Edwin’s european sales director on his favourite trade shows, menswear brands and the appointments he looks forward to the most.
Having worked for the likes of Pentland, Duffer of St George and sales agency Brand Progression, Charlie Warren has been at Japanese denim brand Edwin for more than five years. Recently promoted to European sales director, the brand is relaunching its womenswear offering for autumn 16.
You were recently made European sales director for Edwin. What does your job entail?
My time is split mainly between our headquarters in Germany and our London showroom on Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, but I travel a lot throughout Europe, visiting key accounts and liaising with our sales team and agents. We also work closely with Edwin Japan and this involves seasonal visits to their HQ in Tokyo.
Describe Edwin in one sentence.
An authentic Japanese denim brand.
The brand is launching a full womenswear collection for autumn 16 – tell us about this.
We felt the time was right to relaunch the women’s collection and we’ve had a really positive reaction thus far. We had a lot of customers asking for a more evolved collection that could sit next to our menswear offer. We’ve got a great designer in Andrea Ensinger with huge experience in the denim market, so we are in good hands.
Edwin womenswear autumn 16
What are the key pieces?
Our most promising fits are the EW70 (mid-rise, skinny), which is offered in both selvedge and non-selvedge fabrics; the EW30 (boyfriend); and the EW25 (wide, cropped). From the apparel offering, the Zoe and Terra jackets are both strong, as well as the leather bib overall and the Pan collarless jacket with the selvedge trim.
You have been at Edwin for more than five years – do you ever get bored talking about one brand every day?
I’d have to say no. There is so much going on with the brand at the moment, it’s an exciting time to be a part of it all. Each day brings up new challenges, so each day is different.
What is your favourite part of the year?
The start of a new season. There is a buzz in the showroom when hanging the new collection. I love selling, the showroom is always busy and it’s great to get a good reaction from influential buyers.
Do you prefer selling spring or autumn collections?
Always autumn. As a denim brand we obviously sell more denim during the winter season but we also have some great heavy knitwear, plaid shirting and outerwear to offer.
You exhibit at trade shows across Europe – why do you think trade shows are still relevant?
It really depends what you want to achieve from the trade show. Some of our markets are pretty saturated, so we don’t pick up many new accounts but it’s good to showcase any newness in the collection and it’s also a great marketing opportunity.
What makes a good trade show?
Good brand adjacencies are key for us but it’s really important to have good international buyers present.
Which are your personal favourites to attend?
Pitti Uomo [in Florence] is great for the diversity of product and, of course, the setting, but I really like how Jacket Required in London is developing. It’s great to have a trade show like this on our doorstep.
What sales appointments do you most look forward to?
I’m lucky to have a good relationship with all of our customers but I do look forward to having dinner with Dogfish, Seven Wolves, Urban Outfitters and The Content Store.
Do you wear Edwin?
I’ve been wearing Edwin long before I started working here. The ED-55 Made in Japan jeans are a personal favourite, along with the Buddy western jacket in red selvedge.
There are lots of tips and myths about wearing and caring for denim – what’s yours?
To be honest, the only tip I would give is to wash your denim as little as possible. I tend to wash my raw denim after about six months of use.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
It has to be sales. The showroom is busy and it’s good to catch up with old and new friends.
Which element of your work do you like the least?
The admin side of things can be pretty mind-numbing but I’m lucky to enjoy 95% of my job.
What has been a career highlight so far?
It has to be my promotion as sales director for Edwin. It’s a real honour to be in this position for a brand I love.
You’re surrounded by clothes all day, do you still enjoy shopping?
Yes, I think I enjoy it a little too much. It’s great to see what other brands are doing in the market.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
There are so many stores I could mention and we are lucky to have a great store in Content & Co by our showroom on Exmouth Market. I also like to visit Goodhood, Trunk, Oi Polloi (all London), End Clothing (Newcastle upon Tyne), Peggs & son (Brighton) and Unionmade (San Francisco). Beaver in Tokyo is also a personal favourite of mine.
Do you prefer online or in-store shopping?
In-store shopping, for sure. It’s nice to pick up a piece of clothing or footwear to really appreciate it.
What are your current favourite brands?
I currently wear a lot of Norse Projects, Our Legacy, RRL, Blue Blue Japan, Alden and Converse, to name a few.
What is the last fashion item you brought?
A pair of Red Wing shoes from Content & Co.
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
Overworks Factory denim rail jacket from Edwin Japan.
You have worked in the industry for more than 10 years – how have you seen it change?
The main change has been the internet. There are so many online stores now and it has had a negative effect on the industry in some cases, but great independents will always be around, leading the way.
Who do you admire most in the industry?
There are too many to mention but I got my first break working for Mark Batista and Mark McCann at Brand Progression. They taught me everything I know, really, and I’ll always be grateful.