The denim brand is born again for autumn 10 with a lifestyle focus led by its new women’s brand manager
Born out of the clubbing and music scene in the early 1990s, London denim brand Religion has been cleaning up its act since the appointment 18 months ago of ex-All Saints buying manager Mette Gaughan as women’s brand manager, with the results of her tenure coming through in the autumn 10 collection.
“Mette changed our whole outlook and looked at the organisational, analytical and fashionability of what we were offering,” says Religion operations director Jamie Lloyd. “Mette’s knowledge of retail and stock systems helped us move into the direction you see coming through for autumn 10.”
Gaughan, who was at All Saints for 10 years, has been largely credited with initiating product category extensions at Religion to make it a more rounded, lifestyle brand. “We wanted the customer to buy into the brand and not just the trend,” explains Gaughan.
Autumn 10 is certainly a departure from the draped jersey and embellished rock T-shirts previously associated with Religion. “For women, we’ve introduced woven dresses and extended knitwear and outerwear, while menswear has a focus on tailoring,” says Gaughan.
Key women’s pieces include a woven body-con dress with exaggerated shoulders and a heavily structured coat with waterfall effect on the back. Menswear includes a grey gradient-dye T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt with asymmetric zips. Wholesale prices range from £20 to £100 across menswear and womenswear.
The ratio of men’s to women’s sales for autumn 10 has been 50/50 to date. In the past 18 months, sales of menswear have grown 50%, with indies including Edinburgh-based mini-chain Cruise, Pilot in Leicester and five-store Essex-based indie Choice buying into it.
Religion is also keen to keep hold of its European stockists, despite its renewed focus on its London heritage. “We have 15% of the range which will adapt to Europe,” says Gaughan.
Religion has traditionally been manufactured in Bali, but Gaughan has exercised her knowledge of sourcing at All Saints to spread this out to other countries such as Portugal, Turkey and Hong Kong to improve resources for production of wovens, knitwear and tailoring.
The brand has two standalone stores in east London, on Shoreditch High Street and Brick Lane, which opened in December 2008 and December 2009 respectively. It is also in talks with franchise partners to open stores in Paris and Los Angeles.
Number of UK stockists for autumn 10. It has 850 outside of the UK
Wholesale entry price point
Mark-up on the collection