After falling into voluntary administration in November 2019, owners of fashion firm Bardot initially saw the future of the brand as operating a smaller retail footprint alongside a larger focus online.
But when potential investors got cold feet due to the impact of COVID-19 on the retail sector, CEO Basil Artemedes and founder and creative director Carol Skoufis saw an opportunity for a far more radical transformation.
Repurchased by the founder, and with all of its retail doors closed during the voluntary administration process, Bardot is relaunching as a pureplay online retailer – something that the pair had considered before but were unable to achieve.
“We’ve grown through the last 23 years as a retailer, and put a lot of focus on what we can do within the four walls of a store,” Artemedes told Inside Retail.
“From a design perspective, we want to define that core DNA and put it online without the constrictions on price and volume. We can take a different direction now and focus on quality and premium design.”
Part of the transformation the brand is undertaking involves a significant step away from the fast-fashion space where it made its name, with Skoufis driving a push for a more premium, sustainable focus for the brand moving forward.
“I don’t want to be in the fast fashion market. I haven’t been wanting to do that for a while to be honest, it’s not what I believe in,” Skoufis told Inside Retail.
“Twenty years on from the brand’s [founding], it definitely needs some new DNA to reinvent itself for what the world is today. It’s a very different place.
“I want to do my bit for the environment. I want to design quality garments, and I want pieces to stay in wardrobes for longer than a season. It’s a whole new era for me and my customers, and I hope they come along for the ride.”
Skoufis also added the Bardot Junior brand would be integrated back into Bardot, where the two brands would sit together.
The shift from past to present has come with its sacrifices, however, with the voluntary administration process seeing all 72 stores shutter and its approximately 800 staff reduced to 25 at present.
These staff were all brought on from the prior Bardot operation.