Campaign: Whistles F/W 2017

With a campaign shot on location on the coast of East Sussex, Whistles Fall/Winter 2017 campaign has just landed.

We had seen most of the pieces when they shared their Lookbook a few months ago and it did not feel then that adventurous or interesting.

Now, seen on location, the pieces are still as unadventurous and uninspired. Yes, there is a relaxed, functional vibe to the them, with a focus on materials and textures. But this is definitely not groundbreaking or innovative, or even just interesting. Maybe only a good idea for those men who do not have time to me making fashion statements.

However I miss seeing more fun pieces in the line of they have recently released, from the Ramen T-shirt to the Landscape Sweater. When Whistles loosens up and shakes off the seriousness their clothes are much more interesting.

with the struggles the classic High Street brands are facing, with lower benefit margins and bigger competition from online retailers, I am concerned that these type of collections will drown in a sea of meh.

Because this will go face to face with those collections of Massimo Dutti, Mango or Reiss amongst other brands catering for the grown-up sector of the public. And I think it just falls short. It joins the likes of Burton or Marks & Spencer in offering such a safe option that one questions if it is even necessary. You can see for yourselves:

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Yes, the collection has some nice knits, relaxed snuggly outerwear living off of classic British tailoring, but all in all, it is simply disappointing.

And in my opinion it all comes from the lack of direction and focus Whistle's menswear has in comparison for example to their womenswear business. A consequence perhaps of not having been able to consolidate a customer base since the inception of menswear in 2014. And they are not alone in this, all the struggling brands suffer from the same lack of vision.

Because the customer who buys those whimsical t-shirts is opened to go beyond the polo-shirt-and-parka combination, and none of the pieces in the collection offer, in my opinion, any notion of playfulness or aspiration.

The brand was bought by South African Foschini Group in March 2016 and the former boss Jane Shepherd exited shortly after in September. She was the one who transformed Whistles into what it is today with a growing international presence and it is reported she did not support the plans the new owners had for the brand.

Foschini Group is slowly building an empire by fishing in the troubled waters of the British High Street. They have already acquired Phase Eight and Whistles and they are also now on the bid for Hobbs.

The two collections after the takeover have been a similar disappointment and I am not too cheerful about the future of the brand. Have we reached fashion saturation point?