UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has helped UK luxury fashion brand DELADA secure a showroom and agent in Italy.
Founded in 2011, DELADA designs affordable luxury clothing for women between the ages of 30 and 45. Artist Lada Komarova started the Surrey-based company after working as a business manager for a friend’s clothing design company. Her positive experiences in the industry led to her decision to set up her own line in 2010.
DELADA now employs a team of five and splits its manufacturing between factories in South London and Bologna, Italy, to ensure the high quality of its apparel.
Breaking into Italy
Though the brand was founded in the UK, DELADA has had international customers from the outset. Its main markets are in the US, Russia and the UK. The company had always wanted to find a way into the Italian market when in 2012, a friend suggested that UKTI may be able to help.
Lada sent UKTI in Italy a catalogue and in September 2012 a trade adviser met with her to better understand the company’s designs and target markets.
In order to help DELADA find a dedicated showroom and agent in Milan, UKTI suggested that the company commission an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report. The report identified seven potential agents and UKTI then set up meetings for Lada with each of them.
At the same time, UKTI invited the company to take part in The Green Closet, an exhibition within the Milan Fashion Week in February 2013 organised by UKTI Italy, showcasing environmentally friendly fashion labels from the UK.
Lada, who often uses recycled materials in her designs, had the opportunity to meet with buyers and agents at the exhibition, including one that she had met with during the OMIS process. This agent is well established with showroom space in Milan who represents some of the fashion industry’s biggest names, including Narciso Rodriguez, Nina Ricci and Vera Wang. She offered to represent DELADA as well, giving the company the opportunity to sell its designs on a large scale.
“UKTI really took the time to meet with me and guide me through the process of finding an agent in Italy,” says Lada. “They didn’t just hand me a list of people and drop out of the picture. Our advisers have been at our side every step of the way, sharing their expertise and giving us inside knowledge on the discerning Italian market that would have taken me years to gather on my own. UKTI made it their mission to find an agent for us that would not just work but that would be a perfect fit.”
The Italian agent assisted DELADA with the preparation of its spring/summer 2014 collection. DELADA’s first collection at the Italian agent’s showroom was launched in early summer 2013.
The company’s presence at The Green Closet exhibition in Milan also resulted in other orders worth several thousand pounds from three other overseas boutiques. Building on the momentum generated by the exhibition in Italy, DELADA showed its designs at Wolf & Badger, which was the first UK store to support the brand, during London’s Fashion Week in September 2013.
For more information about business opportunities in Italy, please go to www.ukti.gov.uk/italy
UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy.
For more information on UKTI (including the support available for experienced exporters) please visit www.ukti.gov.uk. Here you’ll also find a host of fashion related case studies from companies who have met the export challenge with help from UKTI – find out how they succeeded and what advice they would pass onto others here.
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