Behind the Jeans - Claire from Claret Showroom

What does your job involve?

I run Claret Showroom with my business partner Alex Lyles. We’re a womenswear clothing distribution company for American & Australian brands wanting to expand their sales into the Uk & European market.

Our day to day role changes so much during the year depending on where we are within the buying calendar. Currently we’re selling high summer ’12 swimwear for Zimmermann & Mara Hoffman. Whilst the wind blows and the snow falls it always makes for an amusing appointment with buyers looking at the scantily clad models in tiny 2 pieces!

What do you look for in a brand?

As a showroom we’re approached by at least 1 brand a day wanting us to distribute them within the UK. We always look into everything we are sent but are restricted hugely by the space within our showroom and the market demand. Within the showroom we like all the brands to complement each other without competing. They all need to target a similar market niche but not be too similar in styling. We therefore sell swimwear, denim, shoes, eveningwear, cashmere, daywear... you name it, we hope to have it covered.

How did you break into the industry?

I interned at Paul Smith every hour of my holidays during university. When I graduated they had no option but to offer me a job!

What are your everyday essentials?

Madeleine Thompson Cashmere. A great pair of Jeans purchased from Donna Ida, I tend to hit Westfield regularly! Good boots during the winter, generally Modern Vintage or House of Harlow. Apart from jeans and my underwear every single item I own in my wardrobe is from one of the collections in the showroom. After all you’ve got to love what you’re selling!

How do you wear your denim?

Tight, tight, tight. I love the flared look too but they require killer heels and so often I can’t quite face that at 7am.

Favourite denim brand?

MiH Jeans and Dylan George both fit me really well.

Who is your style icon?

It totally depends what mood I wake up in. I find my style changes day to day depending on what my job entails. Last week I was at our warehouse for 2 days overseeing the pick and pack of a large shipment. Then it’s all about the air max’s, a boyfriend jean and checked shirt. This morning we had a breakfast meeting at Claridge’s with a potential new brand whose owners were in town from LA. This required a killer heel and a sophisticated look. I’m doing some Winter Kate store training later in the week so then I’ll be head to foot in Nicole Richie’s designs. Next week I’m flying to NY to meet with one of our brands for an AW12 strategy meeting. I’ll be covered in cashmere for the flight. Everyday varies so much here I couldn’t really say one person influenced me more the mood and the task at hand.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Avoid peanuts – all hell breaks loose if I eat one of them!


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