London-based Sister Jane’s romantic, dramatic aesthetic is resonating with customers and is now extending to a new premium line
Swirling ruffles, sugar pinks, glitzy metallics, oversized silhouettes and a distinctive feminine aesthetic are the hallmarks of London-based womenswear brand Sister Jane.
Founded by former private equity investment professional Enrico Ziglio in 2011, with the goal of creating what he describes as “an accessible fashion brand with a personality-centric, high-end look”, Sister Jane has gradually carved itself a distinctive niche thanks to its dramatic and instantly recognisable handwriting.
Now it is preparing to expand its reach further, with the imminent launch of a premium, dramatic and opulent new line: Dream Sister Jane. Ziglio has identified a lucrative gap in the market for high-drama dresses at attainable price points. Wholesale prices range from £20 for a top to £50 for a coat. Dresses start at around £30.
Although Ziglio declines to give exact figures, he reports that sales have been growing 30% year on year for the past four years.
The brand boasts around 250 stockists worldwide, with 35 in the UK including numerous independent retailers and ecommerce giant Asos. It also has one own-brand store in Notting Hill, London.
Sister Jane launcheds its transactional website in 2013, and direct to consumer is growing strongly. Sales are up 80% year on year for the year to date, and now represent 25% of the business.
Internationally, the brand is popular in Japan, and a dedicated website for that market is set to launch later this year. The US, France and the Middle East are also growing markets.
Key styles include voluminous, ruffled dresses and vibrant, flowy, floral printed blouses. Its unique, eye-catching aesthetic has made it a hit with stockists.
“No other brand does intricate detail and bold prints like Sister Jane,” says Mairead McShane, owner of stockist The Dresser Boutique in Banbridge, County Down. “They always create the most unique pieces and their trend of adding those extra details like pearls and delicate ruffles to pieces is what makes their clothing so beautiful.”
Bethany Rowntree, founder of ecommerce site Studio B notes that the Sister Jane aesthetic chimes well with a growing theme in fashion as a whole – driven by brands such as Molly Goddard, as well as Copenhagen designers such as Cecilie Bahnsen and Baum und Pferdgarten.
“It’s all about oversized voluminous shapes, sheer fabrics, puff sleeves. There is something romantic and girlish about it, but also a statement high-fashion appeal,” she says. “The rise in Copenhagen fashion week and Danish influencers has contributed to the trend, as this is very much their style and, of course the ’Villanelle’ effect [from BBC drama Killing Eve].”
Ziglio’s brand takes a responsive, fast-moving and – it argues – therefore sustainable approach to producing these intricate pieces. It works exclusively to order on short lead times with its manufacturers in China. Eight drops a year are delivered to buyers, four to five weeks after they order.
“Our approach ensures that products are always relevant, and we are proud to have eliminated overstock,” say Ziglio. “This allow us to run a zero-waste business.”
In response to requests from stockists for Sister Jane’s characteristic style at a more premium price point and quality, the brand is debuting sibling line Dream Sister Jane for autumn 19.
It will initially sell direct to consumers, before launching wholesale for spring 20. Wholesale prices are slightly higher than those of Sister Jane, ranging from £40 for a top to £100 for a coat. Dresses are around £60.
Super-voluminous shapes, shimmering opulent fabrics and luxurious textures all feature within the collection. Particular highlights include the Bethany puff sleeve midi dress which is adorned with floral embroidery. The Gretchen maxi dress in a jacquard designed by the brand, is also a highlight.
“Designs are more maximalist: they explore the Sister Jane aesthetic and take it to another level,” says Ziglio, describing the brand as a “natural extension” of the existing offer. He plans to work with the same wholesale partners as the main line, and add some more premium accounts.
“We have developed Dream to allow us to push the design boundaries further, allowing us to use more luxurious fabrics and volumes,” explains Ziglio. “In doing so, we remain focused on offering high value for money even at a higher price point.”
He continues: “Dream offers more statement styles with an emphasis on design-led, investment styles. Many of the Dream Sister Jane designs feature atelier-style finishes such as French seams and intricate, hand-placed detailing.”
In contrast to the main collection, Dream Sister Jane will initially only offer four drops a year, as a result of the complexity of producing its pieces.
Ziglio is keen not to overstretch the brand’s existing supply chain: “We want to maintain the same four-to-five-week lead times as Sister Jane, which will require us to increase our supply chain capacity. While such capacity is being developed, we do not want to overburden our existing supply chain.”
Young shoppers are on the hunt for brands and designs with a unique style and story. With their responsive production model and insantly recognisable aesthetic, Sister Jane and now Dream Sister Jane are poised to capitalise on the demand for drama.