Wakeley launched the classic-leaning fashion brand in the 1990s with a store in Chelsea, with the late Princess Diana, the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle all giving the label their vote of confidence. Hollywood A-listers including Angelina Jolie and Beyonce have also been seen wearing Amanda Wakeley.
The label was among a number of British brands and businesses that were hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. AW Retail, trading under the name Amanda Wakeley, temporarily closed its London flagship store but never managed to reopen. At one point, the company best known for its dresses, bridal and occasion wear had as many as 50 doors worldwide. It had designs on entering the U.S. market in late 2021, but the pandemic rendered that plan moot.
The company had been trying to find a buyer since 2020. After it was placed into administration in May 2021, AW Retail signed a dozen nondisclosure agreements with potential suitors, but none materialized into a sale. Although administrators from Smith & Williamson continued to shopping Amanda Wakeley around, the bankrupt label ultimately failed to get the working capital it needed to stay afloat.