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Sin Star

Set up as a sideline by two musicians, this T-shirt brand is proving a hit with indies.

In the space of just 18 months, Ryan Stripe and Sam Bell have turned a £2,000 investment in a batch of T-shirts into Sin Star, a brand whose collection is stocked in some of the UK’s top young fashion indies, including Essex mini-chain Choice and Bournemouth’s Richmond Classics, as well as etailer Asos.

It was a spur-of-the-moment trip to the spring 11 edition of trade show Bread & Butter, held in July 2010, that got the sales ball rolling. “I just got in a van and drove to Berlin. It was all pretty last minute and I didn’t know what to expect,” says Stripe. “I picked up some great feedback and press. We actually won an award for the best print and graphics at the show.”

Bell and Stripe clearly like to party, and at London menswear show Stitch in August they kept the fun going with 30-plus buyers on their stand until well after closing time. “We nearly spent as much on alcohol over the three days as we did on the stand itself,” says Stripe.

Bell and Stripe are musicians and the label started as a sideline to make some money while the two were on the road with their band. “We would take a suitcase of T-shirts with us, and as we were touring it was a great opportunity to get out to see stores,” says Stripe.

This cavalier attitude paid off, as Sin Star was picked up by Asos and Choice for its first season (autumn 10), with Richmond Classics following soon after. As well as T-shirts, the brand’s offer now includes chinos, jackets and knitwear; the pair have responded to buyers’ requests for a wider range.

The spring 12 collection is full of the brand’s signature graphic T-shirts, but also includes printed striped T-shirts and updated pastel chinos. “We have four drops in the year, but always hold stock in season,” says Stripe. The large stockholding strengthens Sin Star’s appeal to men’s young fashion buyers, as the category often suffers from a lack of short-order options.

Wholesale prices range from £10 for T-shirts and go up to £195 for leather jackets. The brand offers exclusive collaborations; a leather varsity jacket has been produced with Asos for autumn 11.

With agent Brand National now on board, Sin Star is looking to grow. “We want to be as big as Religion,” says Stripe. “Selfridges is on our target list for spring 12.” It hopes to expand in Europe and eventually open a London store.

Brand National sales manager Patrick Grattan says: “Word got around about how well Sin Star T-shirts are selling while achieving a fantastic margin.”

The brand plans to show at Bread & Butter for autumn 12. Stripe promises: “We’re going to bring the party.” 

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