David Jones poaches Self-Portrait from rival Myer as fashion war continues

Australia's department store giants David Jones and Myer are at it again. In the latest war of the women's ready-to-wear brands, high-end retailer David Jones has poached Britain's Self-Portrait label from competitor Myer.

David Jones group executive of merchandise David Collins told the Sydney Morning Herald the London-based Self-Portrait was picked up to bolster the department store's current bridal offering in its Sydney flagship, as well as its regular women's fashion fold.


Self-Portrait

"Self Portrait has become a fast favourite within our bridal category and a brand that we believe will strongly perform in the womenswear ready-to-wear space," Collins told SMH.

Founded by Malaysia-born, London-based Han Chong in 2013, Self-Portrait is fashion favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge. Known for its modern lace designs, the brand looks set to be better positioned with a David Jones listing, considering the department store's brand position as more high-end, compared to Myer.

"[David Jones'] vision to amalgamate the most innovative designers from around the world under their roof is inspiring and we look forward to partnering with them in Australia," said Chong, in a statement.

David Jones said Self-Portrait would be available in store from June 11. Myer started stocking Self-Portrait in 2015.

In recent months, Australian labels Aje, Karen Walker and By Johnny have also changed sides, heading from Myer to David Jones. As the fashion war roars on, Myer took another blow late last month in its youth fashion segment, following the collapse of Topshop Australia, of which it owns one fifth.

However, the department store chain said had begun investing in its own Maticevski label and Misha Collection, and was growing its network of shop-in-shops, including Morrison and Skin & Threads. It has also opened concessions for French brand The Kooples and Zadig & Voltaire, and most recently announced a one-year distribution deal with up-and-coming women's brand We Are Kindred.

The Australian retail market is facing one of its most frenzied phases. While fast-fashion moguls H&M and Zara continue to steam roll homegrown fashion retailers -- including David Lawrence and Marcs, which were recently rescued by Myer after entering administration -- the impending arrival of American e-commerce Amazon in Australia is adding to local business blues.

And consumer fashion spending is bleak. While Australian retailers enjoyed their best monthly sales in nearly three years in April, up 1%, sales growth in clothing and footwear was an anaemic 0.3%.

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