What motivated you to start your own label?
Whilst studying and researching innovation in menswear, I got fed up of seeing the same old looks, and colour palette for men and thought I could be the person that provides welcome and much-needed alternatives. It all just started with me wanting to make men feel like they have creative options to wear, just like women do.
Tell us about your fashion background?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and with my Mum a former womenswear designer, my Aunt a salon owner and my Uncle owning a blinds company, I always knew I wanted to have my own business. My Mum and Grandma both worked in the fashion industry, so I was always around colour and creativity. I then discovered menswear and never looked back! My products are all made in the UK with a strong artisanal and creative flair at the heart. Most things are designed and sampled in house, which ensures nothing being overlooked, along with a close connection with London style.
Which other businesses or entrepreneurs have inspired you?
There are too many to name, but I’d say the most of my inspiration comes from young technology brands. There seems to be a surge of young people starting up very successful and impactful brands, and that energy keeps me going.
How do you manage the work/life balance?
My team currently consists of myself and one pattern cutter, one intern and any freelancers I can get my hands on! That means I don’t get much time to relax, but I’m quite fortunate to have supportive family and friends that often drag me away from my work for meals or quality time when I appear to be in too deep!
What are your plans for the future growth of your business?
I plan to tackle pop-ups next and get into doing more collaborations with product designers and other brands. The goal is to spread the Clara Martin vision as far and as wide as possible.
How do you find the balance of being creative ideas versus being practical and commercially viabile?
This is a constant battle for me, as I am consumed by big and wonderful ideas that sometimes, aren’t always possible. I think the balance is finding something that people like and want to be a part of, but can still afford – which I think is a struggle for many brands.
What’s been your most successful form of marketing and promotion for your business?
I love Instagram and use it as much as I can. I think that along with my amazing team at Black PR have been fantastic tools for marketing and promotion.
What’s the best thing about running your business?
The freedom to make my own choices and to discover people willing to help me bring my ideas to life.
What’s on your work playlist?
We listen to a lot of Sade, Raury, Travis Scott and BBC Radio 2 at the moment!
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start their own label?
Take your time to research your market before you jump into anything, and always share your ideas!
- Clara Martin is one of the eight emerging designers that UKTI and Spindle are proudly bringing to New York for the Liberty Trade Show. Find out more here.