Canterbury of New Zealand is to launch womenswear for the first time in spring 12 in a bid to offer the wholesale equivalent of lifestyle chains Jack Wills, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister.
Canterbury of New Zealand, which is owned by JD Sports Fashion and offers sportswear and rugby-inspired lifestyle clothing, will introduce the range alongside its men’s lifestyle collection, launched for autumn 10 as part of its Canterbury European Fashionwear lifestyle division.
The womenswear collection will target women aged from 16 to 25 and will comprise 28 pieces including rugby shirts, varsity jackets, blazers, Oxford shirts and denim shorts.
Wholesale prices will start at £10.50 for a T-shirt and £27 for outerwear. The palette will include red, purple, pea green and flashes
of yellow alongside navy and dark grey.
Canterbury of New Zealand designer Oliver Hill said: “Womens-wear wasn’t always in the plan, but seeing how well [menswear] has started to do and how it goes hand in hand with the boyfriend look for women at the moment it felt right.”
He added: “The whole preppy thing is in and while you have your Jack Wills and your Abercrombie, they are retailers and so we are offering indies something [to compete in that market].”
Hill said the brand anticipated its womenswear collection would make up 40% of Canterbury European Fashionwear sales after its first two seasons. He declined to reveal figures for the lifestyle division.
Stores that already stock the Canterbury of New Zealand menswear lifestyle range will be targeted with the womenswear collection. The Canterbury of New Zealand lifestyle brand has 55 wholesale stockists in the UK including premium indie mini-chains Van Mildert and Choice, Bournemouth young fashion indie Richmond Classics and department store chain John Lewis.
Canterbury of New Zealand has one standalone lifestyle store in the UK, which opened in Bath in January.
JD Sports Fashion acquired the global rights to the Canterbury and Canterbury of New Zealand brands, and the key assets of its European licensee, for £5.6m in August 2009. The business had fallen into administration the month before.