Willem Olsthoorn, co-founder of children's clothing brand Oilily, passed away last Wednesday. The label was mainly known for its colourful designs and gained international fame. Olsthoorn turned 81.
Worn by royals
In 1966 Olsthoorn founded the children's clothing brand Olly together with his then wife Marieke. Later the brand name was changed to Oilily. The label grew into one of the biggest fashion successes in the Netherlands. Especially in the 1980s and 1990s the colourful designs were sold in thousands of outlets worldwide. The clothing was worn by the English princes William and Harry and by Madonna's children, writes NRC.
Oilily distinguished itself not only by the striking colours (fuchsia, red, purple-blue) and designs of the competition. In contrast to many other brands, it developed fashion specifically for children, with attention to the right proportions and sufficient comfort.
At the end of the nineties, however, sales started to slacken. After his wife had withdrawn from the company before, Olsthoorn also sold a majority stake to ABN Amro and a venture capital group in 2003. In 2009 Oilily went bankrupt and bought back Olsthoorn's shares. But the relaunch as a lifestyle brand was not a great success, writes RetailNews.
Fashion designer Nico Verhey, who was employed by Olsthoorn for ten years and also became a friend, calls him a sweet, charming man. "Except when it came to business. Then he was adamant."