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One of the great success stories of British Fashion, Karen Millen continues to emerge as one of the key players in the global marketplace, showing phenomenal growth on an international scale regardless of economic climate.
The key component of Karen Millen’s success is that throughout the recent evolution the product has retained the spirited and confident essence of the brand, ensuring that the range continues to be contemporary and ultimately relevant to the modern woman’s wardrobe and lifestyle.
The in-house atelier supports the brand’s aspiration to offer couture quality clothing at affordable prices, creating investment pieces that become your cherished wardrobe staples. The pieces have a timeless quality that transcends seasons, yet encapsulates the trends of the moment. Each item is crafted from luxury fabrics with impeccable attention to detail and our signature flattering fit. The more you wear them the more we hope you appreciate them.
The 15 strong design team is headed up by joint managing director Gemma Metheringham who has been an integral part of the company since 1999. Both Gemma and the team are dedicated to the brand and work across all the Karen Millen lines including apparel, swimwear, footwear, accessories and jewellery, creating 12 collections a season with new items delivered in-store each week.
Derek was appointed as Executive Chairman of Karen Millen in March 2011 having worked with the brand as part of the Aurora Fashions group since 2004. Derek remains as chairman of the Aurora Fashions group, a role that he has held since October 2009. Derek joined Oasis Stores in 1999 as Chief Executive, overseeing the Mosaic Group before being appointed as Aurora Fashions CEO at its inception in March 2009. Prior to joining Oasis, Derek was CEO of the Clothing Division and a Board Director of Sears plc from 1992. Before this, Derek spent 8 years with Storehouse plc, being promoted to the board with responsibility for Mothercare.
Gemma was appointed as Joint Managing Director in 2009, following three successful years as Creative Director.
Gemma joined Karen Millen in 1999 as Design Director and has been integral in evolving the distinctive design signature that the brand is now renowned for as well as overseeing all aspects of Karen Millen's design, product, store design and marketing.
Gemma's previous experience encompasses roles at both Next and Sears.
Steve joined Karen Millen in 2006 as Commercial Director and was promoted to Joint Managing Director in 2009.
In Steve's role as Commercial Director he was responsible for the UK and International Merchandise teams and has been instrumental in managing the brand's global growth.
Steve has a strong track record in Merchandising with previous roles at East, Sears, Rubicon and Arcadia.
Sanam was appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Karen Millen in October 2008, following successful roles within the Aurora Fashions group, culminating in her role as Group Finance Director.
In her role as CFO of Karen Millen, Sanam is responsible for all aspects of the company's legal and financial matters.
Sanam joined Oasis Stores in 2004, progressing through roles within the Mosaic and Aurora groups.
Prior to Oasis, Sanam held roles at both Rubicon Retail and Arcadia.
|International Director |
|Retail Director |
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We believe that those who work in our global supply chain should be provided with the rights and protection of international labour standards, as set out in our Code of Conduct. The Code covers a number of provisions, including no child labour, safe working conditions, a living wage, no excessive hours and protection of the environment. The Code forms part of our overall Ethical Trading strategy which also includes monitoring and auditing of the supply base.
Our approach to Ethical Trading is to work in partnership with our suppliers based on transparency, co-operation and continuous improvement. We recognise that suppliers may sometimes face complex challenges in upholding our code standards. Where this is the case, we assist them in making ongoing improvements and regularly follow up with them to ensure satisfactory progress is achieved. We firmly believe that this is in the best interests of the workforce, as it is important that their livelihoods are protected.
We continue to work with the Aurora Ethical Trading team located in London and China who work closely with our team and our suppliers to progress our strategy and ensure this remains effective.
We are closely involved in the development and implementation of the Ethical Trading strategy through the Ethical Trading Working Party which has representatives of Karen Millen, Coast, Oasis and Warehouse. The role of the working party is to develop policy, review the audits and support other Ethical Trading projects. The group ensures we benefit from best practice and knowledge across the brands.
Additional CSR Policies
As well as our Code of Conduct on labour standards, we have adopted a number of other CSR policies which are contained within our supplier terms and conditions. These include:
- Ban on cotton from Uzbekistan owing to ongoing concerns about forced labour, including forced child labour.
- REACH policy complying with EU regulations which aims to protect human health and the environment from dangerous substances.
- Animal welfare policy which bans real fur and animal testing on cosmetic or hygiene products.
MONITORING AND AUDITING
A long-term auditing programme, which includes year on year increases in the percentage of the supply base audited are in place. In China we have our own internal auditors whilst outside China we use external auditors.
The audits cover all aspects of the Code and include confidential worker interviews, reviews of all relevant documents, a physical site inspection of both production sites and worker dormitories and interviews with management. In China we have experimented with more participatory methods of auditing involving a more active role for workers in order that workers’ voices are better heard. We are also members of SEDEX www.sedex.org.uk which is an online database that allows factories to share audits with all their buyers. As SEDEX members we do not simply accept others audits unless we feel sure they have been conducted to a sufficient standard of rigour.
In 2008 we participated in two supplier Ethical Trading conferences in China and Turkey, supported by local country experts. These enabled us to explain, in practical terms, what our policies mean and how they should be implemented. The conferences also covered relevant areas of local employment legislation and raised awareness of other key labour issues in the garment industry, including Uzbekistan cotton.