This week we caught up with Carmen Redondo, Owner of Carmen & Rafaele to find out about the inspiration behind the brand and why the choice of materials is so important to her.

yourbrandspace: Great to catch up with you - How is it going at Carmen & Rafaele?
Carmen & Rafaele: It is going really well, Ive had very positive feedback from the local independent retailers so far.

yourbrandspace: What was the inspiration behind setting up the brand and how long has it been going?
Carmen & Rafaele: I think it would be more accurate to state that it was more exasperation of not being able to find anything to wear that was on trend, well made, constructed from natural fibres and had a good fit and an equal amount of inspiration from the art world and the new digital fabric printers.

yourbrandspace: What is the ethos of the brand?
Carmen & Rafaele: Ultimately what I am trying to achieve is to encourage customers to have an emotional tie to my range so when they go to their wardrobes in the morning - they look at the rail and chose a print because e.g. its sunny and this print reminds them of their holiday, or their yearly trip to Chelsea flower Show etc and brings a smile to people’s faces.
I would love for people to regain the value and respect for good old fashioned quality clothing that lasts a lifetime and reminds them of holiday / places they have been around the world.
I strongly believe that clothing is one of the most important ways of expressing each persons personality, hopes and ambitions. In the last decade or two the movement has been for cheap mass produced clothing, where you can buy garments so cheaply that we have lost all respect for the skills, imagination and talent that is required to make an authentic decent clothing range.
I want my range to be viewed as wearable art work - limited edition collections.

yourbrandspace: Who is your core customer? Who do you design with in mind?
Carmen & Rafaele: I would say for anyone over 30 years of age - from mums all the way through to nannies. Its a lifestyle brand where each style is designed to be able to dress up or dress down for any occasion. the range looks equally good with high heels on a dinner date as it does with sneakers on the school run.

yourbrandspace: How do you gain inspiration for your designs?
Carmen & Rafaele: The inspiration comes from anywhere really from trips around the world or just everyday life. You can see beauty in everything if you try hard enough as you can see by the “smashed glass” print.

yourbrandspace: What would you say is the key ingredient to the success of the brand?
Carmen & Rafaele: I think its the the combination of quality of the natural fabrics along with the original prints and made in practical timeless garments.

yourbrandspace: The choice of materials is very important to you. How do you go about selecting the materials?
Carmen & Rafaele: I design in reverse order to most people in the sense that because we will only use natural fabrics - we are therefore restricted to using tightly woven satin and poplin fabrics as they will give me the highest sheen and clarity / definition on a natural fibre print, so our design process tends to be greige fabric then print then style rather than the traditional way.

yourbrandspace: What are people buying right now?
Carmen & Rafaele: The cherry blossom ice and pink rose prints are the most popular.

yourbrandspace: Which items are your best sellers at the moment?
Carmen & Rafaele: The shift dress, capri trouser and Audrey Hepbourn blouse with corset belt is proving to be popular at the moment

yourbrandspace: You offer short and forward order. How do the collections differ?
Carmen & Rafaele: The forward order range is designed to be able to cater for the whole wardrobe - so you have a choice of a causal trouser and a formal trouser, an over shirt and a cami top, a formal skirt and a casual skirt , a shift dress etc based on natural woven HD printed fabrics whilst the short order range is a jersey printed range used as stock fillers for our premium range and for the stores to fill in their buying gaps.

yourbrandspace: Why should a retailer stock Carmen & Rafaele?
Carmen & Rafaele: It is a unique concept based on HD prints which is timeless and practical. The clients can built and mix and match their entire wardrobe.

yourbrandspace: What have been the main milestones/highlights so far?
Carmen & Rafaele: There are so many stages to having a brand that it is very hard to say from finalising the master blocks for the styles to the photoshoot to exhibiting at pure …..and the list carries on and on.

yourbrandspace: Whats the plan over the next 12 months?
Carmen & Rafaele: I am just working on my AW17 range now which will have some garments with elements of multi style and multi size capabilities on each garment….I’m very excited…. watch this space!

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Carmen & Rafaele is a British lifestyle brand offering affordable luxury and catering for the discerning modern women who wants stylish, timeless and comfortable clothes for all occasions.

We specialise in high definition exclusive prints based on manipulated photographic images with each print inspired by nature or a specific location around the world …. Every print has a story! 

The ranges are designed so that the styles can be mixed and matched and therefore appropriate for an evening occasion by using heels and accessories, or dressed down for the school run by using sneakers and t-shirts or even made formal by mixing with tailored trousers or skirts.

We print only on premium quality natural fabrics that are washable and have dedicated 2 years of R&D to develop our new exclusive block patterns to ensure a comfortable fit in every garment which are made in the best certified factories in the world.

Carmen & Rafaele has at present two ranges comprising of the Carmen & Rafaele "Premium woven’s range” forward order and the Carmen & Rafaele  jersey tops range "T-shirts & Gladrags” in stock and short order.

We can also offer exclusivity of styles and bespoke design for clients subject to minimum order quantity.