Laura Ashley targets global growth with IMG deal, fashion and beauty are key
Laura Ashley had big news on Wednesday with an announcement of a major deal with IMG “to expand fashion, home and lifestyle products that reflect the illustrious British heritage brand in a fresh, modern way in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, India and the Middle East”.
The multi-year deal will mean IMG working with the brand “to create new Laura Ashley apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty and homeware items through carefully selected licensing and retail partnerships and collaborations”.
It’s interesting in particular that fashion product is placed first on this list given how fashion — the super-category on which the brand was originally founded — had taken a back seat in recent years. Instead, under its previous owners, the brand had focused more heavily on its interiors products.
The label — which celebrates its 70th anniversary next year after being founded by Laura and Bernard Ashley in 1953 from their London flat — saw a “successfully” relaunched home collection in 2021. This was through its main retail partner Next on a dedicated e-commerce platform and in over 50 Next stores across the UK.
It also returned as a fashion brand on a small scale last autumn via a link-up with Batsheva Hay’s eponymous Batsheva label. That collab came with the kind of dreamy, romantic dresses that Laura Ashley was known for in its heyday.
It was particularly interesting that it came back at higher price points than it was previously known for too, with the collection retailing at prices up to $313 and £229, and available via upscale sites such as Nordstrom, Net-A-Porter and Matchesfashion.
Now it has even bigger ambitions for its wider product offer and Carolyn D’Angelo, MD, Brands at owner Gordon Brothers and President of Laura Ashley, said: “We are excited to be working with IMG to expand the brand globally. Following the success of our spring home collection relaunch and fall fashion collaboration last year, it is clear there is a strong customer appetite for a new wave of Laura Ashley lifestyle products. We look forward to seeing the first designs of our 2023 fashion relaunch spring to life for the brand’s 70th anniversary and for the next generation of Laura Ashley customers.”
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