Candice Fragis has worked as a buyer for over 12 years with Browns, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter and now Farfetch. She was behind the launch of Net-a-Porter’s sportswear arm. Candice joins us to choose her favourite brands showcasing at SOURCE Brand Preview on 2nd and 3rd March 2016.
SOURCE Brand Preview is the largest digital fashion showcase featuring over 150 of the latest and best sustainable brands from around the world. Visit here to find out more, apply to exhibit or register to visit.
Candice’s top 5 Brand Picks
1) Ally Bee
Ally Bee enters its third winter season in Autumn Winter 2016 with an evolving range of British alpaca knitwear for women. Ally Bee also offers men’s knits and homewares as well.
Each piece is crafted in a small factory in the Scottish Borders in bespoke spun yarns made in a mill in Dorset. Yarns are ‘coloured by nature’ using without the use of harmful substances, heavy detergents and excessive water. The alpaca yarns are soft and robust, with a cashmere-like softness but without the weighty environmental price-tag of cashmere.
The collection is designed in contemporary styles with timeless appeal for longevity and wearability, in a selection of scarves, gloves and hats and a fully-fashioned raglan sleeve crew neck sweater. Ally Bee is designed in London, and all pieces are crafted in Scotland.
Candice choose Ally Bee for its “easy to understand story about sourcing, good imagery, accessible price points and clear branding.” Candice feels that Ally Bee would be a “good add-in to a multi-brand environment with good commercial opportunities and nice, clean design.”
ABURY brings together exciting designers with traditional artisans from remote and inspiring cultures. The designer is embedded in a craft culture for roughly two months to learn and share ideas from one another and to create a collection together, bringing the best of heritage knowledge and wisdom to high design.
The new collection is from Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri, handmade in Ecuador. It is called “A Non-Existent Tribe” – as Pam is from Zimbabwe but spent time learning the traditions and sharing her own knowledge with artisans in the Andes of Ecuador. The models used in the lookbook are from Kazakstan and Croatia, while the brand is based in Berlin. Together they create a new form of style tribe!
ABURY shares its profits with the ABURY Foundation and through the Foundation gives back the production time in education time to the respective communities. So far ABURY has created a school in Morocco where 40 women and 32 children go to school every day.
ABURY’s customer is a self-conscious and confident, stylish city woman. She loves to travel and explore cultures. She thinks about her social and environmental responsibility and is well educated on a high income.
Candice choose ABURY because she resonated with the “non-existent tribe” story and because ABURY also offers “a nice range of strong products.”
Candice further explained that “This is one of the best examples of communicating the socially conscious element of the brand, by including the details of hours it takes to make each item and how that time is given back – it makes it much easier for customer to understand what they are buying into.”
behno is a luxury women’s brand designed in New York City. However, behno’s mission is to redefine and bring sharp awareness to the craft and character of “made in India” and to set a new and fairer standard for manufacturing for India’s garment trade.
behno partners with a MSA Ethos, a large nonprofit to build a ethical garmenting factory in India. MSA Ethos incrementally implements The behno Standard, which is broken down into six categories: health, garment worker mobility, family planning, women’s rights, worker satisfaction and benefits, eco-consciousness.
Spring/Summer 2016 is behno’s second collection and takes inspiration from “the juxtaposition of the mechanized, paced movements of Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadisches Ballett with dystopia.” This plays out in many different ways throughout the collection from knitted tassels hanging asymmetrically to a give nonchalant attitude to raw edge crepes being paired with flowing silks in a controlled sort of chaos.
Candice chose behno because it’s “a well-rounded collection, and it looks modern and strong enough to sit in a fashion forward environment; the very interesting shapes look wearable and translate well online.” She also applauded behno’s excellent imagery and easy to use website.
4) Cecilia Hammarborg
Since launching in 2009, Swedish designer Cecilia Hammarborg collection has become a go-to label for tailored outerwear and statement coats. The aesthetic is Scandinavian minimalist with clean lines in luxurious Italian wools blended with Alpaca and Cashmere.
Each coat is made using a new technology for high quality recycled wool – ‘Cardato Recycled,’ so has a lower environmental impact than using pure virgin wool fibres. The collection is manufactured by a small family-run business in London with a long history of exceptional quality.
Cecilia Hammarborg’s customer is an independent women who appreciates functional design, simplicity and beauty.
Candice particularly liked the aesthetic – describing her coats as “a modern twist on something quite classic which gives them longevity for an investment purchase.” Candice also noted the quality of the fabrics, which she thought were communicated well online, and the unique finishes, which she thought gives the brand a real point of difference.
5) Luca Jouel
Luca Jouel is an Australian fine jewellery brand that has evolved out of a desire simply to create beautiful heirloom quality jewellery that holds personal meaning for the wearer.
Gemologist Tereena Lucas draws inspiration from her love for the healing arts, jewellery from antiquity, as well as patterns of botanic and architectural origin. Tereena uses harmonious combinations of hand-sourced rare and unusual diamonds, gemstones and mixed precious metals to create collections that are custom made and finished using a variety of techniques by the quality crafts people she works with. The result is jewellery that celebrates both an organic beauty as well as modern high finish, intended to evoke a sense of the timeless, luxurious and nostalgic.
Tereena has a background in gemstone identification and authentication, diamond grading and jewellery appraisal obtained by working for a prominent Australian jewellery valuation laboratory. She also holds qualifications as a naturopath and received her BSc in Molecular Biotechnology and BMedSc in Pathology. Tereena is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Australia (FGAA) and a member of the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA). And as a passionate mother herself, part proceeds of all sales go to helping children in need.
Luca Jouel was only launched four months ago and is showcasing the début collection at SOURCE Brand Preview.
Candice thinks Luca Jouel has a clear market and would sit well alongside other fine jewellery brands. “The aesthetic and design feel authentic and rustic whilst still having a luxe finish. The ethics are reassuring rather than being a focus which is important as it keeps the focus on the product,” she explains.