LONDON — The presentation to launch Idris Elba’s first collection for Superdry did not start until the actor’s mother, Eve, had arrived and been escorted to a prime position to watch models pose moodily in pieces from the Idris + Superdry fall range.
“This is what I’m calling ’24-hour business,'” said Elba before the presentation, where Oliver Cheshire, Robert Konjic and David Gandy were among the guests. “There’s everything from hoodies to jeans. You can wear it in the morning and you’ll probably end up at work; and you’ll probably end up at dinner later on and you can still wear it. That’s the idea behind it, it’s pretty simple, it’s comfortable to wear, it’s easy. I’m really proud of it, I’m proud of the coats, I’m proud of the jeans especially.” He said that the collection is based around the kind of clothes that he likes to wear and that the most difficult part of the process was “expressing my design ideas into a very well-oiled engine.”
The Golden Globe-winning British actor said he chose to work with the brand because he had developed an “honest” relationship with the founders Julian Dunkerton and James Holder. “They gave me clothes and I liked them and I wore them and I kept wearing them, and I met Julian and James and we sat down and I said, ‘You guys are cool people, we are both British, we’ve got things in common.’ We worked hard to get to where we’ve got to, and we’ve got a very specific audience,” said Elba. “They don’t usually do celebrity endorsements, I don’t usually do fashion endorsements. And I didn’t want to. If I had the opportunity to have any influence in fashion, this is it.”
The 250-piece collection comprises of heavy wool coats, puff and leather biker jackets, hoodies, denim and shirts. Prices are marginally higher than the brand’s mainline collection, with a wool coat retailing for about 450 pounds, or $697 at current exchange.
“Superdry makes affordable clothes, so I didn’t want to suddenly have a premium line that was hard to sell to a customer that already exists here,” said Elba, who helped to create every piece in the collection and even pitched in with model casting and the presentation. “How do we make these clothes aspirational? You could spend three or four times more on the very same coat, but I wanted to get that coat affordable for someone in this marketplace.”
Dunkerton said Elba is “just the coolest bloke that Britain has spat out for many years. It wasn’t like we were looking for somebody specifically for a collaboration. For Superdry — and from a selfish point of view — we needed to wrap the premium (offer) in something that made sense, and Idris makes sense. This is a premium high street collection. It’s not a designer showing a frilly tutu and then making money from the aftershave later. These are real clothes for men to wear.”
“This isn’t a normal collaboration, this is about a partnership for the future,” added Dunkerton, who revealed that the brand is planning to wholesale the Idris + Superdry collection globally, as well as sell it through the standalone stores. Elba is on board: ” As soon as this day is over, we are going to be thinking about spring for sure.”