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.
This story first appeared in the August 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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.”