Preen Clothing Label – Designer London Fashion

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Feminine Fashion with a Masculine Edge Since 1996

Womenswear Fashion Label Founded by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi

View Preen Fashion collections on London Fashion Review Blog
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An Introduction to the Preen Fashion Brand

Long-time friends Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi met when they were just 18-years-old on the Isle of Man, where they both were raised. After graduating from the Winchester School of Art, Justin designed the ‘Second Life’ collection for designer Helen Story. Meanwhile, Thea was working as a freelance designer after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire.

Founders of Preen

Founders of Preen, Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton

The duo first designed together when asked by Helen Story to consult on her Autumn/Winter 1996 collection. Inspired by their joint experience together, the duo set up their own fashion label, Preen, in 1996.

In the same year (2006), the duo set up their first store on Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill. It was an unusual beginning for the brand, given that they set up their store before having any clothes to sell.

Despite Preen’s unorthodox beginning, the label soon saw their designs fly off the shelves. Their early one-off designs, with the signature Preen aesthetic of ‘hard and soft’, were instantly popular, ensuring the brand’s success.

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Preen 2012 Resort Collection

Preen landed firmly on the fashion map in 2001, when they debuted at London Fashion Week for the Spring/Summer 2001 season. The tongue-in-cheek collection featured punk-like elements with hand crafted detailing, plaited leather and vintage lace. The debut collection received rave reviews from the fashion critics. Subsequent Preen collections continued to receive extensive press attention.

In 2008, Preen decided to leave the catwalks of London Fashion Week behind for the runways of New York Fashion Week. Moving to New York Fashion Week proved to be a smart move for Preen as the brand’s international exposure increased, driving sales to double. The label furthered their international exposure with the launch of their lower priced contemporary line ‘Preen Line’ in the Summer of 2008. The ‘Preen Line’ allowed Thornton and Bregazzi  to take their rock and roll aesthetic to a wider audience.

As of 2011, Preen design six collections a year that are worn by some of the world’s most stylish celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Obama, Kate Moss, Kate Bosworth, Carey Mulligan, Diane Kruger, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce. Additionally, from a small store in London’s Notting Hill, the Preen fashion label has expanded to be sold in over 35 counties worldwide in over 120 stockists.

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Preen Autumn/Winter 2011 Collection

The Preen Label: Important Dates

  • 1996: Preen is founded by long-time friends Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. In the same year they set up their first store in London’s Notting Hill, even though they had no clothes to sell.
  • 2001: Preen debuts at London Fashion Week for the Spring/Summer 2001 season to rave reviews.
  • 2006: Preen celebrated a decade in fashion – celebrations included a retrospective exhibition of archive pieces, sketches, original photographs and back-stage shots
  • 2008: Preen leaves London Fashion Week behind and decides to show their seasonal collections on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week. Also this year Preen launched ‘Preen Line, their lower-priced contemporary line.

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Preen Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

The Preen Aesthetic

“Preen have their own unique style…instantly recognisable as cool and desirable with an injection of pure rock and roll” – Preen

Preen continue to revisit the themes that inspired their first collection – Victoriana, deconstruction, recycling, utilitarian clothing and soft femininity mixed with hard masculinity. Preen are well-known for their distinctive and clever cutting; experimenting with simple shapes by adding asymmetry and drapery. Each creation has a bold silhouette and yet stays true to a feminine and sexy body-shape.

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Preen Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

Collaborations of Preen

Over its history Preen have engaged in many interesting and exciting collaborations. These have included the 2008 collaborations with luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter.com, as well as with Day Birger et Mikkelsen.  Preen has also continud the long running ‘Preen for Topshop’, which started in the Autumn of 2007. Some of the other recent collaborations of Preen include:

  • Gieves and Hawkes: In 2010, Preen collaborated with Savile Row tailors Gieves and Hawkes to create a range of fashionable workwear. In order to achieve the workwear look. Preen borrowed Gieves and Hawkes’ sharp masculine tailoring and added their own fun and feminising details. Their workwear look became instantly popular, worn by uber-stylish celebrities Demi Moore and Rachel Bilson.

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Preen with Savile Row Tailor Gieves and Hawkes

  • Debenhams: In Spring of 2011, British department store Debenhams launched their new designer concept, Edition, to bring contemporary designers to the high street. Preen, alongside Jonathan Saunders, were one of the first labels to be selected by Debenhams to create a collection for the store. Of the collaboration Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi said: ‘‘We thought about real women across all ages during the design process; so there will be something for everyone regardless of shape or age.’’

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Preen for the ‘Edition’ Range at Debenhams

  • Aldo: Preen are set to unveil a collaboration with global shoe brand, Aldo in September of 2011 at their Spring/Summer 2012 show at New York Fashion Week. Co-founder of Preen, Justin Thornton said of the collaboration: “It’s still in development but the initial designs are looking very modern and sexy.”

Visit the official Preen website, here.

If you line the look of Preen, check out fellow British labels Amanda Wakeley, William Tempest and Eley Kishimoto.

 

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