Although only three years old, menswear brand Without Prejudice has quickly won over UK indies.
Giles Henderson, owner of menswear indie Six Whiting Street in Bury St Edmunds, has just finished his first season selling Without Prejudice. How did it go? “Brilliant. I only dabbled in it to be fair, but we had 100% sell-through and as soon as we put it on the shopfloor it sold.” Henderson has subsequently increased his spend on the brand.
This must be music to the ears of Without Prejudice brand manager Leon Soulsby. He tells Drapers that turnover is £1.5m and the aim is to double this by autumn 11. The plan is pinned on growth within the menswear brand’s 70 UK and Republic of Ireland accounts as well as a carefully plotted international expansion programme.
On the domestic front, Soulsby says he will talk with anyone about supply, but adds that right now he is happy with the existing stockist base. Among these are key indies like Williams & Griffin in Colchester and Louis Copeland in Dublin.
The brand was founded in 2006 by Jason and Russell Gerrard, the owners of fashion agency Geko Fashion Marketing. Early on, it was perceived mostly as a tailoring brand and sales were slanted 70% towards suits.
Now tailoring comprises between 40% and 50% of sales. The rest of the collection is split across every menswear category - from the impressive footwear offer including deck shoes in soft suede, tan loafers and metallic trainers, to the limited edition floral-printed shirts, mercerised cotton and pique polos and even swimwear, which is made using the same fabrics as French luxury swimwear brand Vilbrequin, according to Soulsby.
Suits remain the core of the collection though, coming in three styles - the brand’s original single-vent 1sb and two versions of the 2sb, including one with no breast pocket. The bestseller is a subtle blue tonic. Every item in the 500-piece range is made in Europe and the tailoring cloths all come from Italian mills including Reda and Ermenegildo Zegna.
So far, the brand has ushered in new looks by constantly expanding the range. One stockist says: “It has had a clear point of difference and well-defined look, but needs more newness now.”
Soulsby counters: “I imagine this was aimed at the casualwear side. It has been a journey of trial and error to get the style and fit that suits our customer base.”
Back at Six Whiting Street, Henderson has one further reservation: “I don’t like the name. We call it WP - it sounds cooler.”
Soulsby says: “It’s almost a reward to us that customers call us WP. It shows they are becoming loyal.” But the brand name will remain Without Prejudice.
- 70 - Number of UK stockists
- 500 - Number of pieces in the range
- 2.7 - The mark-up on clothing. Footwear operates on 2.5