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London Underground goes Gucci

14 September 2004

As one of the most recognised brands in the world, London Underground has launched its own fashion label, ‘Underground’. The label, which will initially include 200 streetwear items including jeans, T-shirts, cargo pants and jackets, will target 16 – 24 year olds and was recently launched at a leading industry fashion show in Florence, reports Angela Jameson in the Times.

The Underground range centres on the Tube’s world-famous logo – the red circle with a blue bar - which was unveiled way back in 1908. The logo will initially be used on buttons and as a pattern on linings, and the range will soon be extended to luggage, cosmetics and sunglasses.

David Ellis, head of intellectual property development at London Transport, said: “This is a unique opportunity to promote a British brand, which has the recognition of something like Gucci or Chanel.”

The moves comes after extensive logo-cop work by London Transport to crack down on illegal exploitation of the Tube brand by foreign manufacturers, hundreds of whom make ‘rip off’ T-shirts, mugs and other products bearing the Underground’s distinctive livery.

The launch of a fashion collection has been achieved after a lengthy effort by Transport for London, to ensure that it has full licensing rights to the London Undeground logo overseas. An Italian company will design and manufacture the range, and will distribute it in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, with Underground stores opening in Asia, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the USA over the next eighteen months. In the UK the clothes will be sold in Selfridges and Debenhams if current negotiations go through.

The Times notes that London Underground has long been associated with classic design, with many of its art deco designs celebrated as some of the finest examples of the style. Mr Ellis said: “London Underground has always encouraged relationships with artists and stylish individuals.”

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