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Exclusive: Master Debonair to trial womenswear

North-east England-based independent menswear retailer Master Debonair is launching a womenswear trial collection, after much customer demand.

Master Debonair is opening the expansion of its 1,000 sq ft flagship store in East Boldon, Tyne and Wear, on Monday

As part of the expansion, owner Simon Whitaker has decided to launch men’s casualwear and womenswear ranges.

He told Drapers: “We get asked all the time by ladies if we’ll ever stock women’s clothing, so the time is right to test. We will test three or four tweed blazers and shirts and are also considering shoes should the trial go well. We are looking to start the test online and in our East Boldon store in June.”

Women’s blazers will retail at around £100 and shirts will cost £80.

At the same time, Master Debonair will launch a men’s casualwear range online and in the Boldon store, and potentially in its London store at 49 Commercial Street, Shoreditch, at a later date.

Whitaker added: “I’ve been really inspired by what we’ve seen in Pitti combining tailoring and casualwear.

“Now we have the space in store, the timing was right to expand our product categories including gilets, denim (jeans, shirts and jackets), chinos, T-shirts, shirts, outerwear, knitwear and shoes/boots.

“We’ve kept the pricing architecture in line with our tailoring, so gilets cost [retail price] around £30, jeans starting around £50, T-shirts around £30, knitwear around £50 and shoes/boots around £70.”

He added: “The aim is to fill a gentlemen’s suitcase all year round rather than just for an occasion. We will keep adding to our casualwear and accessories in the months to come.

“We’ve chosen brands carefully, as they need to fit in with our style rather than it being about the casualwear brand.”

The retailer opened its first London store, at 49 Commercial Street in Shoreditch on 16 November.

The 1,100 sq ft store, near Old Spitalfields Market, carries Master Debonair’s entire range of suits, overcoats, footwear and accessories. Brands stocked include Scotch & Soda, Marc Darcy and Fratelli.

A team of 28 now works across the two stores, and the head office and warehouse in East Boldon.

Master Debonair was shortlisted for four Drapers Independents Awards in 2018, having been named best new business in the awards in 2017.

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