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William Rast goes pop

Justin Timberlake’s label has cut its prices and relaunched in an effort to widen its appeal

Singer Justin Timberlake made a return to British shores earlier this month with a sellout two-night stint at London’s O2 Arena, but music wasn’t the only thing on the agenda. He brought with him the latest collection from his men’s and women’s clothing line, William Rast. It was founded in 2005 with his childhood best friend Trace Ayala, with the help of design director Marcella Lindeberg, who launched J Lindeberg’s first women’s line. They are now relaunching and repositioning the brand, lowering price points for autumn 14.

With wholesale prices dropping by up to 60% - starting at £10 for T-shirts, £20 for shirts and £40 for jackets with an average mark-up of 2.7 - the collection focuses on what Lindeberg calls “Rat Pack meets [Francis Ford Coppola film] Rumble Fish”, pushing a smarter take on rock ‘n’ roll Americana and biker styling. “We’re taking biker culture and tailoring it,” says creative director Ayala.

Chief executive Ivan Herjavec adds: “We’re now offering a premium but affordable clothing line, approaching customers aged between 18 and 35. We’re making it more affordable and accessible to everyone. It used to be more premium and high end, but that wasn’t right for Justin’s audience. They couldn’t afford a pair of jeans for $400 (£240), so now the price has been brought down to about $100 (£60).”

Denim and leather are the focus, with skinny fits dominating for both genders. Washes are worn in, coated and mixed and matched through patchwork detailing. Outerwear includes a slim bomber jacket for men, studded leather jackets and oversized wool coats for women, layered over chunky knitwear and signature plaid shirting. Slim tailored blazers for men and lace tops teamed with tasselled suede miniskirts for women nod to a dressier eveningwear direction.

Buyers already seem happy with the brand’s new focus. “We love how wearable William Rast denim is,” says Kate Coughlan, womenswear branded buyer at stockist USC. “When we viewed the collection, the style and prices were exactly what we were looking for in a new denim brand.”

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