John Lewis to launch Californian denim lifestyle brand after Modern Rarity success

John Lewis has been growing fast in the fashion sector in recent years and it wants to accelerate that growth with its latest move being the launch of an own brand denim lifestyle offer next week.

The new John Lewis And/Or line will include LA-inspired denim with other West Coast lifestyle pieces

From March 22, the women’s And/Or label will be the retailer’s first in-house denim lifestyle brand and is a major commitment to the category with the company offering 90 pieces. They will be online and initially in 15 of its stores.

The company worked with LA-based denim specialist Calvin Rucker to create the brand. That company is headed by Joie Rucker, founder of contemporary brand Joie, and Caroline Calvin, who was previously senior VP of Levi's.

The launch follows the success of John Lewis’s first higher-end in-house womenswear range Modern Rarity, which the retailer has cited as helping to drive stronger fashion sales. It debuted last autumn and the company said it added to the 6.8% womenswear increase last year, an impact that has continued into the SS17 season.

And/Or has been designed to reflect an LA-inspired lifestyle and in addition to denim will take in womenswear, shoes, accessories and lingerie.

And the company said the West Coast aesthetic will be  carried over into bespoke in-store spaces “with a shop fit encapsulating its individuality. Featuring brushed leather and metal, white-washed brick and embossed hexagon mosaic tiles.”

The collection itself comprises “innovative denim washes combined with high-end finishes, including busted-out seams, distressing, bleaching and perfectly frayed hems.” The different denim styles are named after the places in LA that inspired the collection.  

John Lewis’s head of womenswear buying, Jo Bennett, said the company felt there was “something missing when it came to serving a younger woman” and with denim being “the foundation of every wardrobe,” the idea grew.

She said the team “wanted to create an authentic denim range in LA that combined the high-end fit and finish at an accessible price point… with a collection of ready-to-wear clothing and accessories.”

The denim range is priced from £85 to £120 and comes in sizes 26 to 34, with the collection as a whole starting at £22 for a cotton T-shirt and rising to £250 for a leather jacket in sizes 8 to 16.

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