With an inspiring start-up story built upon entrepreneurial ambition, craft and creation, and a rich history of traditional values, quality and originality, the Laura Ashley brand has become synonymous with beauty and design. Follow our journey from humble beginnings to global lifestyle brand.
Born in rural Dowlais, South Wales, Laura Ashley understood first-hand the function and necessity of textiles in day-to-day life.
Inspired by her time working at the Women’s Institute, Laura was eager to refashion the tradition of patchwork quilting.
The Ashley's invested £10 in wood for a screen, fabric and dyes. At her kitchen table, Laura began screen printing tea towels and headscarves by hand - the first step in building their business.
Over the next few years, Laura and Bernard Ashley produced about 300 yards of fabric a day. This neoclassical hand printed table cloth was produced during this period.
In the late 50’s Laura decided to produce a gardening apron and smock. The success of which landed Laura Ashley a mention in The London Sunday Times, opening the brand up to the fashion industry.
With the Ashley’s ever growing business and family, the couple made the decision to move to Carno, Wales, an area close to Laura’s childhood home.
With the success of the apron, Laura Ashley expanded into fashion. Mrs. Ashley mixed popular styles and patterns of the 60’s and 70’s with classic English romance, harking back to her country upbringing.
In 1968 the first Laura Ashley shop opened on Pelham St., London. The following year, after a lull in business, Bernard Ashley decided to invest in ‘Mad Men’ style advertising, the witty ads were a hit and sales soared.
In 1971 The Ashley's daughter Jane Ashley took over as the in-house photographer for Laura Ashley. She shot some of the brand’s most iconic imagery, some of which are still used in contemporary collections.
In 1972 a new Laura Ashley logo was introduced. Laura wanted to add a floral element and the bramble was a favourite of hers. A beautiful wildflower that grows freely in the countryside, a perfect reflection of her brand.
In 1981 the first Home catalogue was published. The mail-order catalogue was multi-lingual, a sign of the brand’s growing international popularity.
In 1983 The Laura Ashley Book of Home Furnishings was published and became hugely influential in home interiors globally.
Sadly in 1985 Laura Ashley passed away. She is sorely missed by family, friends and all who loved Laura Ashley. Her creative vision is still very much a part of the work today, a testament to our success and longevity.
In 1993 Laura Ashley celebrated 40 years in business. To mark the occasion a bramble brooch was produced, inspired by the iconic Laura Ashley logo.
In 2000 the Laura Ashley website launched and the archive was established. The Laura Ashley archive showcases the brand’s rich heritage and holds hundreds of thousands of Laura Ashley treasures.
In 2013 Laura Ashley celebrated 60 years in business. This great achievement was commemorated with the revival of the much-loved and ever-successful Bloomsbury collection.
Laura Ashley Hospitality begins. Whether afternoon tea or a weekend away, Laura Ashley interior designers have curated luxurious spaces in various hotels and restaurants across the UK.
In 2019 iconic Laura Ashley fashion from the 70’s and 80’s was revived, in a collaboration with Urban Outfitters.
Heritage meets authenticity in collaborations with Rag & Bone and Barbour.
In 2021 Laura Ashley began an exciting collaboration with New York designer Batsheva, who embarked on a career in fashion after visiting a dressmaker to have her favourite Laura Ashley dress remade.
This year Laura Ashley proudly celebrates 70 years of heritage. Taking a deep dive into the Laura Ashley archive, a 70th Anniversary special edition collection has been created to celebrate this milestone.