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Secret agents

It's time to update your contacts book with the UK's hottest agencies selling some of the coolest women's fashion brands for autumn 07

Inexcess Fashion

Unit 4, 124-128 Barlby Road, London W10 6BL

020 8960 6161

Brands: American Vintage, By Malene Birger, Rutzou, Tara Jarmon

The story: Malene Majlund, who originally hails from Denmark, founded InExcess Fashion six years ago with Danish brand Bruuns Bazaar. Danish stablemate Rutzou and French label Tara Jarmon followed in 2002, with By Malene Birger joining in 2003. American Vintage is a new addition for spring 07. InExcess sells By Malene Birger to 89 UK stockists, including Liberty, Fenwick and Selfridges; Rutzou is stocked at Liberty; and Tara Jarmon is sold at Fenwick. The brands show at Pure in London, Tranoi in Paris, Barcelona's Bread & Butter, and CPH in Copenhagen.

Chiltern Street Studios

78a Chiltern Street, London W1U 5AB

020 7486 4800

www.chilternstreetstudios.com

Brands: 0039 Italy, Collection K, Et Vous, European Culture, Forte Forte, Hollywood Trading, Ilaria Nistri, La Petite Salope, Mara Hoffman, Odd Molly, Paige Premium Denim, Sarah Arnett, Melissa footwear

The story: Founded in 2005, Chiltern Street Studios is headed by Lucille Lewin, Denise Tavernier and Jane Wilson. Lewin, founder of Whistles, was among the first to spot designers such as Helmut Lang, Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf, Dries Van Noten and Marni. Tavernier has a background in fashion wholesale, while Wilson was previously international sales manager at Nicole Farhi. Contemporary dresses and tops brand La Petite Salope has only 10 stockists, but more commercial lines such as Paige Premium Denim and Odd Molly have 90 and 40 respectively. Chiltern Street Studios exhibits at White in Milan and Tranoi in Paris.

Emma Ellis Jones

20 Heathfield North, Twickenham TW2 7QW

07961 315969

info@ejellisjones.co.uk

Brands: Alchem1st, Knitwear Queen, Smooph, Vanessa Spano, Yvone Christa jewellery

The story: Emma Ellis Jones set up her own agency in January 2006 after 16 years of experience in sales, buying and wholesale for Gerard Darel, Kenzo, Harvey Nichols and Liberty. The agency shows its collections for six weeks every season at the Metropolitan Hotel in London, where Ellis Jones recently introduced Alchem1st, a fair trade label from Bali that focuses on 1960s-inspired silhouettes. It will bring two new brands, Ae'lkimi and Melinda Looi, to the UK for autumn 07.

Arc Agencies

4d Prowse Place, Camden, London NW1 9PJ

020 7485 8633

Brands: Numph, Solid

The story: Arc Agencies was founded 18 months ago by Peter Jarret and has its main agency in London, with sub-agents in Manchester and Birmingham. It represents Danish brand Numph, which focuses on quirky, feminine clothing with an emphasis on prints. The brand is sold in 55 retailers across the UK, including London independent mini-chain Joy, and there is a concession in Topshop's Oxford Circus flagship. Arc Agencies also sells young menswear label Solid, which debuted in the UK 18 months ago and has about 70 stockists, including Chessmen in Cardiff. The agency shows at Pure in London, Who's Next in Paris, CPH in Copenhagen and CPD in Dusseldorf.

Lucy Wernick Fashion Agency

28 Mortimer Street, London W1W 7RD

020 7580 8644

Brands: Citizens of Humanity, RN Convertibles, Velvet, Velvet Men, Graham & Spencer

The story: Lucy Wernick Fashion Agency has been up and running for seven years and focuses solely on sourcing products from the US. Velvet, designed by Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer, offers simple, elegant pieces and is known mainly for its T-shirts and dresses. It has 85 stockists in the UK including Harvey Nichols. Denim brand Citizens of Humanity is sold at Selfridges, Fenwick of Bond Street and Harrods, as well as independents nationwide. Graham & Spencer is a more luxurious women's range, available at Harvey Nichols and Matches. The agency covers Tranoi in Paris, White in Milan and Premium in Berlin.

Macandi

49 Lamb's Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NG

020 7831 1625 www.macandi.com

Brands: Folk, Shofolk, BSA, Blue Blood, Humanoid

The story: Maggie McAteer and brother Cathal founded Macandi in 1999. Since its inception, the agency has introduced several brands to the UK, including Puma Blackstation, Bi La Li and Zakee Shariff. Folk, a casual contemporary menswear collection established and designed by Cathal, is stocked in 53 outlets worldwide. Liberty is the main stockist in the UK and Folk has just opened its own shop in London. Footwear brand Shofolk is sold in 55 accounts worldwide, including Urban Outfitters, Topshop and The Natural Shoe Store in the UK.

M&L Harris

18 Devonshire Street, London W1G 7AQ

020 7580 5580

www.mlharris.co.uk

Brands: Dear Cashmere, Gerard Darel, Hidy NG, Julien Macdonald, K-Yen, Lanvin, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Manoush, Nolita, See by Chloe, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Valentino RED

The story: Husband-and-wife team Michael and Liliane Harris founded the M&L Harris agency in 1978 and are experts in ready to wear, couture and diffusion lines, sourcing new cutting-edge ranges from outside the UK. They also operate a retail business, Larizia, which has three boutiques in London selling designer shoes and handbags from brands such as Prada, Gucci and Balenciaga. The agency supplies more than 600 accounts, including department stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, independent boutiques and multiples.

1927

1927 Building, 2 Michael Road, London SW6 2AD; 26 Little Portland Street, London W1

020 7384 1907

www.1927london.com

Brands: 750, JG4B, Juicy Couture, Juicy Couture Kids, Lady Double You, Money, Rich & Skinny, Trust Toilette, Twenty8Twelve

The story: 1927 was founded eight years ago by Paloma Perez, serving the directional end of the young fashion market. Although the agency originally specialised in womenswear, it took on menswear three years ago and has also recently expanded into footwear and accessories. It has two showrooms in London, as well as offices in Milan and Madrid, and has more than 800 accounts across the UK, Europe and Russia. This year the agency launched Twenty8Twelve, created by actress Sienna Miller and her sister Savannah, a high-end clothing label focusing on formal tailoring and premium fashion. JG4B is a luxury swimwear collection created by designer Louise Middleton and graphic designer Jasper Goodall, and is available from Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Choice and Cricket. The agency showcases its brands at Pitti Filati in Florence, Tranoi in Paris, TBC in London, Bread & Butter in Barcelona, Micam in Milan and Premiere Classe in Paris.

Rock It

3 Byewells Place, London W1T 3DN

020 7636 6063

Brands: Anna Rita N, Meghan Fabulous, Tankus, Liu-Jo

The story: Husband-and-wife team Julian and Anna Sterck set up Rock It in 2002 as a high-quality fast-fashion agency. Their main brand is Meghan Fabulous, a Los Angeles label that specialises in custom-made silk kimonos, tops and handmade dresses. The brand was launched in the UK and Republic of Ireland last year and will be stocked in Harrods from April. Rock It exhibits at Bread & Butter in Barcelona, Pure in London, Project Las Vegas, and Magic Las Vegas in the US.

Studio Thirteen

123 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AQ

020 7243 9395

www.studio-13.co.uk

Brands: 120% Lino, 575 Denim, Alice San Diego, Christopher Fischer Cashmere, Fleur Wood, Jo No Fui, Maliparmi, Nigel Preston, Behnaz Kanani footwear

The story: Founder and owner of Studio Thirteen Rosi Farow has been closely involved in the fashion business for 20 years and spent 10 years as a buyer for Harvey Nichols. The agency deals with about 200 stockists including Harvey Nichols, Harrods, John Lewis, Selfridges and high-end boutiques including mini-chain Question Air, Feathers in Notting Hill and Browns in South Molton Street, all in London. Among the new brands for 2007, Italian label Alice San Diego specialises in dresses and knitwear, while Behnaz Kanani shoes, currently sold in Harvey Nichols, are handmade with exotic skins. The agency has a presence at Tranoi in Paris and at London Fashion Week.

Area 142

29 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PF

020 7739 3573

Brands: J&Company, Hannah Marshall, Iben Hof, Naja Lauf, Pyrus, Rebecca Beeson, Rosanna Julie, The Year Of, Yaya

The story: Area 142 was set up by husband-and-wife team Debra and Thomas McCann and business partner Tom Cornwell five years ago. The agency deals with both menswear and womenswear and has about 300 accounts, including department stores and high-end boutiques, and represents a variety of labels. J&Company, a Californian men's and women's denim brand, focuses on studding and stitched details. Hannah Marshall, a relatively new British designer, launched her debut collection at the On/Off event during London Fashion Week in February and is fast becoming known for her innovative designs, which incorporate Braille as a signature detail. Area 142 shows at the Metropolitan Hotel in London during London Fashion Week.

Claret Showroom

54 Park Close, Illchester Place, London W14 8NH

020 7602 3819

www.claretshowroom.co.uk

Brands: Alice McCall, Casch Copenhagen, Juicy Bear Tees, Leni Braun, Milk & Honey, Pocket Venus, To Sir With Love, White Suede

The story: Launched in November 2005, Claret Showroom is owned and run by business partners Claire Troughton and Alex Lyles and represents labels from around the globe. Troughton previously worked in womenswear sales at Paul Smith before setting up the agency, while Lyles, a former fashion PR, joined the company in 2006. The agency represents a raft of Australian designers including Alice McCall, White Suede and To Sir With Love, many of whom create three collections each year.

Scout

1st Floor, 9 Young Street, London W8 5EH

020 7937 0959

Brands: Cool Change, Doma, James Jeans, Linea Pelle, Munthe Plus Simonsen, Myolee, Single

The story: Scout was founded three years ago by Catrina Jamieson and Sue Gunne, who both have retail backgrounds - Jamieson ran the Harvey Nichols buying office in New York prior to setting up the agency. Premium LA denim brand James Jeans is sold in Selfridges and Fenwick of Bond Street, as well as in a further 70 independents across the country. American brand Single concentrates on modern silk printed dresses and tops and is stocked in independent boutiques Flannels in Manchester and Matches in London. Knitwear label Myolee is designer Winnie Lee's first full range since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2001 and is sold at notonthehighstreet.com.

Rainbowwave

15 Flood Street, London SW3 5ST

020 7352 0002

Brands: Cacharel, Erdem, Hussein Chalayan, J Brand, Marios Schwab, Mayle, Notify, Plastic is Fantastic, Thomas Maier, Tocca

The story: Owner Maria Lemos started working as an agent in 1989 and Rainbowwave has evolved ever since, moving into a permanent showroom three years ago. Today it represents mid- to high-end ready-to-wear labels, including Tocca and Cacharel, alongside premium denim ranges from J Brand and Notify. New to the mix is New York boutique Mayle's own brand, which Lemos likens to the style of Stella McCartney. The addition of London Fashion Week stars Marios Schwab and Erdem has brought Rainbowwave global recognition.

M&R Agencies

Rutland House, 18 Hilton Street, Manchester M1 1FR

0161 228 1110

Brands: Northern agent for Duck And Cover, Fly 53, Fullcircle, Numph, Solid and Teddy Smith. National agent for Wale Adeyemi

The story: As well as being the northern counterpart to Arc Agencies and hence the agent for Numph and Solid, M&R Agencies has some big-name UK young fashion brands on its books. Fly 53, Duck And Cover and Fullcircle fit neatly together in the portfolio, with the latter two poised to introduce flash ranges in coming seasons. The agency operates from a 6,500 sq ft art deco showroom in central Manchester, which has recently been refurbished. Founded in 1984 by Simon and Raymond Pollak, M&R reinvented its profile in 1997 when it introduced womenswear, added Fullcircle and Duck And Cover to its brand roster, and expanded its sales team.

Palladio

72 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2SG

020 7935 9393

Brands: Appartamento 50, Chine, Essentiel, Hartford, Jorando, Just in Case, Laundry Industry, Les Petites Robes D'Anista, Nocturne, Rebecca Taylor, Schumacher, Siwy Denim, Somi, Stella Forest, System, Tabitha, Twinset, Vandenvos

The story: Palladio is certainly the best-known player of this agency bunch. It was founded 15 years ago by Shaun Sellings and Ian Campbell-Smith and has worked with big hitters such as John Rocha and Margaret Howell. But the agency is not resting on its heritage and is constantly adding new labels such as Dutch brand Vandenvos, which is only in its second season. The brainchild of the team behind Antwerp's A Fair, the brand offers vintage-style jersey and silk dresses. Another new label is Eurythmic, the latest range from Paul & Joe co-founder Frank Albou. Siwy Jeans and Laundry Industry are among the agency's bestsellers. Palladio has more than 350 accounts in the UK and Republic of Ireland and works with department stores including Liberty, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.

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