Industry member, Clare Morgan has seen great changes in the fashion industry since starting out over 30 years ago. Last year her wholesale fashion agency, Clamor Fashion celebrated 15 years in business. We chat to Clare about laying the foundations then and building upon success now.
Can you tell me a little bit about Clamor Fashion Agency?
I started the business up 16 years ago on my return to the UK. Prior moving to Germany, I had spent many years in the wholesale fashion business; starting out with Robert de Keyser and bringing Louis Feraud to the forefront in the 80s. This gave me a good grounding to work for myself plus I had the added bonus of speaking another language; although it isn’t necessary because most Germans speak excellent English! I looked around for labels that had no representation in the UK to bring back and launch. Nowadays I represent three German labels (Simclan, Krines and Eve in Paradise) and one French label called Eva Tralala, which always makes people smile because of the name! I have a Manchester showroom during the selling season and I travel all over the UK doing courtesy calls to existing customers, selling calls, and hardest of all, cold-calling!
What do you look for in the brands you represent?
To me it’s all about value, good quality and the right price. They also have to be versatile in their appeal as I have a wide variety of customers. It is better if they don’t compete with each other, so each label has to have its own USP so they in fact complement each other. Krines is a German designer who has his own boutiques in Berlin and is my top-end label. It’s a funky German design with luxury fabrics and beautiful quality. Eve in Paradise uses only natural fabrics – silk, wool, cashmere, cotton and some are organically produced. Simclan is my smart casual label offering a range of separates with oodles of details and plenty going on! Eva Tralala is short and forward order. It’s still manufactured in Paris so this means customers can always get more. They always have a colourful collection!
You exhibit at Pure London, Moda in Birmingham and CPD in Dusseldorf. How do you find these different trade shows vary?
Pure is a very, very busy show for me, my target market all attend Pure. As usual it was a hectic time for me. Perhaps slightly lower footfall this time around, but that is not surprising. I have a feeling some buyers stayed at home so they were not tempted into over-buying! As for Moda, the purpose-built NEC is logistically a dream – so easy to get in and out of, easy parking and it is interesting being alongside menswear and lingerie. I have watched the rise and demise of CPD and feel very sorry for the buyers that attend it. Historically the Germans charge entrance fees to the show and when it was obvious that the numbers were declining they should have axed the fee immediately; they did this far too late to rescue it. The UK buyers who go there now have to spend a fortune on taxis to get to all the different venues and it is a nightmare.
Your business has been up and running for 16 years, what do you see for the next five?
I await the fate of the euro with interest. As it becomes weaker I earn less, but hopefully will sell more units because the pieces will be less expensive for the British to buy so it should even out. Only the strongest independents and companies will survive this recession. Unfortunately women will always put their families before their wardrobes unless they are very wealthy and then it doesn’t matter! I’d like to build on the success of my current labels and perhaps introduce a new one just to ring the changes. My greatest ambition is to turn a label into a household name!
Get in touch with Clare via The Industry Directory