School and sportswear brand Trutex has launched a capsule collection of contemporary clothing under a new seasonal sub-brand label - 'Connected' - created by its recently appointed consultant fashion designer, Joanne Norris.

Directly influenced by autumn/winter 2000 fashion trends, the range is designed to look just as good out of school as it does in and offers a stylish and fashionable collection of garments for boys and girls (including unisex items), including trendy gilets and bootleg trousers, popular combat shirts and skirts, functional fleeces, and up-to-the minute outerwear.

The new collection has been introduced in response to a recent Mintel consumer research report on schoolwear retailing, which shows that fashion will be an increasingly important part of the school uniform for the future. It has also been designed to reflect the growing demands of style-conscious children and the needs of schools adopting a more liberated school uniform policy, allowing more modern and casual school clothing with fashionable influences.

There are two principal reasons for this: the first is that fashion will continue to keep today's school children happy, providing them with garments that they are content to wear to school and are comfortable being seen in out of school hours. At the same time, fashion will update garment styling, which tends to reflect the mainstream trends in clothing. This will provide an extra stimulus to demand for school garments throughout the school year.

Trutex believes the new Connected range will be welcomed by school children who are becoming increasingly image-conscious and who are influenced by the latest fashion trends. Not only is the collection fashionable, it also offers practicality and comfort too with modern styling and fabrics.

The range is featured in a specially produced brochure with the recommended retail pricing structure set in line with the results of focus groups with parents and children to find out what they would expect to pay for the clothing. Comparison tests were also undertaken to ensure the pricing structure reflected high street store offerings. In the first year Trutex is looking to introduce the full Connected range to 80 major retail outlets across the UK.

Commenting on the new Connected range, Clare Rix, marketing executive at Trutex said: "Up-styling and new fashion in schoolwear will continue to be important, not only to satisfy the demands of increasingly style-conscious school children, but also to show that school uniform has moved on and can reflect current fashion trends. The Connected collection offers wearer comfort, modern fabrics and styling and at the same time remains within the parameters of school uniform guidelines."