Andrea Karg founded Allude Cashmere in 1993, after abandoning plans of a career in law. She talks to Drapers about her passion for the fabric and her brand’s evolution.
Andrea Karg trained as a lawyer before deserting the career in favour of fashion, thanks to her love of product – particularly cashmere. Allude Cashmere was founded in 1993, based around the idea of creating flattering knitwear in up-to-date colours. Today the German label has stockist around the world, and its eight in the UK include Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Matchesfashion. Wholesale prices for the collection range from £62 for a merino mix sweater to £300 for a cashmere mix coat. Drapers spoke to Karg to find out more.
What is your background. How did you get into the fashion industry?
I studied law at The Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich in the early 1990s. The university has been the best in its field for decades and I was fascinated by the complexity and different topics the science of law has to offer. In the end I decided I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I was always much more passionate about product, and was particularly enamoured by cashmere.
When and why did you start up your brand?
I started working on my business in 1992 and Allude was founded in 1993. It was and still is love at the first touch – the material cashmere was my driving force. I was always searching for well-made, fitted-silhouette sweaters in modern colourways and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I felt that there must be a need on a larger scale.
Why are you so passionate about cashmere?
The material is so much more than just soft – it is sophisticated, intelligent and cosy. It is amazing how this natural fibre is able to absorb colour, which is why we’re able to offer such a wide spectrum of shades in our collections.
How would describe the ethos of the brand?
Allude wants to cocoon the world – to inspire moments of comfort and happiness. We create a product that has real value and makes a difference to the life of our customer. For me, it is essential to not create new shapes and styles season after season, but to share with your consumers a 360° lifestyle experience. To lengthen the life and retain the quality of our garments, 10 years ago we created our own cashmere detergent, Allude Care Series.
Four years ago I opened the Allude Cashmere Clinic, an aftercare service for all cashmere lovers. We offer everything you need to keep your pieces as good as new.
Are there any designs for the brand that are particularly long-lived?
The first designs are still part of our core collection today – the Adelaine and the Aruba, our perfect fitted v-neck sweater. If something is perfect you shouldn’t change it!
Are there any new styles that perform well?
Our wardrobes have changed completely since the beginning – in the 1990s fashion was very body-conscious, but nowadays the variety in shapes and silhouettes is incredible.
Activewear and sports-inspired pieces have become wardrobe staples and this is as reflected in my collections – boxy shapes that allow more movement are big sellers. Having said this there will always be a need for our evergreen pieces and they look totally fresh when styled in different ways.
What are some of the key colours for autumn 18?
Brights are key. From wasabi green to popping pinks and tonal oranges – it was really fun to create the colour palette for this season. Cashmere is just delicious in bright colours – I can’t wait to wear them!
How do you maintain your creativity?
Be open to the world – be active and reactive. I love to travel – I find inspiration through taking myself out of the daily routine and opening my eyes to the world around me.
Is there anyone in the industry you particularly admire?
Karl Lagerfeld is a true icon. To be as creative and active for such a long time – I take my hat off to him.
Favourite clothing brand
I am not necessarily into specific brands. Jeans and shirts from R13 are great for the office. My favourite shoes are by Manolo Blahnik and Prada and for eveningwear I love Dawid Tomaszewski and Peter Pilotto.
Favourite places to shop
When in London I always shop at Matchesfashion – I love stores that are a joy to browse
I travelled to Namibia in December – such a spectacular landscape!
Last book you read
Origin by Dan Brown
Last film you watched
I have never worked anywhere other than Allude
A leading role at Lufthansa
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Weekends are rare in this industry! But when I do get away, in the winter you’ll find me skiing in Kitzbühel and in the summer playing golf at Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria.