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Workwear men’s brand Stan Ray enters ‘promising retail land’ India

Many workwear brands emerged in the USA in the 20th century, rooted in the country’s cultural and labor heritage. These brands provided durability and protection while also offering functionality for workers in various industries such as mining, construction and agriculture.

Born out of practical necessity, workwear has evolved beyond its utilitarian purposes to become a fashion statement adopted by people from all walks of life in the present day. One such brand from the category that is currently catching eyeballs across the UK and Europe is Stan Ray.

Stan Ray originated in the USA in the year 1972 from Crockett, Texas. The brand originally manufactured pants, trousers and bibs for painters and workers. Poetic Brands, a part of PDS Multinational, acquired the worldwide license for Stan Ray and started developing fashion products. With Stan Ray, they built out cool streetwear/workwear fashion products for the mid to high-end markets.

In a freewheeling chat with IMAGES Business of Fashion’s Kajal Ahuja, Elliot Matthews, Managing Director, Poetic Brands (PDS Multinational) details the high-end brand’s history since its inception in the 1970s and its expansion plans for India.

Here are the edited excerpts from the chat…

Tell us about Stan Ray, its core values and mission.

Stan Ray is a true Americana workwear brand, originated in 1972 from Crockett, Texas. The brand originally made painter pants. It was started by the Earl family. They started making original painter pants and workwear trousers and bibs for painters and workers.

Poetic Brands took the worldwide license for it and started developing fashion products about 6 years ago. And we built out cool street workwear fashion products for the mid to high-end market.

We have been distributing and selling to mid-level retail for the last four or five years in the UK and Europe. And we have recently expanded into the US opening in Nordstrom this week, which is quite good.

We are also expanding into Australia, Japan and Korea. So the brand is using a real street workwear vibe with a fashion element.

What are the product offerings of your brand?

60% of our business comes from trousers. We have built out jackets, knitwear, shirts, t-shirts across the board and a wide accessory range. Three of our pieces within the collection are made in the original Texan factory.

We are still a true Americana workwear brand and there are not many of those left. We are also now looking to expand the brand into India and GCC regions.

I think the opportunity in India is really good, because whilst it is a mass market demographic here, there is a huge amount of mid to high-end wealth and opportunity in the metros.

We still manufacture in the factory in America, which gives Stan Ray the true American authenticity. And that is what people are actually looking for. The product is durable and made to last in terms of washes, seams and its construction.

How do you ensure the quality of your products?

We ensure the quality of the products because we use specialist manufacturers and experts in the field of manufacturing.

I think it is very difficult to set yourself apart from doing a t-shirt or a shirt. But because we are a true workwear business, we choose the fabrics very, very carefully to make sure they are durable, and practical.

The manufacturing of seams and ensuring that the double knee pants are fitted correctly and understanding exactly where they sit on the hips or the waistline is really, really important for us as a workwear brand.

Let’s talk about your marketing strategy in India.

We are very, very new in India. But we are keen to bring the product across because we believe there is a good market for it in the country. We believe there is a really good opportunity in India for that traditional workwear business.

In the UK, we are constantly in the top 10-15 best, most authentic, most traditional, coolest workwear brands. And that sits against Carhartt, Patagonia, Levi’s, Wrangler, all the guys. So we are always in good company.

And lastly, what are your sustainability plans?

We try to make as much as we can out of recycled materials. We are on a journey with the sustainability side of things. We do a lot of recycled polyesters in our products – in our jackets. That is kind of where we are at at the moment.

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