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Urban Outfitters’ Leifsdottir label to wholesale in UK

Leifsdottir, the premium womenswear brand owned by US retailer Urban Outfitters, is to launch in the UK and branch into retail as an “upmarket Anthropologie”.

Leifsdottir was launched in the US in 2008 by Finnish-born designer Johanna Uurasjarvi, who spent more than a decade as design director and then acting creative director at Anthropologie, the US womens­wear and homeware chain which Urban Outfitters also owns.

Joshua Sparks co-founded Leifsdottir with Uurasjarvi and is now managing director.

The brand has appointed M&L Harris as its UK agent and will launch a 125-piece wholesale collection in the UK for spring 11 in the coming weeks. It has already held talks with luxury department store Harrods, designer indies Matches and Browns Focus and designer etailer Net-a-Porter to carry the range, although nothing has yet been signed.

Uurasjarvi told Drapers: “We want to start small and slowly. Having key department store partners is always good but we need to make sure we have the right independent boutiques in place.”

Leifsdottir specialises in contemporary day-to-evening dresses, but also offers separates, outerwear, footwear and handbags, which Uurasjarvi said combined a simple Scandinavian approach to design with vintage-style details. It is targeted at women over 30 and competes with French premium brands Paul & Joe and Vanessa Bruno.

Wholesale prices range from £42 to £322 and there is an average 2.75 mark-up.

Uurasjarvi added that Leifsdottir was also in talks to open its first standalone store in the spring, in an unconfirmed location in New York, and planned eventually to establish a UK retail presence.

“Our product is very modern but has a narrative, whether that is inspired by art or by history or a beautiful print,” said Uurasjarvi.

“The New York store will be a laboratory. We will probably look at other US locations and then the UK. I believe in retailing, because it brings you so close to the customer,” Uurasjarvi said.

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