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Luke to trial womenswear ahead of autumn 11 roll-out

Men’s young fashion brand Luke will trial its first womenswear range in autumn 10.

The range will form part of Luke’s existing Forever in Luke Jeans collection, which features T-shirts and sweats as well as denim. It will consist of 28 pieces, including jeans, T-shirts and knitwear and initially will only be sold via Luke’s website and its franchise store in Bristol.

If successful, the collection will be rolled out for autumn 11 across Luke’s 140 wholesale accounts, which include three-store indie Xile and designer mini-chain Flannels. Wholesale prices range from £10 to £22.

Simon Poole, managing director of Luke, told Drapers: “We kept getting asked to do a women’s range. We see girls coming into the store with their boyfriends and wanting a girls’ range. We are [experimenting to see] what will work, so we are expanding slowly. It’s in line with our men’s range so it’s preppy and has its emphasis on daywear.”

Luke is set to open three franchise stores this year, including one in St David’s shopping centre, Cardiff, on August 5 and a further two in undisclosed locations. A flagship store opened in Bristol last August.

Luke has also ramped up its footwear offer for spring 11. It previously offered a six-piece range created by an external designer, but brought in designer Michael Singh, former owner of footwear brand Yesterday Tomorrow, in February to create a range in-house.

The new footwear collection, debuted at streetwear trade show Bread & Butter Berlin last week, includes 20 styles across three categories - everyday casuals, contemporary formals and retro sports. Wholesale prices range from £18 to £40.

Poole said: “Before, we had an external designer and it [the footwear] didn’t really have the elements of the brand. This collection mirrors our clothing collection’s look and feel.”

Meanwhile, in another first unveiled at Bread & Butter, denim brand Pepe Jeans underscored its London origins with a premium khaki collection drawing on British archive pieces for spring 11.

The 75-piece range, called Heritage, includes canvas jackets with duffle buttons and Oxford shirts made from Savile Row cloth and has been produced in the UK.

Pepe Jeans’ store on Portobello Road, west London, will stock the range, together with 15 yet-to-be-named independents.

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