Wild & Gorgeous
I Love Gorgeous rebrands to Wild & Gorgeous and launches boyswear.
By Laura Turner
12 August 2016
UK girlswear label I Love Gorgeous has rebranded to Wild & Gorgeous to incorporate a long-awaited boyswear collection. CWB’s Laura Turner speaks to brand designer Sophie Worthington to learn more.
For the last 10 years, British girlswear brand I Love Gorgeous
has been coveted worldwide for its beautiful, vintage-inspired dresses and feminine, ethereal designs. It is not surprising to learn, therefore, that pressure has steadily been mounting on the brand to introduce a boyswear counterpart.
While aware of customers’ desire for a boyswear offering, co-founders Lucy Enfield and Sophie Worthington
have bided their time in introducing one. So why now? The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary – the perfect excuse for a rebrand – and, well, Enfield and Worthington have finally settled on a new brand name.
“The honest truth is, until now, we simply couldn’t think of a new brand name,” says Worthington, explaining why boyswear hasn’t been introduced sooner. “We knew that ‘ilovegorgeous boys’ was never going to take off, and that we had to find a credible alternative that still retained the essence of I Love Gorgeous. We brainstormed so many options, from ‘ilovehandsome’ to ‘notsogorgeous’ and even ‘ilovegeorge’, but none of these appealed until we happened across ‘wild boys and gorgeous girls’, which quickly became Wild & Gorgeous. We love the new name – put our heart and soul into it, and into the new collection – so we really hope it will fly.”
With the brand name decided, the next hurdle, as for many businesses with big ambitions for growth, was sourcing a cash injection to cover the project. The duo discussed various methods of raising finance, including the traditional routes of approaching a bank or a private angel investor. While the latter was the means by which I Love Gorgeous was originally and successfully launched, Enfield and Worthington wanted an option that enabled them to share the brand’s journey and growth with their customers. Crowdfunding was the perfect solution, allowing individuals to invest as little as £10 for an equity share in the business. It’s safe to say customers put their money where their mouth is, too, with the original crowdfunding target of £300k quickly smashed, and a total of £700k raised.
“It is our customers who have got us to where we are today and crowdfunding allowed us to connect with them in a new way by offering the opportunity to become investors and share in our future success,” says Worthington. “The campaign, and its success, were the result of a lot of hard work by our team and we were so delighted when the work paid off and we exceeded all of our expectations. We were particularly delighted to discover that the majority of our new investors are I Love Gorgeous customers who believe in us and want to join us on the journey.”
Despite I Love Gorgeous girlswear now being called Wild & Gorgeous, the original design aesthetic has not changed. What has changed is the logo, packaging, gift-wrap and website, which all feature the new branding and corporate colours.
“We are delighted with the results,” says Worthington. “We had to be very careful when choosing the voice of the boyswear to ensure that it sat well alongside the girls’ designs. Having delivered a capsule a/w 16 boys’ collection, and designed the s/s 17 boys’ collection (now being shown to wholesale customers under the Wild & Gorgeous name), we are pleased with the way that the boyswear complements the girlswear and even adds a bit of ‘street cred’. We hope that Wild & Gorgeous will appeal to existing as well as new customers.”
So, what to expect from a boyswear collection created by a brand primarily known for girls’ partywear? Enfield and Worthington are acutely aware that while having to tick the partywear box for boys, what they don’t want to do is create a full collection of “poncey party clothing that no self-respecting boy would wear”. Hence, while they may nod to the brand’s roots with a boys’ suit, for instance, they envisage it to be styled with a T-shirt and scuffed-up Converse. In fact, the majority of the boyswear collection is intended to be worn as daywear or partywear; essentially the approach the brand encourages with girlswear. A sequin dress with wellies? Why not.
“We pride ourselves on design and detail, and that holds just as true of our new boyswear line as it does of the girls’,” says Worthington. “We are dipping our toe into the water with the boys’ a/w 16 collection, which is capsule and includes just day/partywear. For s/s 17, we have baby boys and accessories, as well.”
It is important to note that the a/w 16 boyswear debut is retail-only, to be sold by the brand. This will enable Enfield and Worthington to safely test the water and gauge customer reaction, with small quantities designed to help drive instant sell-outs of key a/w 16 styles. In terms of inspiration, think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Just as the brand has looked east for inspiration for its a/w 16 girlswear line, so it has for boys, with dragon and tiger prints and embroideries applied to laid-back classics such as denim shirts, T-shirts and loose fitting trousers. Hints of 80s punk influences also feature, with black and white stripe jeans, red tartan skinnies and striped cashmere knits for a cool urban look.
S/s 17 marks the first wholesale
boyswear collection, initially making up 25 per cent of the total girlswear offer, a percentage that will be reviewed based on response to the launch. Wholesale prices for boys start from £13 for T-shirts and shorts, from £16 for shirts, from £25 for trousers, sweatshirts and jumpers and from £31 for jackets. Themes and stories, meanwhile, include Circus, featuring striped cotton poplin tops, skirts and dresses in bold colours for girls, and striped slubby cotton kaftan shirts to wear with relaxed cotton trousers for boys. Elsewhere, a Cool Britannia, Mod theme sees iconic knitwear, skinny jeans embroidered with a Mod emblem and Harrington-style bomber jackets and matching trousers in fashionable Prince of Wales check fabric. Core customers need not worry: s/s 17 also provides a good helping of floral prints and Lurex detailed girls’ partywear as well as the brand’s signature jumpsuits in bold coloured prints. Furthermore, Enfield and Worthington have been working on a beautifully packaged newborn gifting collection for s/s 17, and alongside the boys’ mainline range, Page Boys have been added to the label’s Classic Collection, an area identified by the brand for potential growth, both in retail and wholesale.
“We hope that existing customers will love and buy into our boyswear collection in order to complement their Wild & Gorgeous girlswear buy,” comments Worthington. “That said, we do think that as Wild & Gorgeous, we are a more complete proposition and we hope that we will therefore attract new stockists in additional territories. The more the merrier...”
For the time being, the main focus is perfecting the boys’ collection and nurturing a successful rebranding in the autumn. The brand is also keen to build on its wholesale customers on a global scale.
“We currently have agents in London, New York, LA, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Norway,” says Worthington. “We would like to grow our wholesale accounts in all of those territories, as well as the Middle East and Korea, where we already have a fairly solid fanbase.”
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