London-based manufacturer Fashion Enter has launched its own womenswear label, which it is selling direct to consumers online.
Belles of London has been created by a “collective” comprising three Fashion Enter staff members – CEO Jenny Holloway, development director Jennifer Sutton and production director Caroline Ash.
Each has designed six garments that reflect their own personal style, which have been brought together in a collection. Retail prices range from £60 for a jersey smock top to £225 for a tailored wool jacket with a printed silk lining.
The silk has been sourced from digital printer RA Smart in Macclesfield, and wool via the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield.
Holloway told Drapers the team has been discussing an own label collection “for a while”.
“Retail is so uncertain now,” she explained. “We’ve got to look at [business to consumer] rather than relying solely on our production prowess. We thought we’d be innovative and do something fun.”
Belles of London sells online via its own website, and Holloway is exploring the possibility of department store concessions. There are no current plans to wholesale, but she did not rule this out for the future.
The collective is expected to grow in numbers and could include some of Fashion Enter’s machinists.
The label will initially be marketed to the 32,000 people on the database held by Fashion Enter’s online portal Fashion Capital. Holloway said she expects it to be a “slow burn” that resonates with consumers seeking truly ethical clothing.
“We want our customers to know that, in the UK, ethical means having a workforce that is well paid and not coerced into working long hours.”
Belles of London also offers a made-to-measure service for its tailoring.
It comes after Fashion Enter, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise, secured £430,000 of funding to develop a tailoring academy in north London, where it will train more than 600 people a year.
It also acquired tailoring manufacturer Gloria Fashions for an undisclosed sum earlier this month.