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Reiss unveils its vision for 1971 brand

Premium chain Reiss unveiled its younger, edgier sub-brand 1971 Reiss this week, which will see it go head to head with the likes of All Saints and French Connection and help it capture new shoppers.

The sub-brand, which is named after the year David Reiss founded the company, is a denim-led collection, a first for Reiss, and is due to hit all stores on August 20.

“We want to drive the brand further and cater for a wider audience.”

Reiss founder David Reiss

The collection retains a strong Reiss design handwriting and on womenswear features rock-inspired printed T-shirts, denim mini skirts, waistcoats and blazers alongside jeans. Key pieces include a black boyfriend tuxedo blazer with gold zips and a zebra-print scarf.

Denim silhouettes include low-rise straight-leg, boyfriend slouch and high-waisted skinny jeans.

Prices are slightly cheaper than Reiss’s mainline, although exit pricing touches the core offer in some areas. Women’s jeans range from £79 to £95, printed T-shirts are between £35 and £40, and coats go up to about £225.

Key menswear pieces include biker jackets, denim shirts with a corduroy collar at £60 to £70 and three-quarter-length chunky knits from £110 to £140. The fits for men’s jeans are regular straight-leg, carrot-leg and a tailored slender fit.

David Reiss: “We’ve had a great reaction from the press so far. We want to drive the brand further and cater for a wider audience. It’s not really about lower prices - there are some lower entry price points, but also some at the high end. There’s a lot of loyalty to the brand and shoppers that would love to have a wider offer. The mainline is having more luxury elements added and we need to add a more casual aspect to our offer [with 1971]. We’ve been working on it for a while and this will be a major growth area for the business. We’ll open new concept store in Liverpool One later this year which will have a large amount of space dedicated to the 1971 range.”

Reiss brand director Andy Rogers denied the launch of the younger and cheaper line was a reaction to customers trading down in the recession. He said: “Our customers are not trading down. This was about having fun with the brand and capturing a more youthful customer.”

He added: “It was initially focused around denim because denim has been missing within Reiss, but it evolved into a full collection. It wasn’t our intention to go younger. It was our intention to make the pieces more youthful but the collection is relevant for everyone.”

David Reiss said: “We want to drive the brand further and cater for a wider audience. It’s not really about lower prices - there are some lower entry price points, but also some at the high end. There’s a lot of loyalty to the brand and shoppers that would love to have a wider offer.”

He added: “The mainline is having more luxury elements added and we need to add a more casual aspect to our offer [with 1971]. We’ve been working on it for a while and this will be a major growth area for the business. We’ll open new concept store in Liverpool One later this year which will have a large amount of space dedicated to the 1971 range.”

In its larger stores, 1971 Reiss will have its own dedicated area, but in smaller stores it will be merchandised within the mainline.

Sources told Drapers that Reiss was considering launching standalone stores for the sub-brand and had scouted for sites in Liverpool and Cardiff. Rogers said: “Nothing is planned, but I wouldn’t discount it.”

1971 Reiss will be launched with a viral marketing campaign in July.

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