LONDON — Hardy Amies is spreading its sartorial charm across more mainstream channels.
The British men’s and women’s apparel label has opened its first two men’s ready-to-wear shops in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Chester, England, as part of a new expansion strategy to create 30 stores in the U.K. within five years.
The company has also opened a women’s rtw stand-alone store in London, inked a licensing deal in Japan and formed a joint-venture arrangement in China.
“We are focused on expanding the brand,” said Nigel Brunning, Hardy Amies’ COO. He said the new retail units would “exponentially increase” the company’s annual turnover of 2 million pounds, or $4.1 million.
“We needed to start selling some clothes, basically, and you get a lot more turnover if you sell it yourself than if you use wholesalers,” he said.
The entry into the rtw retail market is the first time Hardy Amies has ventured past its bespoke tailoring business on Savile Row. Sir Hardy Amies set up the tailoring house in 1946, and his business took off soon after he was commissioned to create gowns for the Queen Elizabeth II, who was then Princess Elizabeth.
Before Amies’ death in 2002 the brand had made fashion history by holding the first U.K. men’s fashion show in 1961, and in its heyday had dressed the Beatles among other high-profile figures.
Brunning said he plans both to capitalize on this heritage and bring the brand up to date through heightened marketplace exposure.
The 1,500-square-foot Edinburgh store, which opened last month on George Street, was the first step in the new expansion strategy. The shop is housed in an historic building with airy interiors. Fixtures include suspended rails for apparel that exude a contemporary vibe.
Hot on the heels of Edinburgh, the brand opened a 1,200-square-foot men’s outlet in Chester, England, and another 750-square-foot women’s wear unit in Fulham, London.
Both men’s wear stores stock the full Hardy Amies London Collection, including men’s tailored and casualwear. Prices range from 45 pounds, or $92.70, at current exchange, for a tie, to 475 pounds, or $978, for a suit.
“We wanted to try men’s wear outside London, firstly because the men’s wear range has been wholesaling already and we didn’t want the brand to become too men’s wear–dominated,” Brunning said.
But there’s room for women’s wear, too.
On Nov. 23 the women’s store opened, stocking only higher-end, Hardy Amies Black Label products. Eventually, the brand plans to create a Black Label for men that will be housed alongside the women’s wear. Prices for this line currently range from 175 pounds, or $360, for a jersey top to 2,000 pounds, or $4,120, for a full-length evening dress.
Hardy Amies is also keen to expand on the global front. The brand already has licensing deals in Singapore, South Korea and Australia, and last month it announced a new, three-year licensing agreement with Japanese clients that’s expected to generate about 650,00 pounds, or $1.3 million, in additional revenue within the next 12 months.
Management has also set up a partnership with Aussino Group in China to position the company as a luxury brand and set up two retail units in Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympics.
“We are trying to take Hardy Amies back to what it was famous for in the ’60s—a fashionable, directional and contemporary brand—and we are just trying to re-create that spirit now,” Brunning said.