September 13, 2017
With the launch of our new jewellery collections for both men and women coming in a few weeks’ time (watch this space!) we enjoy a few weeks of catching up with some of our contemporaries who share our values. Conversations with brands that we admire are both inspiring and refreshing. It allows us to share stories, knowledge and learn from each other.
One of these contemporaries is The Workers Club (TWC). Founded in 2015 by husband and wife team Adam and Charlotte Cameron, TWC create considered garments for like-minded souls, with a particular focus on engineered outerwear. Sharing our meticulous attention to detail, respect for materials and precise manufacturing processes, TWC combine industry and fashion, putting fabric first and really delving into the engineering elements behind all of their pieces. This is an approach that we take whether we are creating our collections of cufflinks and cuff bracelets for men, or our statement necklaces and reversible earrings for women, and it’s an approach that I am looking forward to discussing further with Adam and Charlotte in our conversation today.
“We met at University,” Adam tells me. “Humble beginnings! I met Charlotte in my second year at Derby. We sat next to each other and were really good mates. We’ve since both been in the industry for a number of years working for other people, but we’ve always wanted to do our own things. It’s been on the cards since we were at Uni. I think that the more time you work for other people, the more it builds up and I got to the point where I wanted an outlet to create something pure and without compromise.”
“I’ve always worked for what you could class as British luxury brands,” he continues. “I’ve always worked for brands that do strong outerwear. I’ve always done outwear and denim really. I started off at Burberry and then I worked for Caterpillar and did a bit of work for YSL. Then, when we moved to New York, I worked for American Eagle and, when we came back, I worked for Dunhill.”
“Dunhill was my big job. I worked there for seven years and moved up the ranks to become Head of Design. Then I went self-employed in 2013. I needed to do something different. I left Dunhill with a view to see what was out there and so we set up the consultancy. The first job I got was Kingsman which was really interesting because it was like a start-up. I was working with the film company to develop the products and I worked with all sorts of traditional British brands – Deakin and Francis, Turnbull & Asser, Drake’s, Globe-Trotter. It was a who’s who of British brands. From there, we’ve done lots of different things - working for a gun maker to a running brand.”
“I worked with high street stores under Arcadia,” Charlotte tells me, “and then with the manufacturers directly. I was always in fast fashion which is the opposite end of the spectrum to Adam. Mine was a conscious and ethical decision to step out of that. It was time to leave.”
“I’m a lot more creative, visionary and am always coming up with ideas. Adam is more methodical and likes his systems. He’s very black and white. I’m always about what’s next? What’s next? I’ll never be comfortable. Adam is creative in a way where he’ll be happy playing with fabric and vintage all day, whereas I’m more trend driven and focused on the brand. We definitely bring different things to the table.”
Like Alice and Ed here at Alice Made This, Adam and Charlotte have found a balance in their ways of working. By focusing on their strengths and both bringing their past experiences to the brand, the reality of working together as husband and wife has become easy and effective rather than the tense prospect that many people fear. By leaving the city, they have not left the fashion industry behind them. Rather, they’ve taken part of it with them to the country.
“When we launched the brand,” Charlotte continues, “we quickly realised that it was hard to juggle our business with everyone else’s expectations. It sort of evolved. We had the idea and it started to come to fruition when we moved to the countryside. We moved in 2010, and it’s a cheesy thing, but you leave London and get the house and get the dog and the kids. I was working on Oxford Street for 15 years and then suddenly our lifestyle completely changed. You’re growing vegetables and gardening and all those lovely things you wanted to do, but then, as materialistic as it is, you have a bit of an identity crisis. For example, I realised that I didn’t have a coat that fit my style but still worked for the country and the elements. That’s why we started with a coat. I wanted a coat that works for men and women”
“We never wanted it to be two completely different looks for men and women,” Adam says. “We had enough money to make 96 to begin with and Mr Porter bought the lot. Launching exclusively with Mr Porter with the outerwear meant it has just grown quickly.”
A unisex aesthetic is something that we also understand and strive for with our collections. Our lapel pins, belts, key rings and cufflinks can all be styled for both men and women, with their clean and honest profiles offering precise details. TWC’s coats are functional, luxurious and contemporary, encompassing the high quality design and gender neutral look that we admire. I ask more about the engineered elements, the materials and the hardware that goes into their garments.
“When we launched the coats, I think it’s important to bear in mind that we spent as much time developing a few products as some brands take to develop a whole collection,” he tells me. “We could really scrutinise what that coat should be. It was very much about looking at all of the detail and we were able to combine lots of different elements of things that we liked into one product."
“Our outerwear system is called ‘The Works’ and that’s us saying that we can deliver one outwear product that gets you through the year. We knew we had to create something that was non-seasonal. We had to think about the fabric and chose the cotton we use because it’s the most adaptable to the elements. It’s a great Italian fabric. It’s compactly woven and the yarn is coated before they weave it so that when that fabric gets wet the yarn expands and creates a natural waterproof barrier.”
“We use showerproof cotton so it will keep you dry in a storm. The best thing is that it’s breathable so when you’re out you aren’t sweating and, because it’s cotton, it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a performance coat. It’s quite modern and clean.”
“In terms of details,” he continues “the engineered part comes from the coat being fully seam taped and by us really looking at all of the details. We use Riri zips which are Swiss made and the best in the world. They are military grade and never get stuck. It’s a garment that’s built to last.”
“We hate design for the sake of design,” Charlotte adds. “It all has to look quite simple and paired back. Our customers are well travelled and are all over the place all the time so everything has to be practical and quality for them. A lot of our woven shirt fabrics are Japanese, for example, and our chinos are Italian made and then garment dyed – which makes them softer and feel more authentic."
“We’re definitely casual, but we see ourselves as a luxury brand,” Adam says. “It’s always about fabric first for us. We wanted to be versatile and create a wardrobe that works across different ages. We wanted the collection to go as well with white trainers as Blunstoned boots.”
With a shared respect for materials, process and well thought out design, there are many parallels to be drawn between Alice Made This and TWC. Their timeless and non-seasonal pieces, built with the customer and the pace of modern life front of mind, mean it’s no surprise that they have become well regarded for their durable and versatile collections, in particular their staple gold hardware. I end our conversation by asking whether they ever have time to switch off and how, in their own words, they’d like TWC to be thought of.
“Outside of work?” Adam concludes. “We don’t maintain a work/ life balance. Two and half years of our lives have just sunk into TWC, but we’re still really happy. We want to be in a key store in each city across the world. We want to be known for really good quality, enduring style and great customer service.”
“Definitely!” Charlotte agrees. “We want to be known for genuinely valuing our customers.”
Learn more about TWC and their collections here.
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