Never Fully Dressed seeks Los Angeles for its first US location – WWD
Lucy Aylen is surrounded by a whirlwind of colorful dresses, tops and skirts inside a small pop-up store opening Friday in Los Angeles.
The space, with large windows that overlook a plant-lined walkway in the trendy Platform LA store, is also filled with six-foot-tall plants that blend in with the outdoors.
In some ways, it’s a moment of deja vu. Three years ago, British label Never Fully Dressed had a pop-up store in Los Angeles with plans to later establish a permanent store in the city. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put that on hold.
Now, Aylen is opening a pop-up store in Los Angeles again and visiting realtors who point out some of the best shopping streets in the city.
“We’re just picking up where we left off,” said Aylen, who with a small crew was preparing the pop-up for a 12-day run.
Never Fully Dressed, or NFD, was founded in 2009 when Aylen took over her parents’ attic in east London and started a clothing company whose designs are heavy with colorful prints designed by Aylen and her team . At first, she sold her clothes in the Portobello and Spitalfields markets, known for their artsy and creative merchandise. Five years later, she opened a store in Essex.
“We were working in my mom’s attic, and she was like, you’re devaluing my house. I mean, we were stocking up on the stairs, and the rugs were getting worn out,” Aylen recalls, noting that her parents were also market traders.
So she opened a small store that also served as an office. This store was closed and open for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Aylen and her staff pivoted by selling more merchandise online and setting up a table in front of the store where people could take orders.
Now that the business world is getting back to normal, Never Fully Dressed is in expansion mode. He recently hired a new e-commerce manager who analyzes sales trends and helps fine-tune the company’s direction.
Analysis shows that dresses, which average between $90 and $130, account for 70% of purchases.
Most of the company’s sales come from the United Kingdom, followed by the United States, which accounts for 20% of its turnover. That’s one of the reasons for the Los Angeles pop-up — another pop-up is set to open in New York’s SoHo from October 13-22.
Australia is the third most popular country for sales, followed by Ireland and Dubai.
Never Fully Dressed is well known for its wrap dresses and versatile garments that can be worn in different ways. “We show clients how to layer our dresses with jeans or how to wear them with a duster jacket,” Aylen said. There are mini, midi and maxi dresses for more coverage, which have been popular in the Middle East. Wrap skirts are also very popular.
Until recently, the Never Fully Dressed collection consisted mainly of spring/summer looks that were changed once a month. “We tend to have a theme of the month, whether it’s Western clothing, ’60s Miami or whatever,” Aylen said. “And we’re heavy on the prints we design.”
Lately, the company has branched out into sweater knits and introduced children’s clothing, footwear, swimwear, underwear and reversible outerwear.
The label promotes sustainability in several ways. It ensures that its factories in the UK, China, Romania, Turkey and India are sustainable. And many of its products are made from recycled polyester or eco-friendly viscose.
A few years ago, the company launched its beloved initiative to buy back some of its previously sold merchandise and resell it. The concept started when Aylen was seen wearing an old NFD wrap dress on Instagram. People were asking about it, but it was out of stock. She realized there was a market for used NFD products.
Now, sustainability is part of the message the company is delivering across the world, with more pop-ups planned. In October there is a pop-up for Singapore followed by another in Sydney, Australia in November. Down the road, there might be one in Texas. “It’s just fun to be on the road,” Aylen said. “The most valuable thing you can do is just talk to your customer.”