PODCAST: Albaray Founders Paula Stewart, Karen Peacock and Kirstie Di Stazio

Welcome to the latest episode of our Podcast series “In Conversation” where we bring you inspiring stories, retail insights and conversation from fashion’s most influential business leaders. 

During 2020, the British high street lost a number of its best-known brands as the COVID-19 pandemic hit fashion hard. One brand to hit the buffers early on in the pandemic was Warehouse, which was placed into administration during the first lockdown. With the world in disarray, it proved impossible to sell as going concern and the brand and its website only were picked up by acquisitive online group Boohoo.

Three senior executives from Warehouse Paula Stewart, Karen Peacock and Kirstie Di Stazio, however, are back with a new womenswear proposition, Albaray, which launched this week on its own platform and next week with retail giants John Lewis and Next. They join us on the latest episode of the ‘In Conversation’ podcast in partnership with Klarna.

Paula, Karen and Kirstie – who are CEO, Chief Creative Officer and Chief Commercial Officer respectively – tell Lauretta Roberts Editor in chief of the TheIndustry.fashion, how they dusted themselves off after Warehouse’s demise, formulated their vision, created their collection, secured their partners and got a cohesive collection to market in just six months In those six months the UK locked-down twice, they were obliged to work at a distance, doing everything from working out how to source barcodes to securing boats. What’s more Paula contracted COVID and, subsequently, long COVID.

Theirs is a story, which encapsulates everything we hoped we’d see as we lost so many stores and businesses over the past 12 months, which is to say that the devastation wreaked by COVID would lead to opportunities for new, more sustainable brands to emerge, paving the way for an exciting new future for fashion.

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