UK specialist dress brand Forever Unique will branch into footwear for autumn 14, as it switches to forward ordering and pursues international expansion.
The line will include heels, flats and boots, primarily in leather with embellishment set to feature heavily.
Head of operations Sumit Jairath said the range will have 25 products with prices ranging between £150 and £300, “in line with our eveningwear offer”. Price points for eveningwear start at £70 up to £825.
Forever Unique launched five and a half years ago with 20 dress styles, catering to the premium independent market. It now offers 250 styles per season sold through wholesale and its own ecommerce site, and is in the process of diversifying beyond dresses.
In spring 14 it launched plus-size and swimwear ranges exclusively on its website. The plus-size range will be rolled out to stockists Asos, Shop Direct (through its Very channel) and House of Fraser later this year.
Jairath added the Manchester-based company, which posted turnover of £10m last year, is moving from short order to forward ordering from autumn 14 to keep up with demand from China, Spain, the Middle East and the US. The business also has distributors in Benelux, Greece, Italy and France.
“Our business is driven by 40% export. Introducing forward order will offer international buyers the opportunity to place earlier orders, in line with the more traditional buying cycle,” he said.
“It will also move us in line with brands that are being represented by our agents globally. It will allow us to ensure we are delivering product to coincide with the seasonal occasions that matter for Forever Unique – prom, the races, the summer social and party season.”
Jairath said the brand had enjoyed particular success in the US “because the prom market is huge there”, adding that “sales have been driven across all ranges … we have seen real success with styles that are more minimal, unique, stylised, tailored and understated”.
Three showrooms have opened across the US, in Miami, Los Angeles and New York. Trade shows have been highly successful for the company, Jairath said, so it is expanding its presence at the events. This year Forever Unique expects to be at Pure London, Who’s Next in Paris and WWDMagic White in Las Vegas.
“Wholesale remains the core of the business for us,” said Jairath. “About 75% of sales are still through this channel.”