AllSaints debuts watch line; latest scent and arrives in Bon Marché
It's a busy French moment for AllSaints, even if it’s the ultimate downtown UK brand. AllSaints is enjoying a double-header of launches; a debut watch collection and a new series of unisex scents, as well as debuting its urban skiwear line Shoreditch Ski Club in Le Bon Marché this weekend – in the latest endeavours of Creative Director Wil Beedle.
The UK marque has teamed up with Bedrock, the American watchmaker based in Detroit which owns Shinola, for its first watch range, which captures the edgy aloof mood of the brand.
“We went to some quite funky environments in Detroit. It’s quite a particular place after dark, but at least they put the traffic lights on now. They were knocked off at midnight when the city went broke a few years back. And we did have a great bike ride through this deserted downtown. As an epitaph for the American dream, it’s pretty enigmatic!” said the designer of the city where Eminem shot 8 Mile.
Ironically, Shinola, which was founded in 2011, has managed to turn Detroit’s historic reputation as a centre of high-quality manufacturing into a plus with its watches, which have acquired hipster status. For All Saints, they developed a 20-piece range priced at between €188 to €378, from a metal Untitled grouping, to a more sophisticated grouping with little off-set second hands. The top line is called Sub Titled, with additional functionalities – like inset second-hands and stopwatch bezels, along with high-luminosity hands and matt-black dials.
“It’s an assemblage of our codes. From timeless classic to vintage military,” explains Beedle.
The designer was in Paris to check up on the exclusive November 3 launch of his Shoreditch SkiClub, All Saints’ urban skiwear line in Le Bon Marché, Paris' top-end department store. The line has been an immediate hit. According to sources, its debut 60-square-meter pop-up in Selfridges in London racked up sales of £450,000 in its first season, well above industry averages. Now it also retails nearby in Browns.
“Shoreditch Ski Club has really started to scale rapidly, and we are enlarging our distribution options with the third season,” enthuses Beedle, who regularly skis at Val Thorens.
“It’s skiwear for yummy mummies. Its second season is named Yes Future, in a subversion of the punk motto No Future. Featuring a map of the world that includes Taiwan, as my wife is from Taiwan so if I didn’t list it as a separate country I’d be in more trouble with my wife than the Chinese government,” jokes Beedle.
“Our brand is not indoors or outdoors. People go skiing, go to fashion week, jump into a helicopter and head out for the night, so I don’t think people need a different jacket for each thing! They don’t,” argues Beedle, who has added chrome-free leather and a new cotton-neoprene as Shoreditch Ski Club materials.
AllSaints launched three unisex scents last year and is now coming into France with five new scents, initially in their own three French stores. A license with Revlon, the new quintet of scents will be gradually distributed in the beauty giant’s usual accounts. All of them come with funky names: Leather, Metal, Sunset, Incense and Flora Mortis, and each was developed by a different nose. The latter named after the first collection Beedle brought to New York seven years ago.
AllSaints is owned by Lion Capital, a private equity firm that bought the fashion retailer in 2011 for £105 million. At the time of the acquisition Lion Capital predicted sales could reach a half billion sterling in three to four years. AllSaints has not quite performed like that, though it certainly has grown. In the most recent full year results, issued mid-November 2018, turnover grew 8% to £327 million, albeit as the brand’s underlying profit fell by more than half to £10.6 million.
Founded in 1994, AllSaints has over 3,000 employees worldwide, and 255 directly operated stores, franchises, concessions and outlets in 26 countries.
Even by the loquacious standards of fashion designers, Beedle is voluble. Then again, he is an English literature major. After a stint in Paris, he joined AllSaints as Menswear Director in London in 2003. Six years later, he was promoted to AllSaints Chief Creative Director.
“Over 16 years at AllSaints,” he marvels. “That’s not a bad run for a creative director in today’s fashion industry, is it?”
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