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Karen Radley

The founder of Scoop talks to Emily Norval about her fashion heritage and seeking out the next big thing.

Can you tell us about Scoop and the idea behind it?

Scoop is a biannual boutique fashion and lifestyle trade show bringing together emerging and established contemporary designer labels from the UK and overseas. Each year the format changes, encompassing not only the exhibitors at Scoop but also the fabulous works of art at the Saatchi Gallery in London. With my knowledge of the fashion industry, we take a hands-on approach curating the look and feel of the exhibition.

Your father Alfred Radley once owned the clothing company Quorum. Was it always an industry you wanted to work in?

It’s almost as if it was woven into my DNA. I don’t think I can remember a time when I didn’t love fashion - even at the age of eight I’d be straight out of ballet classes and out with Dad round the clothes shops. It was even more exciting when he bought Quorum, the company behind seminal names such as Ossie Clark and Alice Pollock. Imagine how I was envied at the age of 15 for my Saturday job in the Quorum shop, initially in Radnor Walk and then in the King’s Road - fashion nirvana! I suppose that was the beginning of what would turn out to be a lifelong passion.

Having worked at Quorum and then as a brand consultant, what made you make the move from working on the sales side of fashion to setting up an exhibition?

In a word, frustration. I came back to the industry after a bit of a break in a new guise as an agent. I was really excited about the brands I was working with, but I quickly realised that catwalk shows aside, London was missing something important. There simply wasn’t a single event that catered for the market sector I was interested in - namely second lines, bridge collections and niche designers who might not have UK representation. Encouraged by a chat with a friend in the exhibitions business, I decided that since London lacked a suitable forum for the brands I represented, I’d create one myself.

How do you source new designers to exhibit at Scoop?

Scoop is for selected brands only. I carefully choose each brand and am always looking for fresh and emerging talent.

What are you most looking forward to about the next edition of Scoop?

Following last season’s Belgian spectacular, the February edition takes its focus across the North Sea
to present a veritable smorgasbord of Scandinavian-themed style. Come February, the Saatchi Gallery will be bedecked with a wildly diverse treasure trove of collections that epitomise the peculiarly Scandinavian knack for blending the pragmatic with the dramatic.

If you weren’t working in fashion, what would you be doing?

I think I would always work in fashion. It’s in my blood.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Aways be passionate with everything you do!

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