Designer, Charlotte Beecham founded Charlotte Simone, London’s most iconic colored faux fur and fur accessories brand in 2011 straight out of college with a ten thousand dollar loan from her father. Fast-forward to today, and she has created a multi-million dollar brand with stockists all around the globe and a slew of loyal fashionistas who can’t get enough of the colorful and playful “fluff” that Charlotte Simone has become known for.
“I studied at NYU, but I spent my freshman year of college in Paris. I studied Literature and Art, but fell in love with fashion and the pastries instead! The women in Paris are beautiful! I was inspired daily by the effortless style of Parisian women and their ability to build an outfit around a single accessory. One day, my head turned on the streets of Paris when I saw a beautifully dressed lady all in black wearing a huge statement scarf. It was in that moment that I realized I wanted to reinvent the everyday scarf, an accessory I felt was still left untapped. Seeing a gap in the market I designed the ‘Popsicle’, what has become our signature scarf and the rest is history”, shares Beecham on how the idea for her brand came about.
Beecham, who started creating products out of her dorm room continues, “I got a loan from my father so that I could start making my accessories in the NYC garment district. When I got my first big order from Bloomingdales, I used the money to fund myself moving forward in addition to paying my dad back of course! My first eighteen months I worked extremely hard. I went door-to-door to every buyer in town to get my brand off of the ground running. I am proud to have truly built this business on my own from the ground up.”
One of the unique attributes to the brand is the fact that every item is offered in both faux fur and real fur. “We have always created pieces in both real and faux. In truth, I believe in catering to every consumer but over the years the development in the faux fur industry is so amazing allowing for quality that near mirrors the real thing! We are using faux more and more and real fur is becoming a thing of the past. Faux allows for a better price and now looks and feels as good as the real thing. Our fur is from origin assured farms. We only use high quality manufacturers for these items. It is important to us to make sure that the people we work with share our values. As a company we are always keeping up with newest certifications for ethical fur and of course our ethical standards”, states Beecham.
The faux fur will definitely have people doing double takes. Even to the trained eye, the textiles used in the Charlotte Simone line look and feel incredibly real. Beecham explains, “Our faux fur is developed by our team in partnership with a very good manufacturer in Toyko. We pay close attention to the look, quality, feel and color. We have worked hard with our partners to find promising new techniques creating the best quality for our clients. Together, we’ve successfully created the perfect multi-length faux fabric, which mirrors the nature of real fur by being a multitude of different lengths and textures. It adds height and that extra “fluff” factor that the Charlotte Simone has become well known for.”
When I ask her what her biggest challenge has been since her launch, Beecham tells me, “As the brand continues to grow, we are constantly challenged by the ever-changing marketplace and consumer wants and needs. A growing brand means evolving production needs, categories and the need for constant product to keep up with needs. We follow the traditional fashion calendar, so we launch seasonally. This past season when we launched knitwear, we had to source new factories for a new category we had never produced before. While this is an exciting time, I want to make sure the Charlotte Simone client always has the best, so it’s a self-inflicted pressure I put on myself out of love for our loyalists. But on the flipside, the biggest reward is seeing Charlotte Simone in the wild. It still feels like a shock when I see someone strutting down High Street in London wearing our Polly Pop scarf!”
The brand currently offers a wide selection of scarves, jackets, bags, hats, and other accessories. With the Charlotte Simone expanding, I was curious what customers can expect next? Beecham responds, “I’ve just finalized my FW19 collection and I’m excited to share that I’ve expanded the range to include a wider selection of jackets and new for Charlotte Simone, cashmere jumpers. I really can’t wait to share this exciting new chapter. I also plan on experimenting with more textures and fabrications in my upcoming collections and really testing the market for alternative materials and techniques not traditionally seen in accessories. The result will be a multi-functional collection comprised of fur, knits and woven fabrics.”
What I love about the brand is the sense of whimsy the pieces will add to any outfit. Wearing Charlotte Simone accessories not only ups the glamour factor, but adds a much needed pop of color in the dreary months of winter. When I unfairly ask which accessory she couldn’t live without Beecham tells me, “Charlotte Simone is all about adding that statement accessory to take you from desk side to date night. The Popsicle is my wardrobe staple, simply because it’s so easy to wear from day to night. I can sling it across my shoulders with a leather jacket and instantly feel a little more dressed up and ready to go.”
From bold rainbow stripes to more classic styles, Charlotte Simone offers an accessory for any occasion and every wearer.