Oilily was founded by Willem en Marieke Olsthoorn in 1963. In those days children were dressed as grown-ups. Wearing primarily grey, white and black. Not exactly the colors with which to attract children.
Oilily was determined to change all that. It placed the child’s world and its experiences at the centre of its creative process. It was not the wishes of the parents that were important, but those of the children themselves. This groundbreaking philosophy resulted in a spectacular vibrant and playful style of children’s wear which generated a multitude of fans worldwide which included John Travolta, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby. They regularly dressed their children in Oilily.
The success of the children’s wear collection triggered the call for a women’s wear collection. It was launched in the eighties. The imaginative dessins, the high quality materials, and the unusual colour combinations found a hungry public among women in Asia, the Far East, the United States, and later in Europe. Famous ambassadors of Oilily’s women’s clothing are actresses such as Julia Roberts and Melanie Griffith.
However, one thing was still missing. A stage. A place where the brand could be experienced. The time was ripe for the Oilily Exclusive Store. A shop like Oilily itself: exclusive, surprising and untamed. It turned out to be an irresistible concept. In 15 years time, 300 Oilily Exclusive Stores were opened on every c ontinent. The Oilily Exclusive Stores were located in the most exclusive shopping streets and in the world’s best visited shopping malls. Each of them was ideal locations to further develop the exclusive character of the brand.
The number of fans grew. Especially children. They besieged Oilily with letters asking for new products such as perfume, hair accessories, shoes, glasses, bags and bed linens. Oilily created a fan club for the letter writers and designed many of the accessories that they asked for. The first perfume for children was even created, helped by a panel of 50 children from different countries. Demand for Oilily– later reborn as Oilily Flowers – has remained high for more than 20 years.
In 2001, Oilily stepped into the home decoration segment. It introduced the ‘polka dot’ tableware line. This marked a new phase whereby Oilily was seen as more than fashion and fashion accessories. This turned out to be a golden step. Right up to today, the polka dot line is one of the best sold lines of tableware in the Netherlands.
At the end of 2008, Oilily went bankrupt. Seven years after Willem and Marieke had sold their shares to a bank and an investment company. As a consequence, all Oilily Exclusive Stores were also lost. In 2009 the Olsthoorn family bought back the brand. Simply because they couldn’t bear the thought the brand would disappear.
Today, Oilily is back on track. Most collections are being sold in more than 60 countries around the world. And the number of fans is again rapidly growing. We hope one day, you might be one of them.