Market-leading e-tailer Asos keeps evolving, and Asos Inc. (inc, as in “incubator”) is its latest initiative. Conceived to nurture designers - both emerging and established - selected talents receive support to grow their businesses by adding new product lines to their existing lines, and thus avoiding any impact on their mainline operations. Making this happen, Asos takes full responsibility for the entire production process, from sourcing to selling the products via exclusively for the first two seasons. Once the exclusive period is over, participating designers are free to wholesale their products to retailers worldwide and also have the option to take control of the production of the ranges themselves.

As an idea of Asos Buying Director Caren Downie – who formerly was buying director at Topshop and influential in helping the brand’s successful New Generation partnership with London Fashion Week – the initiative has been applauded by the industry. “A project like this feels long overdue, it has the flexibility to support designers at whatever level of development their business has reached, and provides exciting opportunities to expand product ranges beyond their normal boundaries,” Downie said.

The first designer to benefit from the program is St Martins graduate Thomas Tait, who presented the inaugural Asos Inc. offering - a line of bags to complement his womenswear range - during London Fashion Week in September. The bags will be available on in February of 2011.