Desigual set to make Australian return – updated

(Source: Supplied)

Spanish fashion label Desigual is ramping up its presence Down Under, with the launch of its spring-summer collection, a decade after opening its first physical store in Melbourne.

The brand partnered with O’Rourke Showroom to showcase the new collection.

Desigual initially said it was launching the collection in new retailers, including The Iconic, but later clarified the collection would not be available on the site. 

The Iconic said there had been no communication between the company and Desigual.

Desigual said the move to expand its retail distribution is a step towards building a presence in Australia and New Zealand.

“Our goal is to ensure localised success, capture the essence of the Desigual contemporary product range, and most importantly, connect with our new target audience, young women in their 30s,” said Balázs Krizsanyik, Asia Pacific GM at Desigual.

“We are excited to partner with O’Rourke Showroom and expand our retail presence this year by partnering up with new retailers, making the brand more widely accessible across the country for a generation of the Desigual girl.”

Desigual’s Australian history

Desigual first entered Australia in 2014 with a store in Melbourne through a licensing agreement with Edwards Imports.

Janine Edwards, MD at Edwards Imports, told Inside Retail in an email on July 9 that her company was selling Desigual clothing in more than 70 stores including Myer and The Iconic, which later dropped the Spanish brand “due to poor performance”.  

“When approached to open a flagship store by Desigual, we chose Melbourne however we were not allowed to use the name Desigual, it had to be D-Store which made it extremely difficult to market the brand despite our outlay for promotional marketing on trams and billboards around inner city Melbourne.”

In 2014 Edwards told Inside Retail in an exclusive interview “there is scope for a Desigual store in each capital city in Australia”.

“This is the flagship, so once that gets going we are planning for one in each state,” she said. “Sydney would probably be the next logical step. The CBD is the area that Desigual likes to target so we’d be looking at Westfield [Sydney] or something similar.”

However, Edwards said this week she was never able to secure an agreement to open Desigual stores in other states due to the brand’s restrictions on branding. 

“At no point did I ever agree to open Desigual stores in other states, and our agreement as a distributor only allowed the licensing of ‘D – Stores’, not Desigual Concept stores. These are totally different store concepts controlled by Desigual.”

Edwards has since discontinued distributing Desigual products, but says small businesses in Australia have continued to stock the brand since then.

Spanish roots

Desigual is known for its bright clothing and brave marketing techniques, such as offering free clothes to shoppers who arrive in their underwear.

Thomas Meyer founded the brand in Barcelona in 1984. Currently, Desigual has 215 stores and is present in 107 countries.

The new collection comes as Desigual celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The brand celebrated the SS25 runway show last month with celebrities including Amelia Gray and SS24 campaign star Hari Nef.

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