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Independent at Heart: Che Camille

A concept store trying to bring the 10 Corso Como formula to Glasgow, that is inspired by Andy Warhol, revolutionary French aunts, Spanish soap operas, and the Belgian design scene.

It was a secret passion for fashion that led Camille Lorigo to leave everything behind in the States and start a brand new life in Glasgow with a mission: bringing independent designers to people. Her adventure started in a derelict warehouse affectionately referred to as “The Chateau” in a rundown area of Glasgow. Little by little, Camille moved from the outskirts to the city centre, opening another shop and organising catwalk shows in the Underground and in the streets to bring fashion directly to people. After months of hard planning and projects, the new Che Camille boutique has finally reopened in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre.

The 3,500 sq ft shop is a crossover between Paris’ Colette and Milan’s 10 Corso Como with a Scottish and arty twist. Apart from stocking clothes and accessories by many local young designers, the boutique also offers the opportunity to rent working spaces equipped with several sewing machines, or a studio ideal for fashion photo shoots. The main shop space can also be used to organise catwalks and events, while the roof offers an amazing view of the shopping excitement in Glasgow’s city centre. Lorigo’s new boutique proves that fashion can be affordable, well-made and cultivated locally and that talent should be nurtured on a small scale.
Dazed Digital: What inspired you to open Che Camille?
Camille Lorigo: I always had an interest in fashion, though I never felt ready for a career in this field as I didn’t like the industry and the rules that seemed to go with it. So rather than studying fine art and fashion as I would have liked, I took up French and multi-media communications. Then I travelled a lot and lived in different countries, among them also France, Belgium and Poland, and when I came to Scotland I realised there was a creative scene here. I started talking to people here and realised the time had come to start a new life and a new career. After opening the first shop I always felt the need of developing and evolving, but I needed to find the right location and it took me a long time to do so.

DD: What’s the most challenging aspect of managing such a shop?
CL: Educating people and making them realise that this is an entirely different experience from going to your average High Street retailer, because they’re not used to buying made-to-measure garments, interacting with designers and dressing outside the High Street “uniform”. The clothes that you find in ordinary shops and chains are very simplified as they are mass-produced, so once people turn to independent designers and realise there are different shapes and garments are a bit more experimental, they don’t know what to make of it. So it’s important to introduce people through fashion shows and events to alternative things that actually make the difference. Once people are shown there is a tangible difference, they easily realise that proper clothes are nicer and make them look better.   

DD: What’s the best aspect of working here?
CL: Taking a customer through the process of a made-to-measure creation since you work with them very closely, you spend time with them and you see how happy they are when a creation is finally ready.

DD: How many designers do you stock at the moment and how many people work in your studios?
CL: We stock around twenty fashion and accessory designers, mainly from Scotland. For the time being it is important to build a strong base and a network of people that can support each other because I think there is a lot of talent here but it needs to be nurtured. We have seven designers and one video artist working in the studios.

DD: Is there anything you’d like to add to the shop?
CL: I’d love to be able to collect here some books on fashion, design and photography as I’d like people to come in, feel comfortable and be able to explore what’s going on locally in the art, culture and fashion scene.  

DD: What plans do you have for the future of Che Camille?
CL: I want to link new designers with traditional factories and mills in Scotland, and see how they can bring business and new life into traditional companies. I’m also going to invite guest designers to stay with us for a month or two and teach us their tricks. Though I don’t want to be a massive global giant, I would like to go on tour at some point and link up with different countries where there is a strong and independent scene. Fashion for me means to have a sense of humour and have fun as well, so I’m also planning to start shooting a soap opera here, imagine Esmeralda with a bit of Versace glamour injected into it.