After wooing buyers at Pure London, the womenswear brand has more to offer going into its second year
Created by an indie for indies, womenswear brand Darling is the brainchild of Nadia Moraes, owner of three-store north London womenswear indie Leila.
“I have been an independent retailer for the past eight years, and as buyer I became increasingly frustrated with the quality and price point of what was on offer,” Moraes explains.
“I wanted to build our shop on [the ethos of] affordable fashion with a boutique feel and felt the only way was to launch our own brand.”
The plan certainly paid off. When Darling launched wholesale at trade show Pure London in August 2008, the brand’s stand was a honeypot for buzzing buyers. Darling became one of the show’s most talked about brands, largely because of prices which start at a mere £5.
“In the early years at Leila I worked on the shop floor as much as possible and loved having direct contact with our customers,” Moraes says. “This enabled me to understand what they want – and what they want to pay.”
Darling, which targets 20 to 45-year-old women, produces four collections per year and at last weekend’s Pure London the brand showed its Christmas 09 and spring 10 collections.
Key styles in the 30-piece Christmas 09 range, which Darling turns around and delivers in eight weeks, include jet-embellished outerwear in rich tones of cobalt, cerise and chartreuse, with neutral anchor shades of black, grey, cream and fawn.
Spring 10 is about vintage-inspired dresses, says brand manager Natalie Mullins: “We pay attention to detail, with lace trims and intricate buttons, to create a really feminine collection.”
The 40-piece spring 10 collection will feature a trench coat in citrus yellow and charcoal, separates and knitwear.
Keen to build on its early success, Darling has plans to develop its own prints and launch an accessories line. “By developing our own prints, we can build a much stronger brand identity. Plans for accessories are still in development but we’re looking at bags, jewellery and scarves,” says Mullins.
Darling has 400 stockists made up mainly of indies, with other customers including etailer Asos and department stores Fenwick and Hoopers. The brand is looking overseas for further development – it is already represented in France, Spain, the US, the Middle East and Japan.
“We’d like to enter other markets such as Italy, where women like to dress up – that’s why we also do well in the Republic of Ireland,” says Mullins. “We don’t want to saturate the UK market.”
Number of accounts
Mark-up on the brand’s collection
Entry price point. Prices go up to £30
Darling 020 7636 6868