By  on August 13, 2009

LONDON — Reiss, one of the U.K.’s most upscale brands, is taking a more relaxed direction this fall with its new denim line, Reiss 1971.

The collection, which is made up of a mix of men’s and women’s denim jeans and separates, is part of brand director Andy Rogers’ vision to reinvigorate the overall Reiss brand.

“It’s a more youthful silhouette, a bit more casual, but still that sexy, directional Reiss signature,” Rogers said of the 1971 line.

The women’s collection comprises five denim fits, including high-waisted, straight-leg, a boyfriend slouch style and a high-waisted kick flare, which will be constants in the line across the seasons, along with pieces such as military-inspired jackets, a swing coat in a black-and-white vintage-inspired print, and pink-and-black zebra print knit sweaters.

“As soon as you start [doing denim], the attitude comes from the shoes you’re wearing, the jacket, the T-shirt,” said Rogers, who, prior to joining Reiss, was store planning and visual director at Stella McCartney.

Prices for the 1971 line — which run from $60 for a tank top to $580 for a coat — are slightly lower than Reiss’ main collection, which run from $50 for a cotton vest to $775 for a leather jacket. But Rogers said the 1971 collection wasn’t prompted by the economic climate. Instead, he said he wanted to “give our customers a reason to buy.”

Rogers said the company took time to craft the denim, which is made in factories throughout Europe, with details such as silk piping along the seams, a subtle “1971” logo stitched in gold on the back pockets and a tailored waistband inside the jeans.

“It’s little things, but actually [those] things elevate us a lot,” said Rogers. “And that’s why we spent so long [creating the line]. We couldn’t allow for a sort of a second-rate product to hit the store.”

The collection will launch at Reiss’ 10 U.S. stores this month and the company is planning to launch e-commerce in the region in September. Rogers believes there’s a space in the denim market for a midpriced collection.

“I think we’ve put enough energy into creating the silhouette, the cut, the fit, the wash, the price,” he said. “I think you’re going to buy a designer-quality denim for a high street price.”

Rogers plans to market the brand in a variety of ways. The company’s Web site, 1971reiss.com, showcases a New Wave-style short film in which models walk the streets of Paris wearing the collection. Rogers also envisages opening freestanding stores for the brand.

“If I was to take a step back…I would like to open a standalone store, but I would do it in Williamsburg [in Brooklyn, N.Y.] or Tokyo or Paris, and in that way we can bypass the history that we have in our stores,” said Rogers, adding a store could open as early as next year. “I think we need to start making statements and I think that is something that will set us apart from everyone else.”

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