My inspiration, by Kim Winser
I began my career as a management trainee at Marks and Spencer and have, over the years, been a Board Director, CEO, investor and Chairman and have been privileged to work with and lead some of the best businesses in British fashion.
It is always exciting working with brands. In the mid-market, M&S was all about offering value and reliability. In the luxury sector, my work took me to run Pringle of Scotland and then Aquascutum, chair the board of Agent Provocateur and advise Net-A-Porter – it was the creativity, innovation and craftsmanship that led the way. Working with the best quality fabric mills and yarn spinners in the world was all-important.
From early on I could see that if you had money and chose to spend it on your wardrobe, you could have the best clothes: quality fabrics, great cut, lots of choice. No wonder the rich and famous look so good!
During the recession, I watched so many brands cutting value from their clothes to protect their profits. So when it came to thinking about creating my own brand, I wanted to do something different – the opposite – and put all the value back into the product for the sake of my customers.
My dream was to offer the same ultimate quality and fit as the luxury brands but at an affordable price. A price dictated by the quality of the product and not by a business process, which is normally littered with overheads adding to the cost – fancy offices, middle players and agents with silly salaries and expense accounts.
I saw fashion becoming either extreme, as you see on some of the catwalks –inspiring maybe, but wearable no – or dull, and so predictable that the word 'classic' would be embarrassed. So my dream grew.
My thinking was that whether in your 20s and new in your career, in your 50s and leading a Board or at home bringing up the next generation of entrepreneurs, we all want to feel fashionable, stylish and flattered. We want to feel good about ourselves. Our clothes should help us to feel confident. Whether it’s for work, for leisure, for entertaining or for being entertained – what matters so much is feeling good inside. Confidence is such an under-rated feeling.
And so Winser London was born – with a mission to create a brand that worked hard for women. A collection that was stylish, that worked across seasons so you could build a wardrobe, and that was amazing quality and value.
We developed a collection made for busy women: stylish, stunning quality and fit, yet affordable. A collection that is versatile and can easily mix and match to enhance your character and lifestyle, but not take it over.
I pulled together a team of terrifically talented individuals, some experienced in business, some completely new to it, to build a unique business together. We work remotely, no-one needs to up-sticks and move to central London or waste hours commuting. Location does not need to be a barrier to talent. Our passion is the value of gorgeous clothes that make women feel and look great.
Clever, high-performance fabrics are the starting point of the collection. We constantly develop fabrics and yarns that are exclusive to Winser London and made for our lifestyles. We add a touch of stretch to our silk shirts, which makes them fit well, be comfortable and travel with style. Our double jersey Ponte de Roma is super-flattering so we call the dresses, trousers and leggings ‘Miracle’ – they really do perform miracles. All our fabrics are developed around our busy, travelling lifestyles – whether we are in and out of a car, train or plane, we are always travelling. Our clothes need to enhance the way we look, not let us down.
Super cut and fit have been the silent weapon of the rich and famous to date. At Winser London we develop our patterns and couple them with clever cutting to enhance the fit, so now every woman can look and feel great in her clothes, despite body parts we are not keen on. There is a part of all of us we don't love, so rather than spend time and money trying to diet or operate it away, why not dress to suit our figures and enjoy who we really are?
It is the clothes – and particularly the quality and fit of the clothes – that give us the confidence in ourselves that we all crave. And by keeping the price accessible, more women can experience the very best in fabric, cut and fit that has been the luxury secret of the elite – until now.
This is the inspiration behind Winser London.
Read Kim's latest article for Forbes here.