Superdry at ten

Cult favourite celebrates on the catwalk

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Superdry has designs on your wardrobe.

The Cheltenham-based fashion label, which is still helmed by founders James Holder and Julian Dunkerton, celebrated its ten-year anniversary at London’s Battersea Power Station last Thursday – setting the tone for the next ten years with a catwalk show that marked its intention to stake a claim on high-end womenwear.

ELLE sat down with the elusive duo to get the skinny.

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How does it feel to be ten?

James: It’s a fantastic feeling. We’re looking forward to our teenage years!

Did you ever imagine this was where you would be now?

Julian: No. You can’t work ten years in advance. You can never see an end to what you do. I’m sure, if we visualise the next ten years and what we’re about to do… You can’t see quite where it’s going to go, but you know which direction you’re going to go in.

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Tell us about the early days.

James: It was amazing. When we started Superdry, Jules had a love of vintage American clothing; I was obsessed with Japanese graphics and imagery, and we both had a shared love of British tailoring. So we linked it all together, jumped on a plane to Tokyo, got inspired, and that was it.

Superdry is famously known for being a ‘word of mouth’ brand

James: The clothing is our adverts. We’ve got such a diverse range of products. When we first started out, we used to trawl through all the LA vintage stalls, where every product is completely different. We brought that into premium products. So we’d end up with 500 jackets a season, and that would be your advert, walking down the street.

Does digital and social media play a role in that?

Julian: I’m not very internet savvy, but I’m very conscious of making something work. So, you will see a huge amount of progress in the internet that will take us to world-class in the next 12 months. Sometimes, it’s easier to look into something and get it right rather than actually be involved, because you see things in a different way. Like when James is designing, us being in Cheltenham, instead of being in Spitalfields or somewhere…

James: Because we’re provincial, we’ve always just stayed focused on the products. Of course, we’re ferociously aware of every trend on the planet, and what’s going on on the catwalks, and what’s going on with the competition. But we always just try to steer a different path and just stay true to products. Because, as Jules says, being in Cheltenham… It’s just got this different spin. It’s almost looking from an outsider’s point of view, but what you end up with is a better product.

So – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?

James: No! You’ve always got to be better.

Jules: We’re all about getting better. If you rest on your laurels, in any business, you’re done. You have to keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing.

James: No matter how good you’re latest collection is – you can see from the catwalk tonight the massive leaps womenswear has taken – as soon as you think you’re amazing, you’re f*cked. It’s straight into the next thing, and you have to be better. We keep pushing, pushing, pushing. That’s why we’ve grown so quickly.

Who is the Superdry woman?

Jules: The woman wearing a Timothy Everest coat will be different from somebody in a graphic T-shirt, or in a windcheater in a pop hood. So what we’ve actually done is broadened the range so that mum comes in with daughter, mum spends more on herself than on daughter.

James: We’re launching the premium line now and that’s really going to change people’s preconceptions about Superdry. Already we’ve gone from being just a T-shirt and hoodie brand to becoming a true womenswear brand. The same philosophy we did with the guys, we’re now taking to the women’s.

Watch this space.

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