Chit Chat Tuesday With Hugo Douglas from Knitwear brand Plum of London

cct plumLondon intro collageGood morning CCT readers! How are we all doing on this fine morning? I hope the answer is fab-u-lous as always and ready for the week ahead! What a beautiful weekend it was! The sun was shining and the summer vibes were being felt by all! However, I was not feeling this was on Saturday morning as I got caught by the wind and the rain whilst pounding the pavements of Vicky park! I looked like a drowned rat by the end of it and was not feeling as if my body was saying ‘thank you thank you’ as my Mum always says to me it should be expressing to me after exercising!

On Thursday we have got our AW15 press day which I am very excited about! We are frantically trying to prepare the showroom – it may be chaos at the moment but by Thursday it will be a vision (I hope)! I will give you a full update next week but in the meantime, make sure you keep your eyes peeled on social networks!!

Anyways, enough babbling from me! This week on CCT I have Hugo Douglass joining me from luxury British knitwear brand Plum of London. So, let’s get to it so we can find out the latest!

Hugo, thank you so much for joining both the CCT readers and myself on today’s show! Can we start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself and your background…

Good morning everyone! Well, I worked in property for quite a few years which was successful but didn’t offer me everything that I was looking for! Perhaps it was the old cliché of ‘not finding it fulfilling enough’ that was relevant to my predicament. I knew I didn’t want to work in the industry for the rest of my life so when I encountered a few changes in my life, involving home, personal and work, I came upon the opportunity to work in the fashion/ clothing industry and came upon alpaca- a yarn which was undervalued and I felt it had huge potential and obviously still do.

cct hugo main imageHugo Douglas – Plum of London

Did you always know you wanted to go in to fashion?

For some reason, yes I did. I had always drawn inspiration from huge global fashion brands (most often named after their founder), who’d built an empire in their lifetime. I remember talking to the son of one of the guys who started up White Stuff when I was pretty young and it was that encounter when I realised I wanted to do something similar, but in my own style.

So, it’s the White Stuff son we have to thank for inspiring you!! What made you decide to set up a luxury fashion brand for both adults and children?

That must be credited to the incredible benefits and advantages that alpaca and more specifically, Royal alpaca possesses over all other yarns. I felt that the attributes of Royal alpaca lends itself to clothing and accessories for babies and children first and foremost thanks to its unbelievably soft handle, hypoallergenic, naturally antibacterial and breathable qualities to name just a few. Bearing this in mind, it was obvious that adults would love the qualities of the yarn too so we decided to launch our first collection consisting predominantly of childrenswear and baby accessories alongside adult accessories and homeware.

There is nothing better than good quality knitwear! Why the name ‘Plum of London?’ Where did this come from?

My grandfather gave me a Plum tree as a birthday present when I was a young boy. He is the one person I’ve always looked up to and have always admired. He really was amazing and if I could emulate just a few things that he achieved in his life, then I’d be a very happy man, Unfortunately he died some years ago now but sometimes a relative has said that I remind them of him which to me, is the greatest compliment in the world.

I am so sorry for your loss but that is so lovely that you named the company in inspiration of him! AND you remind people of him which is such a compliment as you said! Can you tell us about the brand…

Plum of London was founded on 6 key principles; to create contemporary, British made knitwear using the world finest yarn, Royal alpaca. All the yarn we use has been ethically sourced in South America whilst alpacas themselves are an environmentally positive animal which further enhances our collections’ sustainable principles. We understand that our customers won’t always be compelled to purchase one of our pieces for the reasons given above so we collaborate with Britain’s most promising and up and coming knitwear designers which ensures that every one of our collections is fresh and exciting. A lot of people have described what we’re doing as innovative whilst others have said that it’s revolutionary.

plumoflondonslipperboots

Baby slipper boots – Hand knitted.

I would love love love to go to South America as both of my parents were born there! Can you tell us a little bit about alpaca yarn?

Be careful asking me this type of question as I may not know when to stop…! It’s been said that no one in Britain has worked with alpaca in this way or on this scale for over 150 years but we believe that it’s soon to overtake cashmere as the world’s most highly regarded yarn and we’re doing what we can to try and revive the British knitwear industry. If you were to read a full list of the benefits and attributes of Royal alpaca, you’ll understand why.

No way that’s amazing! I think it’s great how passionate you are about it! What makes Plum of London stand out from other fashion brands?

As mentioned in my previous answer, it has been claimed that no one in Britain has worked with alpaca yarn in this way or on this scale for at least 150 years so I believe this is why some are calling our manufacturing process as innovative and even revolutionary. We are doing what we can to support our local and highly skilled knitwear industry and oppose the fast-fashion that some countries want to support, both in Europe, Asia and elsewhere!

Support is so important! Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

The classical British landscape, the coastlines and the parkland in particular, especially give the colourful hues it offers throughout the four seasons.

My Mum and Dad live in Norfolk – may be that should be the next destination you visit to draw inspiration! There’s nothing like the Norfolk coastline! Where can individuals buy your products?

Predominantly on our website: www.plumoflondon.com but we also have quite a few stockists now including ASOS, Wolf & Badger and LASO in Japan.

Wow that’s incredible – congratulations! What’s coming up for the brand in 2015?

Exciting times!! A menswear and womenswear range. They’re currently in production and we’re extremely excited for their launch- AW15…!

cct plumlondon man scarf

From the current range – men’s scarf.

cct plumlondon scarf

From the current collection.

Wooo wooo that is exciting! What a busy year you have coming up? Do you have any fashion secrets?

Tricky one, but perhaps to always wear what you feel comfortable in and of course, ensure that it fits well. You could wear the most high-fashion garments but if you’re not sure how to wear it or it doesn’t feel right, then it’s more than likely that it won’t look right.

Fab advice! I completely agree! AND last but not least what do you do outside of work to relax?

I have lots of outside interests but it just comes down to whether I can find the time to pursue them… Sport, reading, theatre and music are just some but I love what I’m doing so I’m relieved to say that I’ve finally found a vocation.

If only we could press pause sometimes hey? BUT then again that’s the excitement of it all isn’t it!?

Hugo, thank you so much for joining me on todays CCT! It’s been great having you and getting to learn more about yourself, alpaca yarn and all the rest! Please keep me and the CCT readers updated on all Plum of London’s exciting activity!!

Join me next week for lots more chinwagging and gossip!  Over and out chicas and chicos <3 Kate xox

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