Three former Warehouse executives, Paula Stewart, Karen Peacock and Kirstie Di Stazio, have joined forces to launch a brand new sustainable womenswear brand called Albaray at the beginning of April, 2021.
Boohoo snapped up the online businesses of collapsed chains Oasis and Warehouse for £5.3m in June, 2020, in a cash deal with Hilco Capital. It followed Oasis Warehouse Limited being placed in administration in April, 2020, paving the way for the trio to go out on their own to plan the launch of Albaray.
The brand will launch with a considered selection of dresses, separates and loungewear, with a focus on high quality and sustainable clothes that “don’t cost the earth.”
The first collection will be available on via albaray.co.uk, next.co.uk, johnlewis.com and selected John Lewis stores.
Paula Stewart, formerly Oasis and Warehouse Group Chief Product Officer and now Chief Executive Officer of Albaray, said: “It’s incredible to think about where we all were a year ago – pre-Covid, pre-administration. It’s been a year of enormous change.
“The pandemic forced us to press pause and reflect on the fashion industry and how we feel it should move forward. Subsequently, we have decided to take a more thoughtful approach, talking to a like-minded, environmentally conscious customer, who (like us) loves clothes, but is now questioning the impact of fashion. We believe we should all be buying better and buying less. We also firmly believe that good quality, sustainable clothes shouldn’t just be available at great expense.”
Albaray Chief Creative Officer, Karen Peacock, commented: “With our first Albaray collection, there is definitely a nod to the fact that comfortably working from home may well continue for a while yet and, yes, there’s a track pant! But what I’m most excited about is all the colour we’ve used and the prints we’ve created for the dresses in our first collection.
“I think it’s pretty clear that we’re all ready to have a little fun with fashion again! The brand ethos for Albaray is, first and foremost, to design great clothes that women will love. Then, at every stage of the process, we asked ourselves ‘what is sustainable about this?’ If the answer is nothing then we don’t make it. We have to commit to trying as hard as we can to lessen the impact that fashion has on the planet. By choosing a sustainable source of viscose for our printed tops and dresses, organic cotton for our loungewear, we believe that is a step in the right direction.
“One of my favourite pieces from our first collection, is the yellow polka dot dress with a shirred waist. It is designed to be worn in a relaxed way, but can also be dressed up a bit once we get the chance to go out to a restaurant or meet up with friends again. Made from the softest eco viscose, it has a simplicity that won’t date and can be worn for many seasons to come.”
Albaray Chief Commercial Officer, Kirstie Di Stazio, added: “Being a start-up has given us the opportunity to build a brand with values that we are passionate about. We care about our people, our practices and the planet – and every step of our supply chain has been considered to reflect our values.
“We are exclusively working with factories with whom we have long-standing relationships and trust to not only deliver a great quality product, but who we know are committed to looking after the people that make our clothes. Our retail partners John Lewis and Next have also been incredibly supportive and we are thrilled to be launching our brand alongside them. What began as a Zoom conversation between friends and colleagues, is now a very real collection of beautiful, women’s clothes, and we can’t wait to see them out and about, as we all hope to be. this summer.”
Comprising of 85 options for SS21, products include jersey T-shirts and vests, shorts, dresses, loungewear and jumpsuits, while knitwear will launch for AW21. The brand’s core customer ranges between 25 and 50-years-old.