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Exclusive: Former Lost Ink buyer launches ambitious knitwear brand

A former Ted Baker and Lost Ink buyer has launched a new knitwear brand and aims for it to be stocked in more than 30 independent stores across the UK by 2021, Drapers can reveal. 

London-based women’s knitwear brand Cara & The Sky was founded in July by Cara Melzack, after securing a government start-up loan for an undisclosed sum, with advice from fashion business adviser Fashion Angel. 

Melzack has more than 10 years’ experience in knitwear buying. 

She worked at Lost Ink as a women’s knitwear and outerwear buyer between January 2017 until this year, before she was made redundant when the company began an “orderly wind-down” in March. Before this, Melzack was senior assistant buyer at M&Co from January 2015 to January 2017 and assistant knitwear buyer at Select Fashion between August 2013 and January 2015. She also worked as a senior womenswear buyer admin assistant at Ted Baker.

The Cara & The Sky knitwear collection currently comprises eight pieces, at retail prices ranging from £45 for a knitted tunic to £62 for cardigans.

Each collection is designed in London and made in the UK, using trusted manufacturers based in Leicester.

“We chose this specifically to support the UK-made fashion industry, and it also helps reduce the carbon footprint of our garments –no air freight for us”, Melzack told Drapers. “All swing tickets and back neck labels are made from recycled materials. All packaging is fully recyclable, and all our brand notes or vouchers are made from 100% recycled paper.”

She added: “With knitwear at the heart of the brand, each unique style has been carefully considered, from shape, to quality, to fit. The designs are trend driven, but trendless, giving longevity to each style. You can wear it this season, and it will be just as relevant next season. We want to slow down fashion.”

The brand launched in October and is currently stocked in eight independent stores across the country, including Iris & Violet in Stamford, Lolly & Mitch in Tring and Style Agent, Manchester. It is also stocked on third-party platform SilkFred, and is selling on its own online platform.

The independent brand is planning to expand the range and its customer reach for autumn 2020 by offering a wider collection across two to three drops in various colourways. It aims to be stocked in more than 30 independent stores across the UK by 2021, as well as expanding onto UK and international online platforms.

The second collection will be ready to view by buyers at the end of January, ready to launch in stores for September 2020.

The brand also intends to expand into spring products from spring 2021, and to introduce additional product areas “to enhance the brand’s offer [and] give it longevity across the seasons”.

It comes after fellow former Lost Ink buyer Bethany Scott-Morris opened a fashion and lifestyle independent called Iris & Violet on St Mary’s Street in Stamford, Lincolnshire in May.

Fast fashion womenswear brand Lost Ink was sold to one of its suppliers, Hong Kong-based manufacturer JC Fashion in April

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