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Bench founder signals renewed interest in sector

Kevin Vidler, the former chief executive of Americana - owner of Hooch and Bench - has signalled a renewed interest among entrepreneurs to invest in the fashion sector after he launched a men’s young fashion brand for autumn 10.

Vidler told Drapers that his launch of Convict, a prison-inspired men’s young fashion brand, indicated that market conditions were ripe to provide newness to customers.

“In times of difficulty, a lot of brands and retailers play safe,” Vidler said. “This is a great opportunity to do something different and give consumers something new, fresh and different which isn’t overpriced.

“A lot of people still see the market as difficult and testing but there are opportunities if you’ve got a product that’s quick to market and quality.”

He added: “Many people are looking at the fashion sector and thinking it is interesting. The sector has a good track record of delivering profit and investment.”

Convict, which is selling to the trade this week, will target about 100 independent stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland and be promoted via a poster and outdoor ad campaign featuring Manchester City footballer Joleon Lescott.

Vidler is in discussions with unnamed multiples to sell the range, which targets 18 to 30-year-old men and possibly women at a later stage. Wholesale prices are £20 to £25 for T-shirts, jeans and jackets with hoodies at £17 to £20. The range will hit stores from September.

The launch has been jointly funded by Vidler and four partners, including Saeed Izadifar, who runs designer store Tissotti in Knutsford, Cheshire, and former Welsh footballer Nathan Blake.

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