A wear now second most popular brand on Asos
Published 07/02/2013 | 04:00
The label beloved of Irish stylistas, is doing big business in the UK
Like hemlines, Awear's fortunes have risen and fallen in recent years and at one point the chain changed hands twice in four months.
However, as it showcased its latest looks – cute biker jackets in boucle and boyfriend-style denims – at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, the Irish chain announced a major assault on the UK market.
Next month, Awear hits London's Oxford Street, one of the toughest retail zones in the fashion world, opening a concession in House of Fraser, the first of 10 such 'stores within a store'.
In addition to a strong online presence in the UK, Awear's take on catwalk inspired looks and affordable casuals are wholesaling strongly and they have become the second most popular brand on Asos.com.
It also sells on Littlewoods.com, Nelly.com and has secured orders from Lamoda, one of Russia's major online fashion sites.
What a difference a year makes for the Irish fashion brand, which started out life as Gay Wear in Ireland in the 1960s. Last February, Awear's future looked grim after it announced it was sold to the Luxembourg based Jesta Group for an undisclosed sum. Jesta acquired Awear on a debt-free basis.
Hilco Capital had bought it in October 2011 as the chain teetered on the brink of collapse but sold it 12 months ago.
The colour palette of its new collection matched the company's upbeat mood yesterday and the chain, which now employs more than 400 staff, heads to London next week to showcase at the Pure trade show to wholesale its clothes, designed in-house in Ireland by Kelly Gurnan.
While prices have lifted, so too has the quality of fabric and design. A vintage-feel, sequin-embellished cami (€45) was modelled yesterday with a floral print skirt (€40). Pretty dresses average between €55 and €65.
Awear has re-opened its store in Liffey Valley.
The driving force behind Awear's new plans is general manager Sam Bain, who previously worked with Ebay and John Lewis.