AS Colour was founded in New Zealand in 2005 by Lawrence Railton who already had a background in the distribution of skate and surf labels. Initially a distributor of an American T shirt imprint brand, it quickly became apparent that the quality and fits were restricting the premium retail inspired sales channels that were becoming increasingly popular. The goal was to make the best T shirt in the world and not rely on oversea brands design and fit preferences.
Providing a range of blank T shirts with high quality combed cotton, fashion forward and innovative fabrics AS Colour created a product that was not previously available in the local market.
AS Colour sells more T shirts in Australia than any other imprint brand. Internationally the brand was launched in California in 2017 which is experiencing triple digit growth year on year, and in 2018 the brand launched in the UK distributing from its 18,000sq foot warehouse in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Already 36,000sq foot facilities are being looked at to scale the business up.
Initially in NZ AS Colour was a wholesale business to business brand supplying screen printers but due to public demand the brand started to open the showroom doors on Saturday’s and customers would be buzzed in, nightclub style, and it quickly became a cult purchase point for a cool set of 18 to 25-year-olds. Demand grew through social media and word of mouth. Fast forward to 2020 and the brand now has 20 retail shops trading in Australia, New Zealand and now in Shoreditch, London selling exactly the same quality blanks on offer to the imprint sector. The trendy Shoreditch area of London was chosen because it fits well with the brand’s identity as it’s populated by the 18-35 demographic, hipster – i.e. people who eschew traditional mainstream brands and are independent of thought. The retail sector both through the stores and ecommerce now generate 30% of the groups revenues.
Imprint customers are encouraged to either visit the shop themselves or send their clients to visit so they can see the whole range in a retail environment correctly merchandised. In essence the London shop doubles up as a showroom as well as a standalone retail business. One of the USP’s of the brand is that any potential trade customer will only ever see the RRP prices either on the website or any search engine, unlike the majority of the mass market homogenised third party distributed brands, adding brand credibility to any positioning to potential customers.
The best-selling line is the Staple Tee, style 5001 a 180gsm combed cotton available in 24 colours. This style is already sold on the UK high street by some of the largest global retail brands having been relabelled and branded. This style has mass appeal and the perfect cut and weight for established brands, licensees and premium promotional customers.
AS Colour prides itself on paying attention to the four Fs of fit, finish, factories and fabric.
- Throughout the design and sampling process they scrutinise every dimension and detail. That’s how the brand makes sure all the garments produced are timeless and always fit like they should.
- A close eye is kept on every step of the intense production process. Because of the company’s close involvement in quality control it is able to produce garments with a finish recognised as one of the best print faces on the market.
- AS Colour works closely with each factory, providing them with regular production orders and consistent pricing. Periodic independent audits are required to ensure all factories meet exacting labour and production standards. This allows customers to feel assured about how business is done and how the products are made.
- The production process begins with sourcing the highest quality yarn. No fabric is bought premade on the open market. Forensic detail is applied to the entire textile process so that the end garment holds it shape and is built to last.
AS Colour has six week buying cycles with factories to ensure stability of business for the factory, adequate production time for workers, and quality of product for their customers. Consistent on time six weekly order placements reinforce these principles. All of the factories have been visited and audited. And there is 100% traceability of fabrics and yarns. AS Colour is signed up to three key initiatives participating in BCI (Better Cotton Initiative), Amfori BSCI and using GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) licensed suppliers.
AS Colour strongly advises customers trying on the garments themselves. Once worn, printed and washed customers will love it.