Baleno arrived at Moda Woman just as the trend for outdoor lifestyle really began to make its mark on the industry. Now, as the Belgian label returns to the show this February, marketing manager Jo Warrilow reveals how the UK fashion scene has truly embraced all things outdoor into the mainstream of womenswear.
Q: What’s Baleno all about?
A: Baleno has been protecting countryside enthusiasts in the most demanding environments for over fifty years. The brand is renowned for its ability to deliver technically-advanced, stylish clothing, specifically designed to tackle all weather conditions. Baleno is able to draw upon its extensive heritage and expertise in developing innovative, state-of-the-art fabrics and designs stringently tried and tested to guarantee superior performance. The company's unrivalled in-house quality control procedures ensure that all products bearing the Baleno brand represent the ultimate best in class. Effortlessly sophisticated and smart, warm and made to last, Baleno successfully fuses technology with classic country fashion.
Q: How has the UK fashion sector embraced the label?
A: Five years ago, our Belgian-based MD Thomas Devos said that he couldn’t feel the vibes or get any feedback from UK customers, and that outdoor lifestyle simply wasn’t going anywhere. But five years on – after moving from a distributor to an agency network – we have multiplied our UK business 50 times over. Year after year, Baleno continues to increase its customer base in the UK, and we now have 150 stores distributing the brand.
Q: To what do you attribute such a sea-change in consumer attitudes?
A: The Country Lifestyle market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the fashion industry, and Baleno is one of the only companies in the sector to have their own production units. This means that Baleno can manufacture its products to the demand of the industry rather than only via pre-orders, therefore stockists can re-order most products throughout the year. Another factor in Baleno's success is its perfect price point, which works well for both the retailer and consumer.
Q: Where does Moda Woman fit into the brand’s UK growth?
A: Moda is where we can meet many key buyers from across the UK & Ireland. At the last show in August, we met many of the bigger retail chains and webstore buyers who appreciate the importance of outdoor lifestyle in the city.
Q: What’s new for the new season?
A: Autumn / winter 18 will see more technical, stylish and fashionable outdoor lifestyle clothing for active ladies in the country leisure, dog-walking horse and shooting worlds. Baleno has grown from designing and manufacturing technical performance clothing for the male shooter to providing a stylish, elegant wardrobe for men, women and children who are countryside enthusiasts.
Q: Who is the Baleno woman?
A: The country lady who wishes to look smart, elegant and feminine without jeopardising technical performance; all this without breaking the bank or needing to buy more than one jacket.
Q: How are you working to support your retail partners this Moda?
A: This year we have launched a new online hub (see here) which offers great support to its retail base. Retailers can find up to the minute content, news and PR available at their fingertips 24/7. We are coming to Moda with the aim of continuing to grow our active presence in the lifestyle market, and working with our retailers goes hand in hand with that.
Baleno is part of Sioen Apparel, whose headquarters have been in Belgium since 1960. Find out more about the brand ahead of Moda Woman here.