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Ex-New Lookers launch British-made trainer line

Former New Look director Jan Biggs and her ex-footwear buyer colleague Sarah-Jayne Newey will launch a made-in-Britain trainer brand, called Neon, at the end of August.

The initiative will involve a transactional made-to-order website and the pair will target department stores, including Selfridges, as well as premium independents for wholesale orders.

The plan is to create “a more premium fast fashion” offer while “supporting British manufacturing”.

The collection comes in 10 bright colours, including yellow and royal blue, and three fabrics: kid skin, nubuck and leather.

The shoes will be made in the Chancery Footwear factory on Bunting Road in Northampton. Orders can be produced and delivered to the shop floor in six weeks, two months quicker than Chinese lead times, Biggs and Newey said.

“It’s about being reactive,” added Newey, who is head designer and managing director of Neon.

“Manufacturing in the UK means that we can sample a new colour and have it on the production line within the week.

“The minimum orders are also a lot lower [five pairs per colour], which is essential for a new label.”

Wholesale prices for the collection range from £50 to £60.

Newey worked at New Look between 2007 and 2009. Biggs left New Look in 2008 after 16 years at the high street chain, most recently as director of corporate social responsibility.

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