Creative Industry Finance

Choolips is a London based womenswear label launched in 2009 by designer Annegret Affolderbach. We speak to Annegret about her background and experiences of being part of Creative Industry Finance.

Image of Choolips Founder, Annegret Affolderbach

I’m originally from Germany, but I moved to London in 1994. I did a Fine Art degree at Middlesex University and then worked in all areas of the fashion world, from pop styling and theatre costume design to cutting patterns and developing holographic textiles for Coca Cola.

I launched Choolips in 2009 because I wanted to bring the luxuries of ancient textiles traditions and high quality craftsmanship back into fashion, but with a backbone of sustainability. Choolips trade fairly with small water and carbon footprints, and is stocked by Opening Ceremony, Steven Alan & amongst others.

Having worked for various high street fashion houses, I saw a world that strengthened my knowledge of what I did not want to create in my own brand. I enjoy challenging the status quo gracefully, and sustainability and transparency are my weapons of choice in disrupting fashion’s status quo. It makes no sense to make clothes any other way.

Here in London I work with freelancers, but tend to commission the same people as developing strong relationships is crucial. The teams that work with me in London are sales, pattern cutter and marketing while all our sampling & production work takes place either in Ghana, Kenya and India. I’m inspired by people, their lives and the entrepreneurial small businesses in developing economies.

When I applied for Creative Industry Finance, Choolips as a business was changing and growing. The biggest challenge has always been balancing finance and finding the right people to work with. Through Creative Industry Finance I received a substantial loan, which is contributing towards the production and promotion of the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection as well some exciting new collaborations. The specialist advice industry has come in really handy especially in this current economic climate.

My proudest moment? Being able to buy my bread and butter with the earnings from what I love. The awards and recognition are obviously great, but for me the greatest achievement is working on my dream & reaping personal and financial rewards from it. That’s really powerful and it’s what keeps me going.

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