House of Fraser acquires Issa as part of own-brand upgrade strategy

UK department stores retail giant House of Fraser said Monday that it has acquired London-based premium fashion brand Issa for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition underpins its strategy “to invest in improving the quality and designs of the most popular house brands.” A company spokesperson told Fashion Network this means Issa will now only be available as a House of Fraser label.

The company, which unveiled its strategy update in March this year, completely reviewed its house brand portfolio, concentrating on improving the quality and designs of a more focused group of labels. And it said at the time that there would be news of a new brand coming soon.

Now we know what that news is, The first new Issa range will be available both in-store and online from the coming autumn/winter season.
The retailer said “the brand will provide a destination for premium, glamorous and quality clothing designed specifically for event dressing.”

The move comes as UK department stores are facing increasingly tough conditions and are competing heavily to grow in the fashion space, as well as moving into more dynamic, high-margin areas such as beauty and ‘experiences’.

Rival Debenhams recently unveiled its own strategy reboot while John Lewis has been pouring resources into its own fashion offer with new house brands such as the denim lifestyle label And/Or and initiatives like launching Boden in-store for the brand’s first physical store presence.

The House of Fraser Issa range is launching with 50 options including key styles made with archive Issa prints, such as the Mia wrap dress and Darcy pleat detail dress. Marabou jackets, jumpsuits and a range of clutch and shoulder bags will also be included in the collection. For clothing, prices will range from £79 to £199, accessories range from £25 to £79.

The Issa brand was originally launched in 2003 by Brazilian-born, London-based designer Daniella Helayel. In its early stages, the label focused on creating silk jersey dresses at high-end prices. The brand garnered several celebrity supporters, including Kylie Minogue and Elizabeth Hurley, as it grew, and received global attention when Kate Middleton wore the Sapphire London dress to announce her engagement to Prince William in 2010.

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