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Jigsaw wants piece of menswear market

Spring 12 relaunch is first collection since 1999 and will go into 20 stores

Womenswear retailer Jigsaw is to relaunch menswear for spring 12, competing with Reiss, Ted Baker, Massimo Dutti and Banana Republic’s menswear offerings.

As well as introducing the range into its existing stores, Jigsaw will open a standalone menswear store in London in early February.

It will be its first foray into menswear since 1999, when it sold its Jigsaw Menswear label, created in 1994, to then owner Christopher Bailey. The designer relaunched it under the Uth label (pronounced ‘youth’). Uth folded in 2004.

According to Jigsaw Menswear design director Frances Walker, the decision to bring back the label is a result of strong menswear sales in the market combined with a long-standing affection for Jigsaw’s previous menswear collections.

“Jigsaw Menswear was never sold because it was unsuccessful,” said Walker. “There is definitely a lot of nostalgia for the original menswear brand. Also menswear in general is doing very well at the moment so it felt like the right time for us to relaunch it.”

Jigsaw Menswear will launch as a full collection comprising outerwear, soft tailoring, garment-washed blazers, chino-style trousers and shorts, knitwear, jersey and a large shirting element as well as footwear and accessories. It will go into Jigsaw’s 20 largest stores, including London’s Westbourne Grove and King’s Road, Richmond upon Thames, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Bath.

The standalone menswear store will be opened to coincide with the relaunch. While Walker would not be drawn on the exact location, she did say it would be in central London.

“The collection will go into the larger stores where there is space to have an entire menswear section, or in some cases a floor,” said Walker. “But we don’t just see this as sitting alongside the womenswear collection. We see it as a collection in its own right, so we will open a standalone store at launch and then look for more standalone stores.”

All the collection, with the exception of knitwear, will be manufactured in Europe, with one style of coat being manufactured in the UK by The British Millerain Co in Rochdale. Jigsaw hopes that for the autumn 12 collection, more pieces will be made in the UK as more outerwear is added.

Although it is a relaunch, Walker was keen to point out that the menswear collection would be different this time around. “Last time Jigsaw Menswear was edgy and very fashion forward,” she said.

The feeling this time, however, is that a larger proportion of men who enjoy fashion are much more interested in developing their personal style than following fashion trends.

“It is a relaunch because there was nothing wrong with the old business but it is not a relaunch in so far as the branding will be different and we are not simply resurrecting the old collection,” said Walker.

She added that Jigsaw Menswear is only a working title.

There is a focus on quality fabric and fit in the collection, with most of the fabrics coming from Italian mills. “We are aiming for a fit that suits everyone regardless of size and shape,” said Walker.

Prices for the collection will range from £39 to £85 for jersey pieces and shirts to £175 to £350 for jackets and suits.

Jigsaw has 46 standalone stores and 22 concessions, with a further six store openings planned for the autumn.

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