Clarks chairman Peter Davies has named his new fashion venture Mint Velvet and will debut the brand online and in 13 House of Fraser concessions in mid-October.
Mint Velvet – which aims to convey relaxed glamour and luxury – is targeted at women over the age of 30. As revealed by Retail Week the venture aims to fill the gap left by the departure of Principles – which Davies formerly headed up – which collapsed into administration in March when it was part of the Baugur-backed Mosaic Group.
Mint Velvet is headed by former Principles brand director Liz Houghton. Her team includes Jane Rawlings as design director and Lisa Agar-Rea as buying director, both formerly at Principles. Houghton has also hired New Look head of merchandising Stuart Grant, who will join at the end of September as commercial director.
Davies will be non-executive chairman of Mint Velvet, alongside other former Rubicon directors Richard Sims and Chris Inman, who will also be non-executive directors.
Houghton said Mint Velvet will be price positioned just below Jigsaw and Karen Millen, but above Marks & Spencer and Monsoon. She said Mint Velvet will sit between the mainstream high street players and the top-end niche players.
She said the range will offer “relaxed yet glamorous clothes”, adding the clothes would be “sexier” than Principles. Products will include cashmere mixes, tunic dresses and skinny trousers.
Mint Velvet will also roll out to boutique stores in affluent market towns and wants up to 30 shops in the next two to three years. Houghton said she is already in talks to open in further House of Fraser stores and other premium department stores.
She said that while Mint Velvet is a start-up business, the management team has a wealth of fashion and retail experience to make it work. She said: “We are all passionate about everything we do and what our customers see, and want other passionate creative people as part of the business.”
Mint Velvet will be run from a head office in High Wycombe.