Colorful Standard sells stake to ABN Amro Sustainable Impact Fund
Colorful Standard wants to step up the pace of its growth. The Danish label, founded by Tue Deleuran in 2018, has sold a stake in the company with the aim of accelerating its international expansion.
Since its launch, Colorful Standard has won over a clientèle of independent retailers with its essentials range available in some 50 colours. The garments are made in Europe with environmentally friendly materials. In the four years in which it has been in business, Colorful Standard claims to have recorded an average annual growth rate of 100%. It has now sold a 49% share of its capital to the Sustainable Impact Fund (SIF) of Dutch bank ABN Amro.
The value of SIF’s investment was not disclosed by the partners. According to the Scandinavian press, which also indicated that Colorful Standard posted a profit last year, the investment amounted to over €10 million. It is the first fashion industry investment for ABN Amro’s SIF, which was launched with a €425 million endowment and aims to support sustainable companies active in the renewable energy, social affairs and circular economy sectors. SIF’s policy is to make investments comprised between €4 million and €30 million, acquiring stakes from 20% to 70%.
“Our mission is to invest in those companies that take on the sustainable challenge and make a social and sustainable impact for the benefit of our generation and generations to come. We see in Colorful Standard a powerful force for change, a portfolio of amazing products loved by their customers and a first-rate sustainable fashion operation - for all these reasons, we are delighted to stand alongside the company in its expansion,” said Frederik Deutman, SIF’s managing director, cited in a press release.
Deleuran has been working in retail and fashion (notably with the Björkvin brand) in Copenhagen for about 20 years. He first created a bridge between Scandinavian labels and the Portuguese textile industry in 2008, by co-founding the RTG Textiles group, based in Denmark but operating a production facility near Porto, which claims to adopt ethical practices.
It is the same factory where Colorful Standard says it produces its t-shirts costing €35, sweatshirts costing €70, and joggers costing €80. In the last few seasons, Colorful Standard has broadened its assortment, introducing a line of sunglasses and a range of yoga apparel. The label's colourful clothes enable it to create high-impact visual concepts for stores and concessions, as shown in its eight monobrand stores (two in Paris, two in London and one each in Antwerp, Berlin, Zurich and Copenhagen). Colorful Standard is also widely distributed through over 1,000 multibrand retailers, chiefly in its domestic market, in the UK, France and Italy. With its new partner, Colorful Standard has ambitious plans to boost its international expansion.
“From the beginning, the plan was to build a launch pad, and now we are ready to launch the rocket. My dream was to build a lifestyle brand that embraces transparency, inclusivity and diversity while shining a spotlight on sustainability. It is a great honour to be able to count on ABN Amro in this journey. We know that the concept works in Europe. We are ready to launch internationally," said Deleuran.
Colorful Standard still has ample scope for growth in Europe, especially in Germany and Spain. It has also started to gain a foothold in North America through Canada, and could soon be looking at a major market like the USA. An essential step for its founder, who dreams of “revolutionising the global fashion industry.”
To work alongside him in this highly ambitious project, a few weeks ago Deleuran decided to tap the expertise of an experienced fashion industry executive, appointing Tommaso Brusò as the label's new CEO. Lately the president of Kiabi Italy, Brusò was COO at the Benetton group between 2017 and 2019. He previously managed Diesel in the USA and Canada between 2015 and 2017, based in New York, and was the CEO of Furla in North, Central and South America between 2008 and 2013. His track record in group management and international business is set to help boost Colorful Standard's expansion plans.
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