British sportswear brand Castore has revealed plans to open flagship stores in key cities worldwide and expand into womenswear, as it unveiled further details of its strategic partnership with British tennis player Andy Murray.
Murray, who was previously the face of US brand Under Armour, was first seen wearing Castore during the Australian Open in January.
Today, it was confirmed that he is the brand’s official kit partner, and has invested an undisclosed amount in the business in return for an equity stake. He will join its board as an advisor.
Brothers Tom and Phil Beahon, who founded Castore in 2015, said the partnership with Murray – who said he hopes to extend his tennis career now that he is pain free following hip surgery – would help to accelerate its expansion plans.
“What he has achieved transcends tennis and inspired a generation of athletes,” said Tom.
Castore, which was named one of Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow for 2019, began as a direct-to-consumer digital brand, but now also has 16 wholesale stockists.
The brand launched on Mr Porter last October and has since joined the line-up on Matchesfashion. It will debut in luxury London department store Harrods on 1 April.
Wholesale partnerships with department stores Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Isetan in Japan will follow in the fourth quarter of 2019.
As a result of its rapid growth, the brand has decided to open a limited number of its own bricks-and-mortar stores.
The first will open in London – either in Knightsbridge or Canary Wharf – by the end of the year. Castore ran a successful pop-up shop in Knightsbridge in December.
It plans to continue testing new markets with pop-ups before opening permanent stores. The next pop-up will open in Hong Kong in April or May, and a permanent store is likely to follow by the end of the year or in early 2020.
Castore also intends to run a pop-up on London’s Regent Street in July to coincide with Wimbledon. Ahead of this, it will unveil a new collection of tennis clothing in June, designed in partnership with Murray.
Murray was quick to point out that his input will be more on the technical side: “I’m not so much designing as testing the clothes. I want it to look good, but I’m not the expert in that area – Tom and Phil are.”
Tom added: “Andy has a lot of knowledge from a product perspective. Quite early on in our discussions [about a wider partnership], it was clear we shared the same desire to create a tennis line. The tennis apparel market hasn’t seen a huge amount of innovation for a long time.”
The tennis collection will comprise 15 styles, which will be a mix of men’s and women’s – the first time Castore has produced womenswear.
The brothers told Drapers a main womenswear range will follow on 1 November.
Phil was one of Drapers’ 30 under 30 rising stars in 2018.