Written by Naomi May
Charlotte Simone is the London-based designer that’s taking the internet by storm with her Penny Lane coats in a buffet of shades – and the fashion crowd can’t get enough.
When the walls of her successful retail business came crumbling down as a result of the severity of the pandemic, Charlotte Beecham, the founder of Charlotte Simone, began worrying.
“During lockdown I lost my retail business and felt utterly shattered,” Simone tells Stylist. “As retailers started to cancel their orders, I had to figure out how I was going to stay afloat and fast.”
The result of Simone’s period of reflection was a newly invigorated and established business model. Pieces that were made and produced in bigger quantities were slimmed down and released as part of smaller, limited-edition collections.
“The fashion industry moves at such a pace that it’s often difficult to pause and think about your direction, but the pandemic allowed me to do just that,” she says. “I thought about why I started and went back to my roots. I abandoned my wholesale business and worked towards a more considered approach to designing.”
If her name isn’t familiar to you, her coats almost definitely are. Inspired by Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane jacket in cult 90s classic Almost Famous, it was a stint studying English Literature at New York University that provided London-born Beecham with the inspiration she needed to make her first foray into designing.
“I started out in the garment district of New York when I graduated with no fashion degree but a best friend who went to Parsons School Of Design,” she says. “She helped me bring my very first designs to life, and once I had samples, I got in my car and drove around the city selling from door to door, just like my dad who started out as a tights salesman had told me I should do.”
Twenty retailers were sold by Beecham’s designs and chutzpah and that’s where the story of Charlotte Simone started back in 2011. Fast forward 11 years and her designs have amassed a cult following with Rita Ora, Lindsay Lohan and Sienna Miller, to name just a few, among her fans.
If the pandemic was difficult for many, for Beecham it provided a necessary reset and now her brand is positioned for success. Small-batch collections are released several times a year and are available to buy for only one week, the latest of which – Winter Drop 1 – will be revealed on Thursday after nine months of conception.
“We moved forward with the belief of creating less but better, which is the very ethos I started with,” Beecham adds. “The new structure also allows me to be more creative and not feel limited by mass runs and supplier demands.”
Her plans for Charlotte Simone’s future remain characteristically hopeful. Following a sell-out collaboration with jewellery stalwart Roxanne First, which debuted last year, Beecham is ensuring her London label’s success by diversifying her offering without deviating from its inherent colour-filled DNA.
“I hope there’s longevity in my designs,” she concedes. “I want to make staples for years to come and not just fashion pieces for one season. There’ll be more drops and more collaborations. I’m excited.”
Charlotte Simone Winter Drop 1 will go on sale for one week only on 29 September at 9am.
Images: Getty; Charlotte Simone
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