UK buyers have been impressed by this Swedish womenswear brand’s sexy yet versatile designs.
The latest Scandinavian brand to turn the heads of UK buyers is Swedish womenswear brand Dagmar. The brand is the brainchild of sisters Kristina Tjäder, Karin Söderlind and Sofia Malm, who call their business House of Dagmar.
All three were working in fashion – Tjäder and Söderlind as designer and buyer for H&M respectively and Malm as a sales assistant in a retailer – when they paid tribute to their grandmother by setting up their label and naming it after her. Kicking off five years ago with just 10 pieces of knitwear, the brand soon carved a niche in its native Sweden. Tjäder says: “At the time, Swedish fashion was masculine or androgynous and we saw a gap for feminine looks.”
The brand took off and within six months the three sisters quit their day jobs to concentrate on building the business full time. It is now sold in 150 stores across 16 countries. In the UK, that list includes hip London indie Diverse and etail giant Asos. Tjäder says Dagmar is now concentrating on international expansion, with the UK a key market.
Anna Baxter, branded buyer at Asos, says: “Dagmar offers something truly special. It immediately caught my eye. Its specialism is knitwear that is nostalgic yet individual and wearable, and the brand furthers the collection with a mix of minis, maxis, leggings and flattering body-con shapes in a variety of fabrics including velvet and leather. It’s the mix of all these elements that sets it apart.”
The look, says Söderlind, is reflected in how retailers buy into the collection. “They buy key knits mixed with some strong items for the season, like luxurious silk dresses, leather skirts
Tjäder says: “I want to make really wearable clothes but like to think outside the box. So there are unusual things like knitted cocktail dresses and tailored cardigans.” Using luxe fabrics and mostly European manufacturers – in Portugal, Turkey and the Baltics – Tjäder says she tries to create versatile looks, using draping to create pieces that can be both sexy and serious.
Dagmar has invested in its infrastructure. It has boosted its sales and production teams and ramped up from two deliveries a year to two per season. Sales for spring 10 are up 30%.
Dagmar shows at Gallery in Copenhagen and Tranoï in Paris and is looking into showing in London. Söderlind says the strategy for growth is simple: “To go with key department stores and the strongest shops in key cities, and to grow in a sensitive and selective way by building long-term relationships with our retail partners.”
Mark-up on the collection
Number of pieces in the collection
Lowest wholesale price point, rising
Dagmar 00 46 70 74 85 896