In just eight years, PrettyLittleThing (PLT) has transformed from a small accessories label to a global online fashion brand. Founded in 2012, PLT has become a prominent player in the UK and beyond, thanks to its strong social media presence and focus on short-cycle collections. With ambitious plans to conquer the fashion industry, PLT targets young women aged 16 to 24 with its extensive catalog of 20,000 items, ranging from clothing to footwear and accessories.
What sets PLT apart is its vibrant and flamboyant style, which draws inspiration from the fashion world’s catwalks and the wardrobes of international celebrities and influencers. These influential figures have become the brand’s main ambassadors, leading to a staggering 8,000 collaborations in 2019 and generating an impressive 9.5 billion social media hits. PLT places great emphasis on affordability, making its products extremely accessible to its target customers.
During his visit to Paris for fashion week, Umar Kamani, PLT’s co-founder and CEO, expressed his vision for the brand to become “these women’s best friends.” He explained that in a world filled with challenges, PLT aims to create a fairy tale for women, offering them comfort, self-belief, and empowerment through fashion.
PLT is a spin-off of the British fashion e-tailer Boohoo, founded by Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane. Umar Kamani, alongside his brother Adam, built PLT with a similar business model to Boohoo. This explains why PLT releases nearly 250 new items each week, allowing the brand to quickly respond to instant trends on a localized scale. Around 40% of the brand’s production comes from the UK, 40% from China, and the remaining portion from countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, and India.
The PLT model aligns with several trends in the apparel market. One such trend is the increase in the number of orders placed over a short period of time, impacting various segments of the industry. Additionally, PLT shrinks order sizes to avoid the risk of unsold inventory. When asked about the possibility of other brands adopting a similar model, Kamani remained cautious but expressed confidence in its success for PLT.
Sustainability is also a significant consideration for PLT. In April 2019, the brand introduced a line called Recycled, featuring products made from fabric offcuts and recycled plastic bottles. Although this move affected the label’s affordability, PLT remains committed to becoming more sustainable and contributing to a safer future for the planet. Kamani believes that sustainability is an essential expectation from fashion brands in today’s consumer market, particularly among younger generations.
In the 2018-19 financial year, PLT experienced remarkable sales growth of 107%, reaching €430 million. The brand’s gross margin during this period was 56.6%. To expand its presence, PLT launched a French version of its international site and established showrooms in Manchester, London, Los Angeles, and New York. Additionally, the brand has a presence in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Kamani shared that PLT is targeting global expansion and adapts its product range and advertising style to align with local cultures.
Despite the declining average purchase value in the e-commerce sector, PLT continues to expand rapidly with five million active customers. The brand’s average online spending per order increased by 12% in the last financial year, and order frequency grew by 11.7%. Kamani believes that the market’s confidence in buying fashion online has significantly grown, and as long as PLT can adapt to customer requirements, sales will continue to increase.
PrettyLittleThing’s journey from a small accessories label to an international fashion brand is a testament to the power of social media, fast-paced collections, and affordable pricing. With its vibrant and flamboyant style, PLT aims to empower young women worldwide and create a fairy tale through fashion. As the brand continues to adapt to global markets and customer demands, its influence and success are expected to reach new heights.