DURBAN DOES DESIGN

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After almost 2 years of design & development, Land Rover Gear came alive with the Gateway Flagship store having opened for trading officially on Friday 14th March and with the grand launch on Wednesday 19th March at the Gateway store.

Chester Foster is the license holder and Managing Director of Land Rover Gear South Africa. Chester spent the past six years developing his relationship with Land Rover. This started in 2001 with the supply of a basic clothing range to the local Land Rover dealerships that then spread nationally until Chester was awarded the sole distribution rights for Land Rover branded clothing and accessories though out sub-Saharan Africa.

His love of the bush, has seen him find a passion in a multitude of sports from running, hiking, paddling (most disciplines), mountain biking, fishing and his greatest love, adventure racing. An accomplished adventure racer in South Africa, Chester meshed his skills, experience and passion and committed to the Land Rover G4 Challenge in 2003.

The Land Rover G4 Challenge is seen as the successor to the Camel Trophy with selected competitors fighting it out for top honours, and a Range Rover, across a multitude of disciplines and numerous countries. Getting through to the finals, Chester represented South Africa and was ranked number 1 going into the competition but a little bad luck saw him finish 8th overall. Nonetheless it proved an amazing experience and there was some consolation in the fact that friend and fellow South African, Martin Dreyer, took the title in 2006.

Now fully involved with Land Rover locally, Chester declined the offer to set future routes for the Land Rover G4 Challenge, instead he focused on establishing Land Rover Gear in South Africa.

By the time he was awarded the full retail license for Land Rover Gear in 2006, Chester had teamed up with his old school mate and then triathlon team mate, Terry Flack. Terry had returned from 10 years overseas and the combination of local knowledge and global experience saw the dynamic duo work tirelessly to build Land Rover Gear SA.

With the launch of the Gateway Flagship store comes the start of an exciting journey, one that will take Land Rover Gear around the country rolling out full retail stores as well as dedicated Land Rover Gear stores within the dealership network. When asked what the core business strategy is, Chester replies: “We want to maintain a very close relationship with the vehicle brand and adhere to the values and heritage that is so Land Rover. In addition, we are not after a mass market approach.

People who buy Land Rovers can be defined as discerning adventurers whether in an urban setting or in the bush. We want to offer clothing and accessories that appeal to people who share these values, even if it is just dreaming of adventure. Our products are designed to offer all who share a spirit of exploration and excitement something unique, something that as the Land Rover slogan says, encourages you to GO BEYOND.”

The LAND ROVER GEAR brand is no stranger to the global market but its presence to-date had been ineffective on a global and local scale. LAND ROVER UK have, in conjunction with their licensing agency, The Beanstalk Group, now taken a different perspective on the brand and want to position it globally as a premium brand. The brands nearest competitor – Jeep – have successfully established itself in markets around the world and LAND ROVER GEAR plans to catch up and, as has been done in the automotive market, surpass their competition.

South Africa was the second license to be awarded globally and the first time in its history that The Beanstalk Group has awarded the license to a company without any direct retail experience. This is a huge accolade for the team from LRG Agencies. The team was then assembled by LRG Agencies and includes the following key role players:

ITI – International retail trending company with global retailers such as The Warehouse in New Zealand, B&Q in Europe and Pick ‘n Pay in sub-Saharan Africa among their clients. They are a design and trend house extraordinaire and the creative brilliance behind the LAND ROVER GEAR brand concept, design rationale and range build.

DESIGN WORKSHOP – Architects who are responsible for the design of the dealership and retail environments, in conjunction with ITI, and they too offer an impressive global and local client list. They are most notable locally for the design of the Constitutional Court, a wonder in modern architecture.

AMANDA LAIRD CHERRY – Working in conjunction with a very experienced apparel team from ITI, Amanda is the creative genius behind the design of the GEAR range. Acknowledged as one of South Africa’s top designers, she is a constant force in the local and global fashion industry.

LRG AGENCIES – The South African LAND ROVER GEAR licensee responsible for supplying the LAND ROVER dealership network for the past 5 years.