cover art for Charles Jeffrey on 10 Years of Loverboy

The Business of Fashion Podcast

Charles Jeffrey on 10 Years of Loverboy

In 2014, in a nondescript basement club in East London, Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy was born. At the age of 18, the Scottish-born designer moved from Glasgow to London to pursue a BA in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins and has since earned his place in the long line of highly creative fashion designers coming from the city. With an upcoming exhibition at Somerset House, the one time upstart is ready to look back on 10 years of his brand.

“I'm Charles Jeffrey, I'm not Alexander McQueen, I'm Charles Jeffrey, I'm not Gareth Pugh. I'm Charles Jeffrey, I'm not John Galliano,” he said. “I have a way of looking at fashion and I want to nurture that and see it to its end.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, Jeffrey joins me to share his journey into London’s fashion scene and reflect on the past, present and future of Loverboy, underscoring that he has his own unique vision to contribute to fashion. 

Key Insights:

  • Jeffrey credits video games for sparking his interest in fashion design. “I was a big geek and me and my friends would play in the forests and play Lord of the Rings with sticks. I would sit and draw the outfits and characters that we would all be. We all had our own alter egos and we would just really live in that world.” 

  • Since the inception of Loverboy, Jeffrey was conscious of building a brand, and chose not to name the brand after himself. “I could have had a business that was just called Charles Jeffrey but I wanted to keep that Loverboy thing because I felt it was a sticky kind of concept. I could apply it to products, Loverboy tartan, Loverboy polka dot, Loverboy pinstripe, or the Loverboy beanie,” he said. “All these things, you start to give them names; it's the psychology of business and brands and advertising.”

  • Jeffrey understands that creating core hero products is essential to creating brand loyalty and drawing in customers to discover other products.  “How can I make a beanie, which is a bit of a novelty and a throwaway, something that people will buy from us for another ten years? How do you change the perspective of that to somebody so that they come to us for that but then the psychology of this novelty beanie also makes them think, ‘I bet they do great jumpers or I bet they do a really nice bag’.” 

  • Looking to the future, Jefrrey’s  aim is to create a sustainable, independent business. “My goal, in the next three to five years, is to build an element of the brand that's not reliant on a wholesale model, that's not relying on the fashion model, per se.” he says. “You can push the brand into all these spaces but if the sell-through isn't right, if you've not got the story behind it, if you've not got the relationship with the clients, it just dies a death.”

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