FC Interview: Caren Downie – Finery London
FineryLondon.com may be under one-year old but it’s a baby with an old soul. Set up by Caren Downie (pictured right wearing glasses with Rachel) and her tightknit team, including Emma Farrow and Rachel Morgans, all of whom have lashings of experience with the UK’s leading high street chains. Caren’s extensive CV includes top positions held at ASOS.com, Buying Director at TopShop, along with heading up the NEWGEN and designer collaboration programmes, alongside the role of external examiner at London College of Fashion.
Finery London launched in February 2015, an online womenswear brand with a uniquely British point of view. Caren explains: “Finery is all about design and we believe that great design should be available to everyone no matter what their budget. To that end Finery is a curated collection of beautifully designed and edited pieces that women will want to keep in their wardrobe for a long time.”
For Caren setting up Finery London was a huge gamble in such a turbulent retail climate but her reservations were swiftly swept to one side; “I knew it was a once in a lifetime chance to do something I really believe in and work with amazing people who have a similar vision.”
Introducing the new Autumn/Winter 2015 collection Caren enthuses: “We are excited to present the first Finery Autumn/Winter collection; it builds on the brave use of colour from Spring/Summer ‘15 but allows us to introduce a richness of texture and fabrication that reflects our London roots. We are proud to be working with local expertise to develop our individual handwriting with close attention to every detail that offers a unique point of view on the British high street.”
Inspired by urban British winters, capturing the stark beauty of the graphic city landscape the team introduce bold textures and fabrics, taking its cue from the contrast between nature and modernity. Crisp cottons, soft leathers, heavy checks and ombres weave through the collection, anchoring statement accents with just the right amount of polish.
Emma Farrow, Head of Design, added, “It’s refreshing to be able to work on a collection so close to my heart; with Finery we had a blank canvas and I think this collection is defining our aesthetic and who the Finery woman is.”
There is no denying that the online retail market is highly competitive, how have the team managed to convey the brand online so far? Caren responds: “Making an emotional connection with your customer when you are just online was always going to be one of our toughest challenges. The press have been amazingly supportive so PR has been above all expectations.”
Finery London cleverly launched with a pop-up showroom in Covent Garden during London Fashion Week last February and the store was buzzing with press and stylists, does Caren envisage a bricks and mortar Finery store in the future? She replies cautiously, “it would be fantastic but there is still a lot to do before we even think about it.”
You can sense that Caren is determined to make Finery a success and is in it for the long-haul; “at the moment I can really only see myself at Finery, I am very proud of what the team has achieved so far and we are still not even a year old.”
To view the new Autumn/Winter collection visit: https://www.finerylondon.com