The Danish contemporary womenswear heavyweight has overhauled its image to pack more of a punch.
This isn’t a turnaround, it’s about making the brand sharper,” claims InWear UK sales director Peter Andersen. Turnaround or not, the Danish brand has radically revised its image over the past two seasons, crystallising its design manifesto in a bid to communicate more clearly with buyers.
“At the end of the 1980s InWear was one of the hippest brands for city women,” Andersen explains. “But in the past 10 years those customers have been exposed to new brands, and there has not been enough innovation from InWear.”
Denmark – InWear’s domestic market – has in the past decade witnessed an explosion of smaller womenswear brands which offer customers trend-led designs with
personality. “InWear lacked the personality that people were looking for,” says Andersen. “When everyone else was showing new trends we were too commercial.”
Andersen, who was enlisted by InWear’s parent company IC Companys in September 2007, headlined his manifesto with a need to establish what the InWear brand stood for. He believes the InWear customer knows that there is more to life than clothes and lives a culturally rich life, dominated by work, family, art and music.
“In terms of design we’re still commercial, but what differentiates InWear from other brands is our uniqueness and the ability for customers to take pieces from the collection and dress them up or down.”
This versatility has led to the brand sharing rail-space with the likes of Set, Filippa K, Bruuns Bazaar and Noa Noa.
In terms of design, the collection is divided into three segments: Basics account for 25% of merchandise, the Core section is 55% and the design-led ‘Profile’ section makes up 15% to 20%. “We use the Profile collection to test product,” Andersen explains. “If a premium style in a premium fabric is having strong sell-through we can put it into the Core line in a more affordable fabric. And throughCatch-Up Express, our in-season trend offer, we can have a product from drawing board to shop floor in eight weeks.”
InWear has 200 stockists in the UK and Republic of Ireland, although Andersen is confident the brand could shoulder another 100 accounts.
The brand is opening concessions in six House of Fraser department stores this autumn in Darlington in County Durham, Shrewsbury in Shropshire, Birmingham Worcester, Maidstone in Kent and Oxford Street in London. It is also in talks with other department stores regarding further concession openings. “We have a great opportunity in the UK as the design fits well with what UK consumers are looking for.
“We have an edge that is Scandinavian but not too typically Danish that we cannot sell in the 30 countries we operate in – from China to Canada. The trick now is to provide consistency from one season to the next.”
InWear 020 8871 2155
23: Number of InWear deliveries each year
65%: Percentage of international sales driven by Scandinavia
£55m: Annual international sales for InWear
40th: The birthday that InWear will celebrate in February 2009