Marks & Spencer has taken a one-year lease on an office in the heart of Savile Row.
The site at the centre of the capital’s tailoring district has been chosen as a design base for the firm’s new tie up with Savile Row tailor Richard James.
James has been working with five designers on the new “Inspired by Savile Row” range of suits, which will be launched at the end of March.
The firm will not be selling from the office, it will be used solely as a design hub, a spokesperson said. The suits will be manufactured in China, but the cloth will be sourced from the UK. They will be sold for between £299 and £349.
The new line from M&S, which reportedly sells more suits than anyone else, aims to unite high-end British style with affordable pricing.
Retail expert and founder of thesiteguide.com Patricia Davidson said: “Marks & Spencer’s initiative in opening a tailoring design office on Savile Row can do nothing but have a positive effect on British tailoring and British fashion in general.
“Showing a strong belief in ‘the best of British’ and emphasising strong, innovative and colourful British style by partnering with Richard James, Marks & Spencer will highlight the strengths of quintessentially British fashion with an interesting, quality product and a powerful marketing campaign.
“This can only be good for everything British, and where Marks & Spencer leads, hopefully others will follow.”
People will be able to choose from suits, shirts and ties – all crafted with a distinctive Savile Row nod.
Marc Bolland, M&S chief executive, said that although it would be “lovely” to manufacture them in the UK it would be impossible to do so at their planned price-point.
He added: “We just couldn’t do it. It would be three or four times the price.”
Bolland said the new office underpinned how serious the firm is about the new range, highlighting a determination to make it successful.
Richard James said: “M&S is a great British brand with a long-standing reputation for superb quality. Taking inspiration from the very best of British tailoring, the aim of the collection was to provide men with access to timeless yet contemporary style.”
Richard Price, M&S director of menswear, added: “It was great to work on this project with Richard James. Fusing his signature modern style, and unique attention to detail, with the M&S customer in mind, resulted in a brand-new collection that exudes what the modern Savile Row look is all about.”