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Womenswear indies searching for brands to plug Pola's gap

UK womenswear independ-ents are scouting for a replacement for Finnish middle-market brand Pola, following its closure.

The label's autumn 07 orders will be honoured but will be the last collection, after brand owner Jukka Kurikka decided to retire.

Pola launched in the UK in 1981 and has between 250 and 300 stockists. It is known for its use of Tencel fabric, which is breathable and crease resistant.

Zoe King, owner of womenswear independent Suemar in Harrogate, said Pola makes up 30% of her sales. "We need to replace the kind of product that Pola offers," she said.

"I think our customers would appreciate it. It's a pity there hasn't been something put in place to continue the brand, because it will be missed."

Ian Haith, the UK agent for Pola, said: "It won't be easy to replace the brand. Retailers will have to wait to see which brands come out with Tencel products next season, or they may have to forget about replacing it."

Some retailers were less concerned. Paula Uragallo, owner of Cloud IX in Essex, said: "Customers liked it, it wore well, but it has not moved with the times."

Another stockist said: "We've been stocking Pola for about five years but it was getting expensive, so we'll probably have more to spend on other brands now."

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