The fashion world’s obsession with prairie-style dressing is far from waning. Designers from Dior to Chloe have all incorporated vintage-style frills in their collections in recent years, not to mention the success of new brands like Batsheva and LoveShackFancy whose whole identities have been built around the demure retro dress style. The real deal, however, was born out of good old Blighty with the now-iconic British brand Laura Ashley. The name is now synonymous with the quintessentially English floral tea dress style and is enjoying a recent renaissance in fashion circles, with Urban Outfitters even launching a collaboration with the brand earlier this year.
Husband and wife Bernard and Laura Ashley started the fabric company out of their kitchen in 1953 and opened their first store in London in the late 1960s, producing the first ready-to-wear dress not long before that. Since then, the company enjoyed huge success (at its peak, selling 4000 dresses a week in the Fulham Road store), and the Victoriana dress style is now firmly embedded in British fashion history.
Whilst you can find similar shapes everywhere from Topshop to Net-a-Porter these days, industry insiders are increasingly being spotted in the real thing, garnering extra style points in their vintage Laura Ashley looks. But where are they getting it from?
After doing some digging, we discovered shopping the brand’s original designs is easier than you might think. Ebay, Depop and Etsy are overflowing with styles that look like they came straight from the 2019 catwalks. Oxfam’s online shop is the best for finding a bargain, and Instagram is also becoming a great new platform to shop vintage with sellers like Florrie Thomas and Daisy Murray showcasing floral dresses on the regular. There’s even a dedicated account celebrating all things Laura Ashley from Etsy seller Birgit Drinkwater that we highly recommend, if only for daily style inspiration.
Keep scrolling to shop some of our favourite vintage Laura Ashley finds as well as some of the key new-season styles inspired by the brand.
Actresses Pamela Harlow and Heidi Banks spotted in the Beverly Hills, California, Laura Ashley store in 1984.