The best kept secret in the F1 paddock at the moment is that McLaren has concluded an interesting new merchandising deal with Britain’s largest clothing retailer Marks & Spencer, which has over 880 stores in more than 40 countries. The company dates back to 1884 and has for years been an integral part of British society, its reputation based on providing good quality goods at sensible prices. The company struggled at the end of the 1990s but has managed to remain independent and has now undergone considerable modernisation and is now growing again.
The deal with McLaren will see M&S introduce Grand Prix-themed boyswear as part of an initiative which called “Living the Dream” that will give kids the chance to turn their dreams into realities. The exclusive deal is for three years. The clothing has been inspired by the cutting-edge design and technology used by the Formula 1 team and the personalised logos and identities of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen. The designs will include genuine technical drawings created by the team’s senior engineers, the tread pattern of a Formula 1 wet-weather tyre and the crash helmet artwork of the drivers. There will also be badging, logos and detailing mimicking the textures, stitching and designs of McLaren’s team kit. The collection is aimed for children between the ages of five and 14 and prices will be much lower than usual F1 merchandising, with teeshirts starting at $12 and jackets from $30.
The collection will be branded Living The Dream and children will be invited to submit their dreams to the Living Your Dream panel, who will select the very best ideas to turn into reality.
“It’s flattering and humbling to have been the inspiration for part of the range,” said Lewis Hamilton. “The kids loved the clothes when they got a chance to wear them for the official photographs, and I’ve got a lot of little nephews whom I just know will go crazy for everything when it is launched in the autumn. It’s just a shame this wasn’t around when I was a kid!”