Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Lou Lou Chats with Charli Cohen, sportswear designer

 Since I started training for the Cardiff 10k I have not surprisingly become a lot more interested in fitness wear. I have previously posted about some of my fitness fashion buys, so was really pleased to discover a new brand on the sportswear style scene: Charli Cohen. Charli kindly agreed to answer questions about her eponymous label and her top fitness tips.

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Describe the brand in three words.

Contemporary. Sophisticated. Functional.

Please tell us more about yourself.

Fitness and fashion are my two biggest passions and I realised early on I didn’t want to choose between them. I qualified as a personal trainer during the first year of my fashion degree, and had my epiphany that sportswear was the perfect consolidation of the two and the rest is history!



Does your brand have a signature style?

I aim to balance statement with sophistication - classic, flattering shapes are given a twist with bold colour blocking, anatomical panelling and tough hardware. The idea behind each design is that it should function as a high performance garment in the gym but also as sport-luxe fashion wear. Fabric is really important to me too - not only are all the fabrics I use high tech but also super-soft and tactile. I want to step away from the traditional shiny or scratchy sportswear fabrics and provide a luxurious alternative.

What is your favourite piece from the collection?

The Voltage Sweatshirt – it’s such an easy throw-on piece to transition from gym to street.

Where can we find your collection?

The collection is currently available for pre-order at charli-cohen.com and will be available both online and in selected retailers from next January. Updates are coming soon on stockists and two special trunk shows next month!

What has been the highlight for you since starting up your brand?

The launch in July: it was the first time showing my collection to press, buyers and the public and the feedback was incredible. I also worked with an amazing team to put it together - it was rewarding to see the collection showcased in exactly the way I wanted to portray it.

Looking back is there anything that you would have done differently?

Not yet! All the mistakes I’ve made have provided valuable experience to move forward with.



What advice would you give to people who are looking to start their own fashion business?

It’s important to be super-organised. When you’re running a business (especially in fashion) if something can go wrong, it probably will. You need to stay on top of everything all the time and leave nothing to chance.Know your numbers too – being talented and creative is one thing but funding yourself beyond the first season takes careful planning!

And don’t give up: if you’re passionate and 100% committed to making it work, you can move mountains!

What next for the company?

Right now, it’s all about breaking into the UK market, doing the very best I can with my debut SS14 collection and working on my AW14/15 collectionMoving forward,I aim to be stocked internationally – a global reach would be amazing. In a few seasons’ time, I’d like to branch out into accessories, menswear and perhaps a collaboration or two!



What motivates you?

I’m pursuing my passion and doing what I’ve always wanted to do: if I’m going to make anything work, this is it! It’s completely worth all the hours, blood, sweat and tears.

Who are your inspirations, and why?

My personal training clients and those I work out withMovement and physiology influence much of what I do. From a creative perspective, they inform the silhouettes and style lines of my designs. In terms of function, my work as a PT enables me to understand the practical needs of performance wear, how to make the garments ergonomic, supportive and flattering.

Top Fitness Tip?

Make it fun! Experiment with recipes, vary your workouts – there are so many different ways to get fit and healthy, so find the methods that YOU enjoy. It’s much easier to turn these into permanent lifestyle changes.

What is your motto?

I’m a problem solver. If I can’t figure out a way to do it, it can’t be done!

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