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Former Asos fashion director to launch womenswear brand

Former fashion director and Topshop buying director Caren Downie has co-founded a contemporary womenswear brand that will launch in February 2015.

Called Finery, the 150-piece clothing, footwear and accessories collection will have retail prices of around £40 to £80 on average, rising to £250.. It will initially sell direct to shoppers through its website,, before exploring additional wholesale and retail options.

Downie, who is brand director, co-founded the London-based brand with former global managing director of ecommerce venture capitalist firm Rocket Internet Nickyl Raithatha and Luca Marini, former director of private label for Brazilian fashion etailer Dafiti, who have taken on the roles of chief executive and chief operating officer respectively.

Downie was Topshop buying director from 1998 to 2008 and worked for Asos from 2008 to 2012, before becoming self-employed.

The 20-strong team also includes former Topshop design director Emma Farrow, who is head of design. Head of buying Rachel Morgans and head of merchandising Shaun Southcombe both joined from Asos.

Raithatha told Drapers Finery will initially ship within the UK and to the US and Canada, and plans to work with local wholesale partners in selected markets including Russia and Australia. She declined to provide wholesale prices.

“We are launching in countries which we believe have a strong affinity towards British and London influences,” he explained.

He said the brand would sit alongside Cos and & Other Stories, but is differentiated by its “distinctly British and feminine aesthetic”. “It targets a customer that has grown up from the traditional high street offer and is looking for a more considered, higher-quality product, but without the price tag of the mid-market brands,” he said.

“We want to create pieces to treasure, that will give girls who love fashion something to smile about, and bring the excitement back to shopping at this price point.”

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