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American Vintage

The short-order womenswear brand is succeeding in its mission to change shoppers’ attitudes to basics

A 70% season-on-season sales uplift is no mean feat for any fashion brand, let alone one renowned for simple basics and separates.

With no added embellishment or flashy finishes and trims, surely it’s a challenge to entice shoppers in the current financial climate to spend their hard-earned cash on basics?

Not so, says Malene Majlund, director of Inexcess Fashions, the UK distributor of American Vintage, which is the brand in question.

“We can sell huge quantities of [these] basics because of the great fit and quality of fabrics. They are feminine, with a twist of fashion, induced with colour. We hope for a further 30% growth from spring 10 to autumn 10,” she says.

Born in 2004, the brand is also aiming to grow its UK stockist base to 140 over the next three to four seasons, almost doubling its current number of 80 UK stockists.

The short-order brand focuses on in-season luxe basics in soft cottons, wools, viscose and cashmere.

With a UK stock service holding up to 4,000 pieces at any one time, it is primed to cater for in-season buying and can turn orders for stock around in a day. Product that is not held in the UK can be shipped from the American Vintage headquarters in Marseille in the south of France within a week.

Six years since its launch, American Vintage has also hit the trend zeitgeist.

Its soft, muted shades and styles that are worn over one another fit with the layering and deconstructed trends shown by the likes of New York designer Alexander Wang for spring 10.

Performing well for autumn 10 is a V-neck cap-sleeved T-shirt in an A-line silhouette along with long-line knitted vests and a sleeveless knit gilet.

In terms of fabrication, silk has been added for the first time in autumn 10. Wholesale prices start at £8 for a vest top and go up to £50 for a jacket.

UK stockists include My-Wardrobe and Selfridges and independents such as The Hambledon in Winchester and Question Air, which has six stores in

London. The brand hopes to add the likes of designer mini-chains Flannels and Cruise to its list.

The UK accounts for just 5% of the brand’s global sales. Its native France is the biggest market, accounting for 40%.

Majlund adds: “American Vintage is a commercial brand and has potential to grow quickly. But we have a long-term strategy and want to remain competitive. There was a need to change the perception of a basics brand and American Vintage is the brand to do it.”

Essentials

£20

Average wholesale price point

2.7

Average mark-up on the collection

5%

Proportion of the brand’s total sales that UK accounts for

American Vintage 020 8960 6161

www.am-vintage.com

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