Converse trainers are as much iconic as they are a fashionista’s staple. The company is hoping their new fashion collections will follow on similar foot. Launching exclusively in the UK for spring 07, the collections is aimed at fashionable 18-30 year olds who are trend conscious, rather than sports-oriented. Converse Apparel was revealed at the UK tradeshow To Be Confirmed and received a very positive response from buyers. Cited by the press as one of the strongest ranges at the show.

The collection is a step forward for the brand from what it was previous – large logos, graphic T-shirts, hoodies and sweats – to a much more fashion-led consumer product. The collection is designed to appeal to existing All Star consumers and spans about 50 pieces per line. With two main collection s a year and a further two transition lines, the range is compact, cohesive and commercial.

Good quality slim-fit T’s sit alongside stylish zip-through jackets and sweat tops with fine-gauge striped and jacquard knits including polo shirts, blouses and skirts. Denim is also featured and is an added point of difference for the brand. Available in five fits for men, including loose fit, comfort fit and regular fit, with a further three fits for women, including a boot cut version.

The range is for consumers who are into brands of the moment and recognise e the strong association surrounding the Converse trademark and the iconic values, according to Ben Smith, who is head of design. The customer is “probably aged 18-late 20s, and likes skinny jean and bans, are fashion aware but don’t want sports product.” The sports element still features, of curse, but is visible only in details such as drop-stitch motifs.

Smith further described the Converse Apparel collection as an individual piece range. The idea is that you can take any one item from the collection and wear it with a favourite pair of jeans. Colour and an overall look hold the collection together, but the idea is that you can pull just one piece out. The brand aims for widespread mainstream distribution across the UK in leading independents and department stores.

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