Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Who am I and where am I going...?

So lets go back to London Fashion week - what I can remember was a bit of a blur.

So from the outsider you saw:
- CHARLOTTE TAYLOR SS11 shown at LFW as a Ones to Watch with VFS
- A Vauxhall custom print car with CT robots all over it (a personal highlight)
- International press coverage
- New look books, press releases, amazing cookie robot donned goody bags etc...

But I know what everyone is most interested in is the behind the scenes.

Here is what you didn't see:
- My first ever model casting where the VFS designers collectively selected a choice of models for the show.
- All the normal panic and stress that you would expect with the culmination of a collection, although surprisingly I did feel more organized this time round as I was more familiar with the VFS team and their set-up.
- The acquiring, implementation and feedback of sponsors of the show.
- A rather chaotic backstage at the show. I arrived super organized, even for me, but the shift of rail location 15 minutes before the show totally flummoxed me and 2 hours of prep went down the drain.

- There was also no time to fit clothes on models and because I was 2nd in the group, I had the least time (there was menswear after me so Georgia had a leisurely change in comparison) and many of the clothes did not fit the models. One of the tops had to be safety pinned on a super tiny model and another split a skirt open. One of the necklaces was put on wrong and a top on back to front and dont even get me started on shoes!!! Anyway needless to say I will NEVER go into a show without having fitted clothes on models previously (even if I have to make a scene and insist) and I will always have enough shoes for a pair per look. Having time to prepare your dressers is also essential and a rail per model, so all their looks are on one rail is pretty elementary, but you never know! Anyway no-one got to see any of this and the models made it out on time so all gravy. However my stumble out onto the catwalk after the show was comparable to a rabbit (who had probably been run over a couple of times) in headlights and was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
- Some serious waffle to some journalists backstage. Thank god I had Camilla, my helper extraordinaire aka the Elephant (because of her memory, nothing else) to prompt me whenever my frazzled brain stopped functioning.
- The collection was then whisked upstairs to join fellow designers in the VFS exhibition room to begin 4 days of press and sales appointments.Phew.

Anyway, what a week. However it is when all the hype calms down that the work really begins and this is where I had to make some seriously tough decisions.
From the outside LFW was a great success for CT, and dont get me wrong, it was. However as well as being a fashion label, this is also a business and without money coming in it is essentially a glorified hobby.
The collection and label are going well at this point but unless I make some changes in some way, finances will run out and it will be tough to get a backer on board.
I also feel that the label has lost a part of its identity. Although I love the collection, I feel it needs a stronger message and editing.

On making the business more financially viable:
- Obviously one can never expect to make a return immediately with any fashion label but it needs to be moving in that direction.
- I dissect the label, its financial figures, its identity and also my vision for it and see what can be done. The problem is I dont want to sacrifice the brands essence to make a quick buck.

SO the options are:
- Increase the price of the product (this would be confusing to the buyers, press and customer. I also never wanted to have seriously pricey products as it is not me and has never been my vision for the brand) = not an option.
- Decrease unit costs ( moving production abroad and potentially decreasing the quality of the raw materials) = NO THANKS
- Reduce the size of the collection, styles and different fabrics within it (increasing minimums on fabrics and orders of one style and subsequently reducing costs). By editing and reducing the collection you can focus on a more identifiable product and message, solving both problems = YES PLEASE

By going down this road, the brand image, target market and price range also remain the same so no confusing message is given.

So moving forward : I am going to leave this to the next blog as I am sure you've read enough for one day...


  1. Welcome back!

    I can totally relate to you with your financial challenges. I'm finally about to launch my menswear line and it's becoming a shock as to how much I have spent during this process. My fingers are crossed that I will be able to make the money back in sales.

    I'm interested to see where the direction of CT is headed. As a fellow designer, I know how important your own brand is to you and it's not easy to make changes.

    Best of luck to you and I look forward to reading more!

  2. Hi Charlotte.
    I have a big dream like learn so much from you....
    I can't waiting what the NEXT...
    Keep update u'r blog...