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Ichi

High margins and trend-led designs have helped to establish Ichi as a key player on the UK young fashion scene.

Danish young fashion brand Ichi has been carving out an ever- growing space for itself in the UK market over the past few years. The brand is intent on giving its customers value-for-money trends and basics in a tough trading climate.

Ichi is part of the B Young group, whose other brands include Simple Wish, Gestuz, Frank Q and B Young. Ichi has built its distribution from about 20 UK accounts two and a half years ago to around 250 today, including the likes of department store House of Fraser, young fashion chains USC and Joy, and online retailer Asos.com.

Although aimed squarely at a youth audience, the brand has moved its target towards slightly older consumers since its launch in an attempt to avoid competing directly with high street players New Look and Primark.

Now, with the teenage and early 20s market in its sights, the brand’s collections offer bright, trend-led women’s daywear in jerseys and denim, although one of the bestsellers last spring was a chiffon wrap dress. The brand sits alongside fellow Danish fashion house Bestseller’s stable of labels, which includes Vila and Vero Moda, as well as UK denim and young fashion brand Chilli Pepper.

Ichi has six main collections per year, plus six “x-press” collections throughout the year. Product is designed and delivered with a four- to six-week turnaround, and the brand also offers a three-day stock offer on key lines. A Danish design team creates the collections, with input from UK agents on more local styles and fabric trends.

While the UK was the 11th biggest market for the brand a few years ago, it has now risen to fourth place behind Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland.

Part of Ichi’s growth has been spurred by the increase in mark-up that the brand offers. It prides itself on being able to offer retailers an irresistible margin. As well as its key retailer accounts, the brand is focused on independent retailers, aiming to give them a good deal in the face of decreasing footfall, increasing rents and unpredictable weather. Up from around 2.8 when the brand first came to the UK, typical mark-ups now are between 3 and 3.5 across the collection. Retail prices start at £6 for tops, with dresses from £5 to £35. About 80% of the denim retails for between £30 and £40, although some styles go up to £50.

The label is keen to develop more eveningwear and party styles. It has already extended its dress collection for Christmas this year as it moves towards capturing the sexy singles market. It is also expanding its premium sub-brand of more sophisticated styles Ichi Gracious, which launched for spring 08.

Ichi has also recently launched a marketing campaign to promote its denim offer. The ads, which are being run in fashion glossies, feature eye-catching pictures of a model in jeans emerging from a cocoon.

Ichi 020 7631 1602 www.ichi.biz

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