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Leandra shirt | © Instagram @palomawool
Leandra shirt | © Instagram @palomawool | Paloma Wool Instagram
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How Did Paloma Wool Become the UK’s Cult Fashion Brand?

Picture of Sarah Leigh Bannerman
Fashion Editor
Updated: 21 December 2017
The phrase ‘modern icon’ is arguably too often attributed to things that don’t quite live up to the title but there’s one particular item of clothing that rightfully earned it in SS18 and that’s the Leandra shirt by new-brand-on-the-block, Paloma Wool. There was no escaping the coverage garnered by this easy, wear-anywhere piece over the summer and its artful line-drawn print was an instant hit with the style set. Here, we explore (beautiful design aside) what made it such a popular choice, and how Paloma Wool escalated to become a now instantly recognisable and perhaps more importantly, much mimicked, fashion label.

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The Leandra shirt via @thefrankieshop 💞

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When a fashion label is still in its early years of business it holds a certain authenticity that feels raw and personable, as if you’re in on a secret that no one else has been told. That’s what Paloma Lanna Santaolalla has achieved with her now-cult label, Paloma Wool. Launched as an expression of how she herself wanted to dress, it’s a true representation of her personal sense of style. And a popular way of dressing it seems to be, too. Much like a lot of new businesses these days, the Paloma Wool hype was built primarily through our favourite social media platform, Instagram. Not just present on its own profile, the label (namely the shirt we keep harping on about) made an appearance on the backs of some of the industry’s most celebrated fashion influencers and in quick succession. Seemingly overnight, the Leandra and its signature line-drawn naked lady print was everywhere, styled up for city living and layered over beachwear on just about every European coastline you could imagine.

The influencer effect is a strong one and the beauty of being a new and in-demand label is that the fashion set knows they’ve got to be quick if they want to be seen as having their finger on the pulse when it comes to new labels. There’s little worse than looking like you’ve jumped on a bandwagon in the fashion world, after all. That said, it’s no surprise that once the likes of Camille Charrière and Laura Jackson had been papped in their shirts, the product became one of the most in-demand items on the market and it sold out online in a matter of weeks.


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In a recent interview, Santaolalla stated that Instagram was the place where the brand could resonate with its customers the best, and right she was, as the social platform provides invaluable feedback in terms of consumer engagement, interest and demand. The shirt was soon re-stocked and it continues to sell out even now in the depths of the European winter. But the halo effect is a strong one and the new collection continues to gain coverage and momentum as we move into yet another season. Consistency in aesthetic is key and the designers’ interest in art and photography remains ever apparent. The result is not only a sense of consistency within her clothing designs but her lookbook and ecommerce imagery as well. Eclectic models, dusky lighting and a consistent colour palette renders each shot an accurate representation of the brand. Forever inspired, Paloma Wool has collaborated with a range of international artists to further develop its offering. Look out for the limited-edition silk scarves and Paloma Lanna’s second book which not only makes for a conversational coffee table piece but also depicts the progress of her project, now in its second year. Our prediction? The only way is up for this new-cult label and whilst a small edit of the current collection is stocked on the likes of Anthropologie in the US, there is still ample opportunity to grow not just its UK-based customer but its global interest as well.


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