Our HeritageFrom humble beginnings to becoming a global lifestyle brand...
With over 65 years of design excellence, Laura Ashley is one of the world's best-loved home and lifestyle brands. Its journey can be traced back to 1953 when Laura and Bernard Ashley began hand-printing fabric at their kitchen table in their tiny flat in Pimlico after being inspired by a Women's Institute exhibition at the V&A museum.
Founded on a rich design heritage and on traditional values of quality and originality, the Laura Ashley brand has been nurtured to become synonymous with beauty and design. Our style is constantly evolving to remain distinctive and inspirational, evoking the alluring beauty of the British countryside and a timeless mood of peace and serenity.
• The story begins when Laura and Bernard Ashley begin printing textiles on their kitchen table in London.• After investing £10 in wood for a screen, fabric and dyes, together the couple printed distinctive designs using techniques learnt from library books.
• Ashley Mountney Ltd is formed.• Bernard develops his first continuous printing machine aiming to sell fabrics by the yard.• The first Laura Ashley tea towels are produced.
• Old Burlington Street showroom opens with 200 accounts. • The entire tea towel collection is ordered by a company in San Francisco.
• The Ashley’s move their business to Kent.• Due to the success of the gardening apron, an overall is produced and sells in the thousands.• Export begins to Europe, the US and Australia.
• A disastorous storm causes the River Darent to burst its banks, flooding the Kent premises to a depth of 3 feet. Much of the equipment and goods are ruined due to flood damage.
• The Ashley’s decide to move to Carno, Wales, a place close to Laura’s heart, as she was born and grew up in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil.
• A shop and the cottages are bought in Machynlleth, selling Ashley Mountney goods alongside locally produced items. The family live upstairs.• First fashion designer employed and introduces a shirt dress, cotton drill skirt and a Victorian inspired nightdress.
• The business grew and expanded and requires a larger premesis. • The company moves to a n old railway station site in the village of Carno, Wales, where Bernard arranges a 3,600 square foot extension.
• 23 Pelham Street in London opens. An initially disappointing turnover sparks Bernard to place an advert on the tube featuring their youngest daughter, Emma. Footfall increased significantly within two days.
• Jane Ashley is appointed company photographer aged 18 - her photography becomes synonymous with the brand image.
• The famous bramble logo is created.• The Laura Ashley Paris shop opens its doors.
• Laura Ashley Ltd is awarded The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.• The 25th anniversary of the company is celebrated with a Silver Jubilee ball.
• The first catalogue, The Decorator Collection of Home Furnishings is introduced. The catalogue is 72 pages long and printed in four languages -English, French, German and Dutch. Over 50,000 copies are printed.
• The Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating is published.• Laura Ashley is invited to decorate a bedroom in the US Embassy in Washington.
• Laura Ashley passes away in September. An icon is lost.• Laura Ashley Ltd is floated on the Stock Exchange and oversubscribed 34 times.
• Bernard Ashley is knighted.• Texplan Manufacturing opens in Newtown, Wales.
• Diana, Princess of Wales visits Texplan to support the opening on the factory. Her presence is celebrated by the workers and people of Wales.
• 40th anniversary of the company is celebrated with a special collection and collaborative project with students from the Royal College of Art.• Bernard Ashley retires and becomes honorary president until 1998.
• The Laura Ashley website launches, customers can shop online for the first time.• The Laura Ashley archive is established showcasing the rich heritage of the brand and the depth of product history from over the years.
• Archive Collection of 10 styles launches in organic cotton.• Laura Ashley Ltd wins Homes and Gardens award for Design Retailer of the Year.
• Laura Ashley celebrates 60 years in business with the revival of the much loved Bloomsbury collection.
• Laura Ashley Hospitality launches with the opening of The Belsfield Hotel Lake District, Windermere.• In July 2017, the doors are opened to the first ever Laura Ashley Tea Room.
• The brand celebrates its 64th anniversary by launching collection of tea towels using archive prints.• Laura Ashley wins the award for Best Licensed Lifestyle Brand at the Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards.
• The Laura Ashley story continues to evolve with a growing family of brand partners who build upon the Laura Ashley lifestyle.• Laura Ashley proudly partnered with NEXT to reintroduce the home collection online and in stores across the UK in Spring 2021.
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