David Luke, the schoolwear manufacturer known for its innovative ‘eco uniforms’ made from recycled plastic bottles, is to start selling schoolwear direct to parents via its website.

The company says the new service, which it hopes to launch later this month, will “widen the brand experience and promote what it stands for as a business and uniform producer, from a wider online and social platform”.

According to marketing manager Bryony Pestell, the decision to create an ecommerce arm was in recognition of the speed at which online retail grew during the early days of the pandemic as well as “to meet the demand of the growing trend towards ‘conscious shoppers’”.

“I’m constantly getting Google alerts that say you can buy a whole uniform for £4,” she explained. “We want to take that narrative away from that and say actually, although our school uniform isn’t going to cost you £4, it has been manufactured and produced in a very responsible and sustainable way.”

David Luke will be selling a selection of generic, core ‘greywear’ with none of the special features that can be found on other items from the brand, nor will the company be offering embroidery or print options to parents.

The company has also done a lot of research to make sure it’s not undercutting any of its retailers, emphasised Bryony. “In our eyes, we’re not going to be a direct competitor with them [the schoolwear shops] because they’re so vital for schools by providing very school-specific items that we are not going to be selling on our website.”

She added: “We anticipate a very positive halo effect of us building a stronger and more visible consumer brand that has its own followers on social media and generates engaging content we can share. We see the combined force of our independent retailers and David Luke the brand as a formidable team.”

Jan Richardson, who sells David Luke items through her shop Total Clothing, is fully supportive of the initiative. “David Luke are a very innovative company with great ethics and my thoughts are that anything that increases their brand awareness works in our favour,” she stated. “They are in the best position to promote their products and I certainly don’t feel that we should feel threatened or at risk of losing sales, especially as they are not aiming to compete with us on price. Their marketing budget can only enhance a brand which we sell, so I hope it will be of value to retailers.”