Featuring ethical luxury swimwear designer Charlotte Elizabeth Clough, with interview by Florum Fashion editor Noelle Lynne.
Charlotte I have known you for a little over a year now and always loved your style, to me its a no brainer that you would start your own luxury swimwear line. However for those who do not know you and haven't yet heard of Charlotte Elizabeth Clough, do tell what inspired you to finally launch your first collection?
Thank you Noelle. It was my frustration for not being able to easily find desirable swimwear that was luxurious, affordable, stylish, functional and glamourous sold all year round, then combined with a 6 year lingerie buying career this inspired me to launch my own line. It was the leap I took when I jacked in my job as a buyer to live the american dream in California for some time that influenced me so much to take the risk and just do it. California instilled into me that 'can do, will do’ attitude, and living and breathing the US swimwear market for a while drove me further to realising my dream and goal.
How long were you a fashion buyer for, what has your journey through the fashion industry been like?
After graduating with a 2:1 BA hons Fashion, Textile, Enterprise degree at Portsmouth University I interned at several fashion magazines in London. I then landed my first buying role on menswear for a short time until a lingerie buying opportunity came up. I bought lingerie and hosiery for 6 years until I decided to break free from the hamster wheel and live the american dream in pursuit of happiness, an exciting adventure, and feeling free.
Having been to the factories that manufacturer apparel and swimsuits all over the world, how did you choose the factory you went with for production?
Having traveled extensively in the latter part of my buying career to the Far East, Bangladesh and Turkey I chose a recommended premium swimwear factory in Istanbul whom I was introduced to through my business connections. Turkey is close to the UK providing quick deliveries and I always enjoyed my buying trips there working directly with those factories embracing their culture.
Additionally having seen so many different factories that manufacture apparel, what is your biggest concern?
My biggest concern is working conditions. I worry about sourcing of work to smaller factories who may not be ethically audited.
Tell me about the fabric you use to produce your swimsuits? Where is it sourced from?
The fabric is premium Italian spandex fabric which provides a luxurious touch next to the skin and chic appearance to the eye.
Do you see your self moving towards a sustainable fabric in the future? I recently heard of ELF Fabric from a Miami swimwear company, is this a fabric you might consider using?
Certainly! Any fabrics, printing and dying techniques which are ‘green’ that I can develop into fabulous swimwear creations are preferable to the brand.
How do you see your brand making a positive impact in the Green Fashion Movement, both long term and currently?
Long term by developing eco fabrications and manufacturing processes to create suits which you can wear, swim, pose, wash, repeat providing support in all the right places which ultimately scream ‘Green' luxurious sophistication. As a start up I’m currently seeking investment to provide funding for marketing and green fabric innovation sampling so that I can expand with the green fashion movement.
When designing your swimsuits, please share your process of inspiration. Does it come to you over time or do you have a process for sketches?
Creating my designs comes naturally to me. I’m most creative when I’m in a beach resort environment, so thats where most of my designs are drafted, and then I perfect them back in the office. I research emerging trends and react to what people are buying and wearing around the world when I travel. I combine this knowledge with the reality of what I think the consumer wants and needs paired with my tecnical apparel knowledge to create suits that are luxurious, sexy, glamorous and functional.
Who is your biggest influence when it comes to a designer?
I love Isabel Marant, Valentino, Roberto Cavalli and Balmain.
Who is your biggest influence when it comes to a style icon?
Olivia Palermo. I love her style!
What are your main thoughts on being ‘Green?'
Guilt free fashion for the designer, manufacturer and the consumer is the way forward. Every brand should make a conscious effort to be green to sustain and protect our world for the future.
Finally, what advice can give when shopping for quality clothing?
The fit and handle of the fabric should feel superior to that of the budget brands, while stitching and make up should be neat. The garment should fit well whilst looking stylish.
Ethical Luxury Swimwear