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New fashion label launched in Milan

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has helped UK luxury fashion brand DELADA secure a showroom and agent in Italy.

How often do you open your wardrobe and feel that you have nothing to wear to a special occasion? Fashion design label DELADA hopes to make that happen less often. 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.

“Our clothing is timeless and contemporary, appealing to women around the world,” says Lada. “We are now designing our fourth collection, for which I have drawn on my background as an artist. Each of my collections is unique and has its own character, usually based around themes from the art world. We are now designing our spring/summer 2014 collection and each season we find that our client base expands and our reach widens.”

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 from there 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 its 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 is an established multi-brand agent 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.”

Opening doors

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 will show its designs at Wolf & Badger, which was the first UK store to support the brand, during London’s Fashion Week in September 2013.

The company’s UKTI advisers plan to attend and will discuss how the brand can expand further in Italy.

“Without the assistance of UKTI’s advisers, we wouldn’t have attracted the attention of such a well-connected and influential Italian agent as quickly as we did,” says Lada. “Thanks to their support, I have even more confidence that our brand will take off in Italy. I would advise any brand considering exporting to get in touch with UKTI and consider commissioning an OMIS report. The detailed research we got made all the difference to our success. We plan to work closely with UKTI in other markets as we expand our brand further overseas.”

The UK and Italy

Italy ranks among the world’s eighth largest economies. One of the largest exporters, Italy is the second biggest manufacturer in Europe. Thanks to its geographical position, it is a crossway between Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It is also one of the top international exhibition areas. Having established political, defence and trade relationships with the UK, Italy is one of its largest markets. In 2012 Italy, which has a population of over 60 million, was listed as the UK’s ninth partner for exports – with exports totalling £8,087 million – and the eighth largest UK’s trade partner for imports. Italians have a natural instinct for high quality. They appreciate British technologies and professional services, but also high end consumer products. Top UK exports of goods to Italy and opportunities include machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, clothing and apparel, instruments and appliances.

Helping you accessinternational markets

Doing business in another country can be a challenge, so it’s good to know that UK Trade & Investment is there to help you succeed.

Through a range of unique services, including participation at selected trade fairs, overseas missions and providing bespoke market intelligence, UK Trade & Investment can help you crack foreign markets and quickly get to grips with regulations and business practices overseas.

UK Trade & Investment’s Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) is a flexible business tool, letting you use the services of our trade teams, located in our embassies, high commissions and consulates across the world, to benefit your business.

A service package could include:

  • Market, sector advice
  • Analysis of market entry strategies
  • Support during overseas visits
  • Identification of possible business partners

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