Bill Coltman, former sales director at menswear brand Florentino, has launched a design and production consultancy aimed at young fashion brands, multiples and independents.
Westlane Apparel provides design, sampling and manufacturing services for pieces ranging from shirts and jerseys to denim and outerwear.
“We are developing preliminary projects for brands such as Gio-Goi, Crew Clothing and Henri-Lloyd, plus retailers such as Republic and The Officers Club,” said Coltman.
“Many firms are scaling back their design teams and spending more time designing in the UK rather than travelling internationally to find new trends. As a result, many designers and merchandisers can be stabbing in the dark when it comes to developing collections. Our design team includes fabric specialists through to young fashion designers who are able to provide trends advice through to finished garments.”
Westlane Apparel’s design team includes consultants Jill and Jessica Lawrence, who helped launch women’s jeans brand Radcliffe Denim and have worked with brands including Levi’s.
Westlane Apparel is also targeting independents looking to create own brands. It is developing a collection for one independent chain which wanted to remain anonymous. Coltman said: “The retailer has six stores and has invited five further single-store indies to also buy into the collection.
“The range we’ve developed sits comfortably alongside big-name young fashion brands but has a cheaper retail price. But more importantly it provides a margin of between three and four-and-a-half points for retailers. By bringing in groups of five or more indies these collections can provide excellent economies of scale.”
Westlane Apparel is a subsidiary of a manufacturer based in Karachi, Pakistan, which already works with US retail giant Wal-Mart, among others.