Prêt à exporter: New foreign labels hit the high street

The Fifth Label, Stradivarius and Free People land in the UK to  shake up the high street

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Indy Lifestyle Online

It’s often said that the British high street is the best in the world for style. Whatever your sartorial impulses are, from the trusty favourites that have become institutions in English retail to newer additions to the marketplace, there’s a retailer ready and waiting to help you make a purchase.

And while we may be seeing something of a resurgence in the emphasis on the British manufacturing and textile trade, many of our most treasured stores come courtesy of other countries: Swedish-born H&M, for example, or Spanish-originated Zara.

This month, a new wave of international retailers land on UK shores, all hoping to make a mark on the British fashion industry. New retail spaces and the ever-growing online marketplace are attractive prospects for international names all hoping to grow their brand in one of the leading markets in the world.

The Fifth Label

Flash back 15 years and the most famous Australian fashion export was the Ugg boot. But now an increasing number of Antipodean labels are finding a place in the UK market. The Fifth Label is the latest one to land on UK shores. The brand is part of the retail group Australian Fashion Labels, which is the mastermind behind fellow Southern Hemisphere retailers including Finders Keepers.

The Fifth, as it is more commonly known, is a trend-led brand that focuses on creating wearable clothing at budget-friendly prices. Fast turnaround is key and the brand releases a new collection of 100 looks every month. The Fifth made its debut this month exclusively online with asos.com.

 

Stradivarius

Inditex, the Spanish answer to the UK’s Arcadia retail group, has a roster of impressive brands under its wing and this season brings another of its popular retailers to Britain with the introduction of Stradivarius.

Think of it as the younger sister of Zara. The brand carries the same trend-led, quality-fashion ethos but with a younger, more dynamic approach. First established in 1994, it’s not exactly a new name; if you haven’t come across it in Spain, you might well have seen it elsewhere as the brand has more than 800 stores in 57 countries and counting.

The website is already enabled to allow UK shoppers to buy online, but this month the first UK store will launch at Westfield Stratford.

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Stradivarius latest campaign

Free People

Free People is an American export, from the same company that established Urban Outfitters. The brand was founded in Philadelphia during the 1970s as a one-off bohemian clothing shop. After a decade or so of only being sold wholesale into department stores and boutiques, the brand was expanded and now has nearly 100 stand-alone shops across the US and Canada in addition to thousands of stockists. Very much staying true to its roots, the clothing is characterised by a bohemian aesthetic. Floaty skirts and vintage-style accessories make up the eclectic look and feel of the brand. UK shoppers can already get a fix online, as well as at a limited-edition retail space in Selfridges. For London Fashion Week, there will be a new pop-up store that will showcase the best of the brand alongside its debut footwear collection, which launches this week.

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