JOHN LEWIS is launching its first ever in-house Lifestyle brand called And/ Or, we can exclusively reveal, and the verdict? A smart move from the high-street department store, with excellent credentials to boot.
Created in collaboration with American denim experts Calvin Rucker, the 90-piece collection specialises in jeans but also has an extensive clothing, footwear and accessories offering and is made exclusively in LA - that's designed, cut, washed, sewn and finished, according to the brand. As a result, it has that laid-back West Coast feel that is, crucially, authentic. Authenticity, however, often comes with a price tag that prices out traditional high-street shoppers, but not so here: jeans (which are available in a 26 to 34 inch waist) cost between £85 and £120, and the womenswear (available in size 6 to 18) ranges from £22 for a T-shirt to £250 for a leather jacket.John Lewis Reveals First Luxury Edit
John Lewis Reveals First Luxury Edit
"We have worked hard to build a portfolio of own-brand labels over the past few years for our customers, providing them with brands they can't find anywhere else," Iain Ewing, head of design, womenswear and accessories, told us. "Last year saw the launch of Modern Rarity, our first luxury label, which has been such a success. We're so pleased with the feedback we have received from our customers. Yet we felt there was something missing when it came to speaking to a more contemporary woman."
So, the famous British brand (which welcomed its first female managing director Paula Nickolds last year) looked Stateside, the original purveyor of denim, to create a collection that it hopes will provide the foundation pieces for their customers' closets.
"Denim is a staple of every woman's wardrobe and spans generations," continued Ewing. "It's a constant in an ever-changing fashion world, and now a part of our everyday. A great pair of jeans are incredibly versatile - you can dress them up or down. It's the ease of throwing on a pair of jeans, picking up the kids from school, going to work or wearing them out to a bar in the evening."
The plan for the collection is to create four signature mid-rise fits each season - a skinny, a straight-leg, a boyfriend and an ankle-grazer – which will come in different colour-ways and washes. These will then be complemented by season-specific additions, so for spring/summer 2017 there are cropped and wide-leg silhouettes, as well as a striped boyfriend style. When it comes to the clothing, it's a case of well-cut basics and separates, peppered with statement pieces (like the already-covetable tiered asymmetric dress and embroidered parka): items that are easy, informal, and - according to Ewing - ageless.
"It's much more about a sense of style rather than age," he explained. "And/ Or is influenced by the relaxed, upbeat, sunny attitude of the LA lifestyle. We treat all of our own-label collections - Kin by John Lewis, Modern Rarity and And/ Or - as we would for any brand at John Lewis: they have their own personalities, combined with separate design and buying teams so ensure they stay true to their individual brand values and appeal to different customer styles."
And/ Or launches on Wednesday, March 22 in 15 stores and online at Johnlewis.com.