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Fashion Uncategorized Vintage

Beautiful 1970s Laura Ashley Made in Wales Dresses

June 30, 2023

I’m always on the lookout for gorgeous Laura Ashley dresses for Vintage Frills Shop. So you can always expect to see a few lovely Laura dresses up for sale. When I’m out sourcing stock for the shop nothing makes me jump for joy more than spotting a vintage 1970s Laura Ashley Made in Wales label, even more so when it’s an early one.

A Brief History of the Laura Ashley Brand

Laura Ashley first started her business in 1953, after being inspired by an exhibition at the V&A. She originally made headscarves with her fabric designs printed on them from her home in London, with the help of her husband Bernard. They later moved to Wales and opened their first shop in the early 1960s.

In 1967 they opened their factory in Carno Wales and Laura created her first dresses. A year later the first shop named after the Laura Ashley brand was opened in South Kensington in London. By the early 70s the brand has become a huge success with her iconic dresses selling by the thousands. By 1974 she had opened her first shop in Paris, this was the first shop to use the iconic Laura Ashley logo. In the same year she opened her first shop in America.

The the time of her sudden death in 1985 the brand had expanded exponentially and despite closing its stores in 2020, the brand is still iconic. The classic 70s designs are as popular as ever and have recently has some high profile collaborations to produce new collections inspired by Laura Ashley’s original designs. These include Urban Outfitters and Batsheva. Vintage collectors are always on the lookout for originals and as a seller and vintage enthusiast, there is nothing better than finding beautiful examples from the brands heyday.

Identifying Vintage Laura Ashley Dresses Using Their Labels

A great way to date your vintage Laura Ashley dresses is to take a look at the label and brand logo.

This label indicates a very early Laura Ashley design that dates from the late 1960s to early 1970s. Dresses from this era don’t have the distinctive oval shaped Laura Ashley logo, but say Laura Ashley in large letters. These labels all have the “Made in Wales” mention as well. These are usually the rarer and more collectible pieces that generate higher prices.

This tag dates from the early to mid 1970s, and features the oval shaped Laura Ashley label, usually in black. These also feature the Made in Wales and also say “Dyers and Printers” This dress also has the original paper label, with includes the same logo. This logo was first used in 1972.

 This is also a 1970s Laura Ashley dress, probably from later in the decade. This features the smaller Laura Ashley logo in the green font which continued into the 90s without any change.The under label includes the size details, fabric composition and says “Made in Carno Wales”. Dress production in Carno stopped in the early 80s, when the factory there started producing curtains instead.

This is a later Laura Ashley tag, this is what you’ll see on 80s and 90s Laura Ashley dresses. They no longer say Made in Wales, but will usually be made in Great Britain or sometimes other countries such as Ireland or Hungary.

New Vintage 1970s Laura Ashley Made in Wales Dresses on Vintage Frills Shop

I’ve recently been quite lucky to find a few amazing early Laura Ashley dresses in the wild and this week I’ve been adding them to the shop. There’s some really amazing examples of different designs from Laura Ashley in the 70s.

 First up is possibly my favourite vintage Laura Ashley dress that I’ve ever had on the shop! It’s a truly iconic prairie dress in a very classic early Laura Ashley print.

 This dress has all the details that you look out for in a Laura Ashley Made in Wales dress. She has a high Victorian inspired high neckline, cotton lace details at the neck and cuffs, a pleated chest and the most beautiful full skirt and sleeves. Modern dresses just don’t feature this much fabric anymore. The skirt has metres of fabric!

 Beautiful cotton lace detailing at the sleeves. The dress has a very typical print for a 1970s Laura Ashley, featuring a small repeating pattern on a beautiful heavy cotton fabric. The print usually feature just one colour on early examples.

 This dress has the early 70s Laura Ashley label. Shop early 1970s Laura Ashley Made in Wales Prairie Dress

 The next dress is a beautiful classic Laura Ashley shirt dress. This is a very wearable every day piece, which still incorporates some of the details we see in the prairie dress above. She has the one colour print, high neck and gathered sleeves and similar pleating on the chest.

 This dress is particularly special because it still has it’s original paper label. So it hasn’t been worn. I usually find that Laura Ashley dresses have been worn a lot and show signs of wear and tear. They have always been a relatively expensive purchase so their original owners wore them a lot. So to have one in this condition, is very rare.

 This dress features the Dyers and Printers label.

 I love the contrasting white collar and cuffs on this dress. Laura Ashley dresses all have distinctive similarities that are used again and again. this makes them really easy to identify on first sight. Shop Laura Ashley Blue and White Shirt Dress

 Next up is another Laura Ashley design that you see in the 1970s. These loose pinafore dresses were perfect for layering up with high necked blouses and are still a great addition to a wardrobe. They are very versatile and can be worn year round. I’d wear this one with a light blouse or t-shirt in the warmer months and layer up with cosy knits at colder times of year.

 I love the shaping at the back of these pinafore dresses. This dress has a few condition issues, but is still very wearable and a great addition to a Laura Ashley collection.

 The dress features the “Dyers and Printers” label from the 1970s.

 This is another really lovely 70s Laura Ashley one colour print, featuring lovely flowers and branches with lots of texture. Shop 1970s Laura Ashley Green Pinafore Dress. 

 This beautiful vintage 1970s Laura Ashley shirt dress is in the most vibrant shade of purple and appears to be barely worn. The dress has a beautiful shirred elastic waist, which is such a lovely flattering detail, as well as pretty gathers on the shoulders. I love the little extra details you get on Laura Ashley pieces.

 The dress has a very classic shirt dress feel, like you would see on dresses from the 50s, while still being quintessentially Laura Ashley with a hint of the Victoriana that makes her clothes iconic.

 This dress was made in Carno Wales. How pretty is that pretty floral print on the gorgeous purple background. Shop purple Laura Ashley shirt dress.

 Lastly we have another purple pretty. This one is a stunning Made in Wales summer maxi dress in a lovely floral print on a lovely heavy cotton.

This dress has quite a simple design, with a very full skirt, with the sweetest little mini ruffle along the bottom.

This dress also has the Dyers and Printers label and probably dates from the early 1970s. This one has a few condition issues and has been very well loved, but still has plenty of wear left in her. Shop 1970s Laura Ashley Made in Wales maxi dress.

Aren’t they all so lovely!

To see the full range of fabulous vintage and to shop vintage accessories, visit The Vintage Frills Shop.

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