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Is Whistles’ menswear move the right one?

Whistles is taking its first steps into menswear for autumn 14 but this is a path on which similar chains have stumbled. Does Whistles have the means to succeed?

Menswear has in the past proved a tricky nut to crack for established womenswear retailers, with many trying but failing to set the menswear scene alight.

Monsoon ditched its menswear offering in 2009 after just five years, while Nicole Farhi dropped menswear from its Farhi by Nicole Farhi diffusion line for autumn 13 and My-Wardrobe axed its menswear offering from spring 13.

Men traditionally look for branded items, and so an unknown name in the menswear world could find it very tough.

The chain will need to find a strong point of difference in order to draw men into their stores, not to mention a hefty PR and marketing campaign to ensure male shoppers are brave enough to stroll into what has previously always been a women’s shop.

However this autumn is seeing one of Whistle’s best received collections, with many an item being highlighted on the pages of the fashion press, suggesting chief executive Jane Shepherdson and her team certainly know what they are doing.

There is no word yet on what the range will be like, however Whistles’ chic separates and soft tailoring could be very welcome in the men’s contemporary market.

Those men looking for something beyond the branded sphere are relatively underserved and Whistles could end up giving Reiss a run for its money.

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