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IMAGE GALLERY Canterbury takes Uglies off the pitch

Rugby brand Canterbury of New Zealand is adding a higher-end collection to its men’s casualwear range for spring 13 in a bid to encourage consumers to wear the brand away from the rugby pitch.

Uglies Black Label will comprise 49 pieces and will include polo shirts, shirts, chinos, knitwear and outerwear. It will be positioned at the upper end of the brand’s offer, with retail prices from £40 to £45 for a polo shirt and £60 for a shirt.

The range will be available through the brand’s 766 independent stockists, as well as John Lewis and Next Directory. Canterbury already has a casualwear range called Uglies White Label, which sells at a lower price point, starting at about £20 for a T-shirt.

Canterbury chief executive Chris Stephenson said the latest range was hard-wearing and stylish with a “quality look and feel” to encourage men to wear the brand when they go out.

The collection is inspired by Canterbury’s heritage as an on-the-field rugby brand. The name Uglies was originally given to training kit, which was historically made from scraps of colourful jersey fabric from the factory floor.

The brand has also signed a four-year partnership with the Rugby Football Union to supply the new England Rugby home and change kits for both the men’s and women’s teams.

It has created what it described as a “back-to-basics” feel with an all-white design and the iconic red rose emblem on the chest.

Stephenson said: “Canterbury as a brand is synonymous with the sport of rugby, and we are proud to partner with the RFU and the birthplace of the game.”

The new launch and England partnership are part of Canterbury’s ongoing strategy to restructure around four key pillars – on-field, team wear, training and casual lifestyle. Stephenson, a former insolvency practitioner, joined the brand three years ago and has since set around repositioning it back to its roots as a New Zealand rugby brand.

It was acquired by parent company Pentland Group from JD Sports Fashion last month for a reported £22.7m. Pentland, which holds a 57.47% stake in JD, sold young fashion brand One True Saxon to the sports group at the same time.

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