Eye opener: the latest romantic and wearable collection from iClothing
The year 2011 was not an ideal time to set up a business; five companies closed every day. And yet this is the year that iClothing, now Ireland's most successful online fashion business, launched.
Set up by Abbas Bari, iClothing was originally launched to showcase the lines that the family's wholesale fashion business supplied to independent retailers and clothing boutiques all over the country. Quickly, though, iClothing became a thriving business in its own right.
"It was right in the heart of the recession," design director Fawad Bari, brother of Abbas, recalls. "We found a gap in the market. The Irish online customer was only starting to develop at the time the website launched. The product was designed specifically for women who were beginning to shop online for the first time."
Key to their success was gaining customers' trust in terms of quality and sizing, the company's quick delivery, and creating a website that was easy to navigate. Now, customers range in age from 20 to over 50, professional women to stay-at-home mothers, all time-poor, now all comfortable shopping online.
The website stocks lines designed in-house and bought in, with new brands added regularly - five new brands have been added to the website this season.
Their own line, Marc Angelo, was established about the same time iClothing was launched. Its ethos sums up that of the website generally: "Our customer base would have been high-street and boutique customers," says Fawad. "We were hearing feedback about what they wanted; slightly longer lengths, a bit of a sleeve."
The brand was intended to sit in between cheap fast fashion, and costly occasion wear. "What we wanted to do was use good quality fabrics, nice prints, but we didn't want it to be expensive," Fawad reflects. "We source fabrics and manufacture the collections ourselves so we are able to keep the price lower."
This season's collection is both romantic and wearable. While it boasts a comprehensive selection of basics, it is also particularly strong on occasion dresses that are feminine but comfortable to wear. Sizes on selected items go up to a 28. The iClothing shoe selection is especially good, with all the styles of the high street but at a lower price point.
Photography by Peter Evers
Styling by Constance Harris
Words by Liadan Hynes
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine