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J Brand to branch into sportswear

J Brand, the premium denim label, is set to branch out from its staple denim offering with a new sportswear collection for spring 12.

The collection will not be given a different name although a separate team will oversee the collection’s sourcing, patternmaking, design and sales with design director Donald Oliver is spearheading the launch.

Pieces include cotton-silk chambray shirts, a khaki mackintosh coat and a hand knitted bolero sweater with the colour palette including black, white, lilac, heather grey, sky blue and peach.

Retail prices will be between $200 (£123) and $1,500 (£920) and it is hoped the new collection to sit alongside labels including Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant and Carven. The initial line will only be womenswear but a men’s sportswear collection is being discussed to launch in the next 18 months.

J Brand chief executive Jeff Rudes said: ““The initiative we set out from the very beginning was to build a fashion brand…We don’t want to put ourselves out there as [just] a jean brand.”

Only 60 of the brand’s 2,500 doors will stock the line next spring, however, J Brand will be holding meetings with buyers in London, Milan and Paris later in the year.

Within the next three years, the brand aims to open a flagship store in either New York or London, and in five years Rudes plans to have stores in every fashion capital, including the likes of L.A., Paris, Milan and Tokyo.

For 2013 the brand is also looking at further product extensions including footwear and handbags.

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