioneering efforts to ensure every woman’s wardrobe contained at least one form of animal print or snakeskin certainly didn’t go amiss in my household. He truly was a man who laughed in the face of ‘quiet luxury’.

Roberto Cavalli, the ‘more is more; designer otherwise known as the Leopard King, has flown under the radar in recent years. This week, TheIndustry.fashion took a look at Cavalli’s milestones and greatest achievements to remind us why he’ll go down in history as one of the most iconic designers of this generation.

Chloé Burney, Senior News & Features Writer.



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