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Maria Hollins on modernising House of Fraser's fashion

House of Fraser’s womenswear collection for autumn 17 is “more modern, more fashionable and more keenly priced”, asserts executive director for buying and design Maria Hollins.

Hollins, who joined the department store group from Asos in May 2016, told Drapers her debut collection for the retailer was in line with the core HoF shopper.

“It has moved on. It is more modern and we’ve brought it in line with our core customer, not just in terms of fashionability but the prices are keener. We’ll never be the cheapest on the market but it’s about offering quality at an accessible price.”

Hollins said the team had also worked on fit for the firm’s in-house brands: “The silhouettes were quite blocky before but the cuts have been nipped in and are slimmer.”

For autumn 17 HoF has five in-house clothing brands: Linea, Biba, Label Lab, Maison de Nimes and Issa – which it announced it had bought earlier this month.

As previously revealed by Drapers, Dickins & Jones, Gray & Willow and Episode have been dropped, and Therapy will continue as an accessories brand only.

HoF is cutting between 30 and 40 third-party womenswear brand partners for next season, as announced in the strategy update in March.

Hollins said the business has an opportunity to capitalise on both the occasionwear and casual markets in womenswear, and some new third-party brands will be added.

“There’s a real opportunity to have a more modern and trend led occasionwear offer so we’ll be bringing in some new brands. On causalwear there is a lot we can do. We’ll be expanding the more premium casualwear, mainly through Label Lab and Maison de Nimes.

Hollins said there was less to do on third-party menswear brands, as the mix is closer to “where [HoF] wants it to be”.

However, she added that the number of formal and suiting brands swill be “shrinking”, in reaction to consumer shopping behaviour.

Last week HoF appointed Goodwood CEO Alex Williamson as its new chief executive officer, replacing Nigel Oddy, who announced his plans to leave the business at the end of last year.


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