Larry Ashley anyone? Laura Ashley bets on menswear
“Stick to what you know and what you’re good at” seems like a solid, if not dull or horizon-broadening, strategy in life. For some brands that means sticking to a market who knows, loves, understands and wants your wares.
So, Laura Ashley taking a punt on menswear seems an odd move. It’s come a long way from the floaty florals of the 1980s, yet that is still what it is known for.
The range may well be playing on its design heritage, but will men really opt for a Laura Ashley label? I hope they do, although there are few shops you enter where the men look more awkward/bored. Will the male consumer be able to make the leap past the (outdated) chintzy brand image to see the fine Italian tailoring?
Laura Ashley clearly believes its brand can bridge the gender gap.
Here’s how it announced the range: ‘Renowned for its beautifully designed prints, Laura Ashley has used its 60 years of design heritage to launch into a new arena and is delighted to unveil a capsule menswear collection comprising 14 chic shirts. Made in Italy with the finest cotton, the range has a sharp tailored look accented with a delicate use of print and colour.’
It’s certainly not shying away from the florals with a neat flower trim on some of the shirts. Go for it men, give Laura Ahsley’s range a go – and say it with flowers.