Streetwear brand WeSC will relaunch a “chicer, more grown up” women’s line for spring 15 to revive its business among UK womenswear stockists.
The full relaunch will comprise a 30-piece range featuring dresses, knitwear and separates using more modern materials and designs including neoprene and colour-blocking. Previously, WeSC’s womenswear echoed its menswear, focusing largely on branded T-shirts and sweatshirts.
To trial the new look ahead of the spring collection, an initial 15-piece autumn capsule will be available from late September on the brand’s ecommerce site and a selection of its existing stockists in continental Europe, including independent retailers A Place in Stockholm and Merci in Paris.
The relaunch comes after sales of WeSC’s womenswear range, which made up about half of its total turnover between 1999 and 2008, fell steeply in recent years to just 5%. WeSC’s key accounts manager for the UK, David Colwill, told Drapers the sharp decline was due to changing buying habits.
“Since the recession there’s been a polarisation in the way women are spending; they want either cheap fast fashion or high quality, premium products,” he said. WeSC will now focus on the latter.
WeSC has 73 UK stockists for its 190-piece menswear range, including Asos and Urban Industry in Eastbourne, but none for its womenswear offering. It has started taking appointments for the womenswear spring 15 line with existing menswear stockists and is hoping to lure department stores such as Selfridges to the refreshed product.
Colwill said the new collection would be “more chic and grown up” than in past years and the changes will position the range next to premium European lifestyle brands like Acne and Mads Norgaard. He said. “Girls wear streetwear in a smarter way today; they don’t just want a branded T-shirt, they wear biker jackets with skinny jeans and heels.”
The 15-year-old brand, which has 2,600 global accounts and posted turnover of more than £20m in 2013, hired Swedish designers Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome at the start of the year to reformulate the womenswear offer.
Wholesale prices will be geared to suit the “higher quality, more detailed” aesthetic, starting at £15 for a printed raglan jersey to £80 for outerwear. Price points previously ranged from £10 for a T-shirt to £50 for outerwear. Markups have also increased from 2.5 to 3.
The label closed its two UK stores on London’s Carnaby Street and Neal Street in June this year and in 2012 respectively. Colwill did not rule out reopening UK stores, but said for now the focus is on growing wholesale accounts.