By Nicholas Bonde
As The Workers Club (TWC) join forces with CQP in our newly opened Seasonal Store in Stockholm for the next couple of weeks - we thought it would be appropriate to introduce one of the founders behind the brand: Adam Cameron.
The Workers Club is a collection of outerwear garments created to stand the test of time. Here you will find everything from Japanese-made denim to wool-lined parkas and the core philosophy is to have each piece bearing the same level of quality and craftsmanship as any other luxury fashion brand.
Adam Cameron founded The Workers Club alongside his wife Charlotte back in 2015 and collectively they form a powerful foundation with a combined 30 years of experience designing luxury, heritage and fast fashion.
Before teaming up and launching TWC, Charlotte and Adam studied fashion at university and ended up having successful careers within the industry. The two industry veterans (Adam currently consults for Mr Porter on their Mr P brand and also used to be Head of Menswear at Dunhill) are now able to plow their deep knowledge into TWC and their products are consistently catching the attention of consumers and industry-people alike.
Adam Cameron and TWC joins CQP in their Stockholm Seasonal Store for the next two weeks and we caught up with him to hear more about attention to detail, the state of the retail business and what it’s like running a start-up clothing brand with your life partner.
When and why was the idea for The Workers Club born?
– The original idea for the name came from visiting an exhibition (on artist Rodchenko) at the Tate Modern many years ago. We liked the idea of creating a collective space where we could collaborate with like-minded people so the name The Workers Club seemed just right. The idea of having our own brand dates back even further to when we were both at college. We always dreamt of having our own brand one day where we didn’t have to compromise on quality or style.
"The first question we posed was: 'how do you dress in a stylish way when you move out of the city?'"
What were your primary sources of inspiration for the brand?
– Our inspiration is always rooted in providing a functional response to a question. The first question we posed was how do you dress in a stylish way when you move out of the city (as we had just relocated to the Oxfordshire countryside). We set about designing our ultimate outerwear piece and called it “The Works”. It had to work hard to fit into our lifestyle of splitting time between the city to countryside plus extensive travel. Three years later the range has expanded a great deal but this outerwear system still forms the basis of everything we do. We design first and foremost with function and quality in mind.
You founded and now run the TWC along with your wife Charlotte and together you bring a ton of experience to the company; what is it like working together and where do you complement each other?
– A lot of people think we are crazy to go into business together after living together for nearly 20 years and starting a family together. I can honestly say I can't think of anyone else I would do this with. We are on an extremely personal journey and there are times when we fall out (sometimes over the smallest of things) but we are both very passionate about this brand and always see each other’s point of view. I think we complement each other as we both have very different backgrounds in life and work so we see things differently but both have the success of this brand as number one priority. We both have parts of the business that we ‘own’ but the vision and end result is shared equally as we are both designers so the product must please both of us.
In what way has your extensive background in the business helped when launching a new company from scratch?
– In some ways, I think it hinders you to start a brand after 20 years in this industry as the longer you are in it - the more jaded you can become by seeing great brands not make it and not so great brands see great success. I think what we have learnt from our collective experience is ‘how not to do it’. We are very lucky to have gained a lot of connections over the years, particularly on the manufacturing side of things, which helps when starting out on your own as there are so many small brands wanting to make their collection. Most times factories will not touch you unless you have a healthy order book which is a bit chicken and egg so you need the support of makers who can see the potential and having that network is priceless.
How did you end up in the clothing business in the first place?
– I’d love to say that it was in my blood and that I came from a long line of tailors but sadly not. My aunt was a dressmaker but I basically made a choice at college which was more based on the high percentage of attractive girls studying Fashion so I followed them. Clothes were a big part of my life from my teens and onwards but I wasn’t a big fashion designer in the making, I was more interested in music to be honest. After graduating from Fashion School, I worked my way up the ranks working for many British heritage brands (Burberry and Daks to name a few) and ended up working for Alfred Dunhill which was probably my most significant role, a role which took me to many different parts of the world including Asia. After 7 years I decided to leave this role to be a freelance Design Consultant where I have since worked on many interesting projects including designing outfits for the film Kingsman and launching Mr Porters first own label project Mr P.
"I think it hinders you to start a brand after 20 years in this industry as the longer you are in it - the more jaded you become seeing great brands not make it and not so great brands achieve success"
What are some of the ideals that you’ve built the foundations for TWC on?
– Quality is paramount. That’s a word that is overused and seldom in a credible way I feel. When we launched “The Works”, we wanted to create something built to last and knew that it would have to be featuring makers, fabric and trims that were the best money could buy. We want our customers to be bowled over by the quality and longevity of our products
– Timelessness is another ideal. At TWC we are not interested in trends or fads. We clothe people who know who they are and how they want to look - we are not interested in “this seasons coat is…”
Our clothes do not date. The whole idea of ‘season’ is becoming a bit out of date in itself as people no longer shop to this antiquated calendar of Spring starts in January and Winter starts in September. It could be snowing in April and still be warm in December so you need your clothes to be adaptable.
Can you share a high point and a low point of your journey so far?
– A high point would be getting to visit Japan several times to show our brand and also seeing our brand stocked in stores in Tokyo and Osaka. This has always been a personal goal for myself and Charlotte as we both adore Japan.
I guess the lowest point was a few years ago there was a short period where I had no consultancy work or income on the horizon - but then TWC was born at this point so I can’t really complain too much about that...
You launched as late as 2015, how close are you to the original idea of where you want TWC to be aesthetically?
– The beginning of TWC was “the Works” which was an incredibly self-indulgent brief (to design the perfect coat) as I had never had the luxury of spending 6 months perfecting one style - I would usually work on an entire collection during the same time frame. “The Works” remains at our core so I would say we are still right where we began aesthetically. Our mission is to create the ultimate wardrobe of essential pieces so as long as we don’t start putting bat wing sleeve capes in the range - I think we are still on track. We really value the customer base that we have established and will never do anything to turn those people off our brand. I have always found this frustrating with brands who suddenly change direction - we know that guys know what they like and are loyal and we respect that.
For more please visit theworkersclub.co.uk - or the CQP Seasonal Store on Humlegårdsgatan 14 in Stockholm for the remainder of April.