British Label Never Fully Dressed Opens First Los Angeles Store

Lucy Aylen is no stranger to Los Angeles. The British designer who launched her colorful and inclusive label 15 years ago in London, has had a few pop-up stores in the sunny urban metropolis.

After her latest almost two years ago at Platform L.A. shopping center in Culver City, she knew L.A. was the place. It was time for a permanent store.

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“I really feel that Culver City was a turning point for us. I remember we had a tarot card reader at the store launch who said I hadn’t been making decisions. And I am normally so decisive as a person,” the designer recalled. “Last year, I felt I had done so much homework, and we were really sure of who we were as a brand. I asked, ‘How do we use our voice and show what we stand for and what we want to be?’”

That led to the label’s first permanent U.S. store opening in New York’s SoHo district nearly one year ago and now a boutique in L.A. at 8406 Melrose Avenue. It complements the label’s online store and wholesale partnerships in the U.S. with Dillard’s and Revolve.

Aylen said she tried to bring a European kind of energy to the store stocked with her “Lisbon” and “Crafted Ibiza” collections of colorful dresses, skirts, tops and even swimwear, which is a first for a U.S. retail location. “There are a lot of natural materials in the store with stone walls,” Aylen explained.

A palm tree scene adds a Southern California vibe to the new store.
A palm tree scene adds a Southern California vibe to the new store.

Inside, you will find a vibrant array of clothing on racks and a palm-tree scene accenting one wall. Striking handbags and accessories sit on a round display area in the center.

Aylen founded her brand in 2009 after taking over her parents’ attic in East London and launched a womenswear collection heavy on colorful prints designed by Aylen and her team. In the beginning, she was selling her clothing in the fashionable markets of Portobello and Spitalfields. Five years later, she opened a store in Essex, east of London, where her offices are located. She’s now looking for a new location closer to central London.

The brand’s name comes from a phrase Aylen liked to use. “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” NFD has become known for signature prints, wrap dresses, multi-wear styles, and affordable prices. It also celebrates diversity and sustainability, in sizes 2 to 24.

Those pieces could be chocolate Tilly dress with gold dots selling for $165 or a multicolored Fiesta Remi midi dress for $195. A full-length sequined skirt sells for $210. Signature pieces include a leopard wrap skirt for $96 or a button-up lyocell blouse with blouson sleeves for $115.

With inclusivity in mind, Aylen last year added petite-size clothing, which now makes up 25 percent of sales.

NFD used to release a small collection every month to add freshness to the brand’s merchandise, but that has been reduced to six times a year. “I think consumer behavior has probably slowed down since we were last in Los Angeles,” Aylen said. “I think they are shopping more consciously.”

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