LONDON — James Holder, a founders of the British high street brand Superdry and currently its brand and design director, is leaving to head a new creative consultancy. Called SuperDesign Lab, the new entity will work exclusively for Superdry.
“I will lead the creation of the SuperDesign Lab, which will allow the business to accelerate its program of innovation,” Holder said Thursday. “I am particularly excited about the growth potential for our sportswear and premium product ranges. I remain totally committed to and passionate about the Superdry brand.”
Superdry got its start in the Eighties as a shop in Cheltenham, England called Cult Clothing. The concept later spread to other university towns. In 2003, its founder Julian Dunkerton joined with James Holder, who started the brand Bench, and the Superdry label launched in 2004. The label is known for its laid-back, American-inspired sweatshirts and weekendwear, and Japanese-style letters and graphics.
In 2010 the company floated on the London Stock Exchange under the name SuperGroup. The company designs, produces and sells premium clothing and accessories in 573 Superdry-branded locations worldwide as well as online.
Superdry’s first collaboration, with Idris Elba, was the subject of a documentary that screened in Cannes, France last month. “Cut From a Different Cloth” shows Elba, Dunkerton and Holder, working together to create a men’s collection. Produced by Woodcut Media and Elba’s own Green Door Pictures, both based in the U.K., the one-hour documentary was unveiled in April at MipTV in the south of France.
Elba and Superdry premiered their 250-piece collection for fall 2015 last June at London Collections: Men. Priced at a slight premium compared to the main line, the tie-up with Elba is part of Cheltenham, England-based Superdry’s strategy to create a global lifestyle brand with a foothold in new markets such as the U.S. and China.
Superdry shares were up 11.1 percent to 14.00 pounds, or $20.22, in late afternoon trading, following the announcement earlier in the day.
Holder added the company has “significantly strengthened” its design team over the past 18 months with the heads of men’s wear and women’s wear driving the design of the core ranges.
Holder will step down from the board with effect from June 1, from which time the heads of design for men’s wear and women’s wear will report to Euan Sutherland, group chief executive officer.
The management change comes as the company reported a 21.1 percent uptick in total group revenues to 589.5 million pounds, or $851.5 million.
In a year-end trading statement, the British brand said its retail division increased revenues by 24.5 percent, with broadly equal contributions from new space and like-for-like sales.
Wholesale revenue growth was 13.7 percent for the full year. The second half alone saw wholesale sales increase by 19.6 percent.
The Superdry statement said full-year growth reflected “strong in-season sales” through the existing wholesale customer base plus the opening of 48 net franchised stores.