The contemporary womenswear brand is hoping to grow its UK presence with an edgier spring 10 collection
Dorothee Schumacher, founder and owner of German contemporary womenswear brand Schumacher, firmly believes that team energy is what generates a great product. “The smile is what keeps us going – you only have to see it on our faces to feel it,” she says. However, no one should be fooled by her seemingly softly-softly approach – this is one sharp entrepreneur.
Schumacher is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and in the past two decades the brand has built up an impressive network of nearly 600 accounts across 40 countries. Turnover for the 2007/08 financial year topped €25 million (£21m), and the brand plans to grow this via an increased UK presence for spring 10 targeting etailer Net-a-Porter and upmarket department stores Harvey Nichols and Liberty.
The brand itself was conceived off the back of Schumacher’s early career working as an apprentice in a variety of textile companies in Italy. Returning to Germany in the late 1980s, she felt there was a gap in the market for a more feminine look to counter the harsh power dressing of the time, and so began with a small shirt collection based around soft, feminine lines.
Two decades later and the 230-piece spring 10 range has maintained that ultra-feminine handwriting and developed into a well-rounded collection of dresses, separates and outerwear. Spring 10 sees the introduction of slightly rockier elements, such as rivet details and lip-kiss prints, as well as the brand’s first foray into casual footwear with a range of fashion trainers. However, there are still plenty of tone-on-tone neutral shades, soft tailoring and loose shapes in the collection. “Our company motto is ‘feel the love’ and we want our clothes to reflect that,” explains Schumacher.
But Schumacher has her head firmly screwed on when it comes to responding to the current economic climate. “In a recession you have to remember the rules: connect with clients and your market, understand your brand’s DNA and be flexible,” she says. “I believe in my product but I am always switched on to new opportunities.”
In January, the label secured the opportunity to open Berlin Fashion Week. Attended by more than 17,000 buyers and press, Schumacher believes this exposure elevated the brand to a new level of recognition, which she intends to build on this year by adding a transactional element to its website. “We are already getting 2,000 hits a week on the website. Once my IT boys have finished teaching me how the selling side works, we will be ready to go.”
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Schumacher 020 7580 5580