|Founded||1994 (as a menswear collection)|
|Headquarters||Spitalfields London, United Kingdom|
|Products||Men's & Women's retail fashion|
AllSaints, formerly known as AllSaints Spitalfields, is a British fashion retailer headquartered in Spitalfields, London, UK. AllSaints now sells menswear, womenswear, footwear, and accessories in 35 department stores and 65 stand-alone stores across the UK, Europe, Canada and the United States. Currently, 85% of the company is owned by Lion Capital LLP.
AllSaints was founded in 1994 by Stuart Trevor, and Kait Bolongaro, who was the original womenswear designer at All Saints, and who have since gone on to found the Bolongaro Trevor label. All Saints started as a wholesale menswear brand that sold exclusively to high-end retailers such as Harvey Nichols and Harrods. The company was named after Stuart Trevor's pseudonym, "The Saint", based on his initials "ST" and updated at the 1993 Notting Hill Carnival that Stuart Trevor attended, and spent much of his time on the renowned All Saints Road, which has been at the cultural forefront for those interested in music and design since the 1960s. The first stand-alone AllSaints store was opened in Foubert Place off Carnaby Street in London on All Saints Day in 1997. The company's first womenswear collection followed the next year (1998), born directly out of the expanding menswear collection.
Growth and expansion (1999–2011)
By mid-2004, AllSaints had expanded to 10 stores in the UK and was poised to launch its childrenswear line. Between mid-2004 and the end of 2005, controversial fashion financier Kevin Stanford, co-founder of womenswear chain Karen Millen, bought out each of AllSaints partners besides Stuart Trevor, thus acquiring a majority stake in the company. Finally in December 2005, Stanford bought out Trevor's stake in the company as well. In 2006, AllSaints sold a 35% stake in the company to Icelandic investment firm, Baugur Group, with Kevin Stanford as the majority shareholder. In late 2006, the company launched its e-commerce website.
AllSaints Spitalfields rapidly expanded globally in 2009-10. That same year the company launched its U.S.-specific e-commerce site and opened its first U.S. store in New York City. Starting in 2009, AllSaints opened stores all across the United States; including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, D.C., Santa Monica, Seattle and Chicago. By 2010, the cost of North American expansion was £43 million, almost double the original projected cost, and AllSaints began to have trouble paying suppliers.
Acquisition by Lion Capital (2011–2012)
In April 2011, due to mismanagement by Kevin Stanford, rapid expansion, and the collapse of Icelandic investment firm Baugur Group, All Saints was £53 million in debt and on the brink of collapse. In May 2011, citing AllSaints' international potential and online presence, Lion Capital LLP, the British private equity firm headed by Lyndon Lea, combined with Goode Partners to purchase a 76% stake in AllSaints Spitalfields for £105 million. Lion Capital effectively saved AllSaints from collapse, which would have resulted in the loss of 3,000 jobs. The firm began to take an active role in day-to-day management, and hired 8 new top executives to manage the company.
In March 2012, Goode Partners sold its 11% stake to Lion Capital as well as another 11% stake it held with other co-investors, leaving Lion Capital with an 85% stake in AllSaints Spitalfields.
Products and aesthetic
As of 2012, AllSaints Spitalfields sells menswear, womenswear, footwear, and accessories through its department store locations, stand-alone retail stores and its website. Aesthetically, AllSaints is known for offering sharp edge, directional clothing with a muted palette dominated by blacks, browns, whites, and grays. In reviews by fashion and style critics, AllSaints' clothes have variously been described as "British chic rock 'n' roll", a "romantically pre-aged look...that evokes the past and a post-apocalyptic future". The company's retail stores are best known for the exposed brick, weathered wood and metal in their interior and the large exterior wall of antique sewing machines that often frame their entrance.
The brand launched its first handbag line in September 2014.
In popular culture
AllSaints Spitalfields has had a connection to popular culture since its founding in 1994 when it was named after a famous London street (All Saints Road in Notting Hill). Young American and British celebrities are seen and photographed wearing AllSaints clothes to events and entering or leaving AllSaints stores.
The company's strongest connection to date has been to the music industry, where they have collaborated with many established musical acts, including: U2, Stereophonics, Robbie Williams, Kelis, and Kings of Leon. AllSaints also hosts underground events called "AllMusic Parties" intended to showcase emerging British musical talent. In 2010, the English rapper Tinie Tempah released a single titled "Frisky" that entered the UK Singles Chart at #2 and mentioned the brand in one of the lyrics: "I think I found a winner, with no ring around her finger. Her dress from AllSaints, but I think I’ve found a sinner". In 2013, Justin Timberlake released a single titled "Suit & Tie" featuring Jay-Z in which Jay-Z also mentioned the brand in the lyrics: "Tom Ford tuxedos for no reason. AllSaints for my angel. Alexander Wang too".
In 2011, AllSaints launched a project called "Basement Sessions" that features weekly performances and interviews from both emerging and established musical acts. Acts who have appeared on Basement Sessions include: Fatboy Slim, Aloe Blacc, DJ Harvey, Gary Numan, Tricky, The Naked and Famous, Kelis, Foster the People, and Alpines.
Activism and philanthropy
In addition to music, AllSaints is also active in social causes and public service. In Summer 2011, the company entered into a long-term partnership with the Not For Sale organization and launched a T-shirt line whose profits go toward combating human trafficking. Later that year, AllSaints released a short documentary titled "Voices of the Cloth" intended to promote British design and manufacturing. The company currently sponsors 8 scholarships in MSc International Fashion Marketing to the Glasgow Caledonian University, London.
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- Chiang, Bee-Shyuan, "In Something Familiar with All Her Black", New York Times, December 1, 2011.
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- Archive Chart. UK Singles Chart. June 19, 2010.
- "Frisky" Lyrics. elyrics.net.
- ""Suit & Tie" lyrics", elyrics.net.
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- Faulkner, Ruth, "AllSaints Releases UK Manufacturing Film", Drapers Online. December 12, 2011.
- "Voices of the Cloth: A Documentary Film", YouTube. November 23, 2011.
- "GCU London Scholarships Program", GCU London Website. Accessed July 4, 2012.