Mail order fashion brand Boden may not be at the top of the list for UK millennials when it comes to revamping their wardrobe.
But after the company posted record sales in the US, it looks like the quintessentially British brand has found its target market on the other side of the pond – and the Princess of Wales may well have something to do with it.
The brand, which Kate Middleton has worn to public gatherings on several occasions, is known for its bold patterns and cute designs – and the US fondness for the British royal family is believed to have boosted sales of the brand across America. with some hailing the Princess of Wales as the ‘antidote’ to celebrities like the Kardashians.
British brand Boden, which has had a revival in the US, has been worn by the Princess of Wales for several royal engagements, including a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2018 when she was pregnant with Prince Louis, wearing a red Boden. wore jacket (photo)
Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh wore a Boden patterned dress as she attended the brand’s 30th anniversary in London last year
Actress Sienna Miller was spotted walking around New York City last week in a Boden paperbag jeans, which originally cost £80.
The Telegraph reports that last year, the brand founded by Johnnie Boden in 1991 saw a massive increase in sales over the previous year – from £111 million to £134 million. In the rest of the world, yields were significantly less impressive.
It’s thought that young people in the UK tend to shun the brand for its ‘mumsy’ style – which may not be helped by the old-fashioned catalog model.
Many British millennials, in particular, remember their own mothers ordering from the catalog in the 1990s, which has put them off. In contrast, people of the same age in the US don’t have the same associations with Boden, as it later branches out across the pond.
The paper reports that Boden’s US profits are now ‘far outpacing’ those of the UK, with the pandemic offerings appearing to have attracted a cult following for his ‘polished, but not too glamorous’ designs that were easy to order online.
Radio host Amanda Holden arrived in 2019 at a charity event for Global Make Some Noise in a Boden t-shirt and pink skirt
Glen Senk, president of Boden and US citizen, told the publication that it was the Britishness of the brand that was responsible for its thriving reputation on the other side of the pond.
He said: ‘Boden’s particular British sensibility resonates with the American client. We like British music, British theater and television – and we like British fashion.’
Glen added that ‘thirty year old’ women in the US see Boden as a brand designed for them, while women of the same age in the UK don’t.
Another possible explanation for Boden’s rise in America is the fall of the once-beloved J Crew brand, which was previously popular with young people but declared itself bankrupt in 2020 as the world was gripped by the Covid pandemic.
But one of the main reasons for Boden’s success in America is due to the appearances of the Princess of Wales in British-branded outfits – both at personal royal engagements and on Zoom during the pandemic.
In 2018, Kate, then pregnant with Prince Louis, wore a bright red collared coat during a royal engagement while visiting Great Ormond Street Hospital.
During the pandemic, she also appeared on Zoom calls for various engagements while wearing Boden outfits, including a £110 pink tie-tie blouse, as she spoke to Jasmine Harrison, the youngest woman to sail the Atlantic solo, on the occasion of International Women’s Day in 2021.
The Princess of Wales wore a £110 pink Boden tie blouse as she took part in a Zoom call to mark International Women’s Day in March 2021
Johnnie Boden (pictured in New York this month) admitted that the Princess of Wales has inspired new designs for his brand, which have been curated with her in mind as their target customer
A few months earlier, in November 2020, when the UK was locked down for a month, the Princess of Wales wore a £75 blue scalloped cardigan from the British brand as she joined a Zoom call to end her Hold Still digital exhibition to be marked.
And it seems Kate has started a trend among other public figures – with many British celebrities stepping into Boden outfits for big events.
In 2019, radio host and reality TV judge Amanda Holden starred in a brightly colored outfit from the brand – sporting a £48 multi-coloured striped t-shirt, paired with a pink mini skirt with a £70 pink belt.
Amanda donned the outfit to attend a Global Make Some Noise charity event – and made a grand entrance in the outfit when she used a scooter as a walking aid, following an injury.
Made in Chelsea star and mum of two Millie Mackintosh also wore a patterned high collar maxi dress from Boden last September to attend the brand’s 30th anniversary in London.
Most recently, Hollywood actress Sienna Miller stepped out in New York City in a gray Boden turtleneck sweater and white paperbag jeans — originally priced at £80, but currently on sale for £40.
New York-based fashion writer Eloise Parker told the publication that Kate was the “antidote” to Kim Kardashian.
She said: ‘No mother of young children wants to roll to the school pickup in form-fitting Balenciaga, but put on a printed maxi dress or a trench coat like Kate does and you’ll feel great.’
It seems the Princess of Wales has become a casual ambassador for the brand through her design choices in recent years, with Johnnie Boden recently admitting that the brand’s bosses design clothes with a Kate-esque figure in mind.