He is best known for introducing quality fabrics and premium ranges to the supermarket sector. Rees-Oliviere was the mastermind behind the 2006 launch of Tesco’s premium sub-brand F&F Collection, which carries his name and photograph on its swing tickets.
Rees-Oliviere told Drapers that the ‘DNA’ for F&F Collection was now complete and that it was time for him to pursue other interests.
He said: “I’m really proud to have launched the first premium range for a supermarket and the trend for customers to trade up is very strong. But it’s time to launch my own collection now.”
Harvey Mushman will debut for spring 08 as a T-shirt range, but Rees-Oliviere plans to add wovens and long-sleeved tops for autumn 08 (see box). He will open a showroom in Camden in north London next week as a platform from which to grow.
Rees-Oliviere, who has held senior design positions at Jaeger, Marchpole and Pentland Brands during his career, has also had several approaches from other retailers about designing an in-house collection.
He told Drapers that he had not yet made any decisions about taking on other new projects.
His departure will come as a blow for Tesco. In September, Katharine Hamnett, who designs the supermarket’s Love Label eco range, said she would not be renewing her contract with Tesco after autumn 08 (Drapers, September 29).
However, the grocer has managed to hold on to Rees-Oliviere’s talents on a consultancy basis. He will work one day a week on F&F Collection, although it is unclear how long the consulting role will last.
Tesco head of clothing Terry Green said that he had no plans to replace Rees-Oliviere, prompting speculation that Tesco planned to pass the burden of design on to its suppliers.