It's something of an understatement to say that certain sections of the high street have been struggling a bit of late – but John Lewis seems to have been fighting back on behalf of the squeezed middle. With its end-of-year results due imminently, John Lewis reported that fashion sales were up by 10 per cent in the Christmas trading period. It makes sense then, that the department store is looking to increase its own-label clothes offering and retain the wealth it generates.
The newly launched “Kin” collection is a way to do just that. Designed in-house, it comes in addition to the Collection and Collection Weekend lines that have brought success to the department store. Dubbed a lifestyle brand, the design studio has created a collection that will cater for adults and children alike. “Kin will play a key role in our fashion assortment, bringing together menswear, womenswear and childrenswear for the first time,” Matt McCormack, director of buying forJohn Lewis, says. “Designing it in-house has given these areas the opportunity to collaborate and launch a brand with true family values. We’ve seen the success of other lifestyle brands and this launch validates this ongoing trend, which we see as a huge opportunity.”
Designed for off-duty wear, the collection is composed of cotton shirts and dresses, unstructured, contemporary linen jackets and classic bonded overcoats. The children’s ranges don’t quite offer mini-me versions of the adult clothes, but the shared easy-going aesthetic certainly indicates some relation. This is reflected in the campaign imagery – the models look unrelated, to represent an everyman, woman and child rather than plumping for family portrait-style imagery.
Shot in black and white by Boo George, a former assistant to Bruce Weber, who has shot for Vogue, Love and i-D, the images encapsulate the mix-and-match aesthetic of the clothes.
In addition, Kin Tailoring will launch alongside the casual line – providing formal and semi-formal men’s suiting with a focus on detailing throughout.
Incorporating slim-fitting suits, linen jackets, knitted ties and shirts, the range has also been designed in-house, led by the brand’s formalwear junior buyer, Tom Saunders. He explains: “We wanted to create a tailoring line that provides customers with wearable pieces, whilst still following the clean and simple aesthetic of Kin.”
To celebrate the collection launch, five branches of the department store will host pop-up shops for six weeks, bringing all the brand’s goods together, while nationwide the relevant departments of every store will also stock the range independently.
In addition, Kin is now available on the John Lewis website, from its own branded page.