EXCLUSIVE: Caroline Burstein Interview with The IndustryThe world’s premier members’ club for fashion professionals welcomed Caroline Burstein, creative director of Browns to The Industry stage. Paired with The Industry’s longest serving advisor, Dolly Jones – who has recently been appointed digital strategy director at Condé Nast – the meeting brought together two very powerful fashion minds to find out exactly how a small boutique in London became one of the most famous privately-owned fashion stores in the world.
Dolly has known Caroline and Caroline’s mother, affectionately called Mrs B, for many years. “I’ve had a girl crush on her since I first started at Vogue,” said Dolly. Caroline and Dolly made a perfect pairing, with Dolly’s astute understanding of the fashion landscape and her fondness for the company. Caroline talked about finding her place in the family business, transposing practical advice to members touching on topics such as cash flow, overheads and the importance of putting a good management structure into place.
Each member of the family brings something different to the table, and Caroline’s keen sense for diversification has opened Browns up to a number of new – and very successful – revenue streams: Browns Focus and Browns Brides. “It was my idea which I fought very hard for,” said Caroline about setting up Browns Focus. “It was the beginning of street fashion becoming interesting. I felt very strongly that Browns with all its wonderful established designers that we had discovered that you couldn’t stand still just with that. In fashion, as with everything in life, you just have to keep moving on. I felt it very instinctively.”
“There arew things I personally love and would wear but I couldn’t sell,” she added, noting the difference between personal taste and the commercial choices that are right for her customer. So if you stepped into Caroline’s wardrobe what would you find, asked the Vogue editor still very much in Dolly. Azzedine Alaïa, Dries van Noten and Commes des Garçons, from Browns naturally.