Men’s formalwear range is George at Asda’s first designer collaboration.
George at Asda has called time on the era of disposable fashion and invested in its first-ever menswear designer collaboration - with Savile Row-trained tailor Charlie Allen.
Allen, who also designed the England football kit for this year’s World Cup tournament, has lent his name to a capsule collection of suits, shirts, ties, formal coats and footwear for the grocer, priced up to 94% cheaper than his bespoke suits, which retail for upwards of £1,500.
Charlie Allen for George will offer complete suits for £79 when the range launches in 37 Asda stores and online on October 24. Asda’s own-label suits sell for £25 to £50.
Fabrics in the range include wool-blend suits, merino wool cardigans, cotton shirts and leather footwear. The suits feature finishes including slimmer fits, softer shoulders and internal detailing.
The range also includes coats for £59, a tuxedo jacket at £50 and tuxedo trousers for £29, cotton shirts with double cuffs from £16 and silk ties at £6.
George brand director Fiona Lambert said: “The days of disposable fashion are over and customers are now looking for products that last. People are looking for quality across the board, not just in tailoring, and with our investment in quality we have the lowest return rates ever on clothing.”
She added that the range would be covered by Asda’s no-quibble, 100-day guarantee if customers say they are not satisfied and want to return the product.
Charlie Allen, who also sells a small collection of exclusive suits in department store chain John Lewis, told Drapers: “People are looking for the best price and the best quality. [The range] will compete with everyone from supermarkets to small department stores. People have the same amount of money but they spend it in different ways; some people mix and match Primark with Chanel.”
He added that endorsement from designers would help menswear businesses get ahead.
“The days of being endorsed by celebrities are over; people want to see an expert endorsing a brand,” he said. “Other retailers, such as H&M and Debenhams, have done it.”
Lambert said the challenging jobs market had prompted customers to invest more in their suit purchases and that, while menswear was a small part of the George business, it was a “growing” part.
Overall, the supermarket sector’s share of the men’s formalwear market grew 0.6% to 5.5% during the 24 weeks to July 18, according to retail research firm Kantar WorldpanelFashion.
The supermarkets including Asda outperformed the total men’s formalwear market, which slumped 9% to £641m during the period, driven by a decline in suit and formal coat sales. However, jacket sales increased thanks to the trend for wearing blazers and ties with jeans.
Elaine Giles, consumer insight director at Kantar WorldpanelFashion, said: “On the whole we see that consumers tend to go to supermarkets for their basic items first, and then gradually progress to casualwear and on to more formal items as they become more loyal to the store.
“As supermarkets are performing well across most clothing categories at the moment and are gaining more of these loyal customers, they need to be in a position to offer clothing ranges to suit all of their clothing needs.”
One menswear consultant said that such tie-ups helped to publicise a retailer’s offer and made George look serious about the rest of its tailoring collection. But he added: “I’m not convinced the consumer will know who Charlie Allen is, but he is a really good tailor and having any name behind a collection like this adds authenticity for the retailer.”