Number35-Feature

The Intelligent Wardrobe – A Stylish Interview With number35 Designer Andrea Cecile Cohen

In NewsWhistle’s latest Summer Catalogue you can find a stunning dress by number 35, a UK brand producing simple, elegant clothes.

The piece we’re featuring is called the Abby. It’s a sleek, sexy, and tailored dress that can be worn day or night.

The Abby is the creation of designer Andrea Cecile Cohen, who founded number35 to celebrate the female form. As her website says, she sought to create clothes “that fitted perfectly, looked good and travelled well.”

In the following interview, Andrea shares her journey with our readers, discussing life and love and a £20 note.

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Name: Andrea Cecile Cohen (pictured above)

Date of Interview: 20th May 2016

Birthplace: Leeds, West Yorkshire

Current town: London

Occupation: Fashion designer

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1. Tell us a little about yourself:

Fashion design is my second career that I came to quite late. It was my dream at the age of 17, which evaporated. But I always believe if you want something enough it will come to you…sometimes not as expected, but you just have to believe.

I spend the majority of my time in London, but in winter I travel frequently to the French Alps due to my partner’s career–completely opposite to mine in every way possible. He’s an ex ski racer, so his whole career has been spent in the mountains around Les Trois Vallees in France, the largest ski area in Europe.

The contrasts in careers make our lives interesting and grounding at the same time. In my spare time I work out, read, ski (not brilliant considering his profession) and most importantly, I find time to meditate daily (an attempt to keep me calm and centered).

My goals and ambitions for my business are to build an incredible global brand of clothing that empowers women through dress, but the most important element is that I want to enjoy the journey with my team. For me, the journey is a communal one and not an individual one. One person doesn’t build a business, one person can lead but I need great strong staff that support me and help me make some tough decisions.

I want to enjoy every day of my life and leave the planet having made a difference.

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2. Why did you decide on a career in fashion?

After following a career in retail and reaching a level of Managing Director, my fashion career seemed to find me. All I wanted were great clothes. My fashion career started by my desire to find simple elegant clothes that fit perfectly, that travelled well, and were a little bit different from the norm. Classic with a twist was what I wanted! I couldn’t find it anywhere so I figured I could do it myself.

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Abby Dress

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3. Why did you choose your city as your base? Any tips or suggestions (hotels, restaurants, sites) for people traveling to your part of the world?

I always wanted to live in London, coming from the north of England it felt like the biggest city in the world. London is a truly amazing city from the contrast architecture to the street fashion, and the multi-cultural diversity. Every nationality sits comfortably together.

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4. What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?

Funny things happen most days at number35. From one of my team doing interpretive dance to make me laugh when I’m in a bad mood to sneaking out during manufacturing visits to do a supermarket sweep around Poundland… amazing what you can get for £1!

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5. What’s your favorite movie? And why?

My favourite movie has got to be The Adjustment Bureau, it’s a film about fate and how our lives are given direction. We have choices but our destiny is pretty much set. It helped me when my business was small and cash flow was tight, it guided me to believe that what I was doing was going to work out in the end. Crazy for a businesswoman to think like that but it worked and got me through the bad times.

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Collar Cuff Dress

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6. What’s the biggest risk you took in life?

The biggest risk was self funding my business and keeping it going through tough times, going without money in my life to pay my business bills, never looking behind me, gritting my teeth and heading straight. I always felt stepping outside of my comfort zone was how my life would be, so I never thought twice about my decisions. It can take me longer to decide what to eat for lunch than a life changing verdict which takes  two minutes flat.

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7. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be?

I don’t believe in turning or looking back, I believe that any decisions you make should be accepted because beating yourself up won’t change anything. Just work on the new situation and make the most of it.

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8. Tell us your favorite joke:

I don’t really do jokes, for me it’s about laughing daily with my staff and my partner. Giggling with him is one of the most amazing things in life. (Don’t really ask for much, am I crazy?)

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9. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

I am very sensitive, even though people assume that I am a very tough person.

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Two Leather Jacket

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10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

The best advice was from a book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. He was a Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who created Logo Therapy. He believed that if man had a reason for living he could deal with anything. One sentence from his book changed my life: “He who has a why to live can deal with any how.” Having a goal, ambition, or direction can give us the will to keep going.

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11. What’s been the worst fashion trend of the past five years?

For me there are too many to mention but some include Jeggings (not a good look on the majority of people) and to the constant use of UGGs… NOOOO – never owned Jeggings or UGGs and don’t intend on buying any soon!

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12. What should customers ask themselves before buying one of your products?

I think the most important question is “Does this fit into my wardrobe?” and “Is this the best starting piece?’” We believe in building an Intelligent Wardrobe so every piece is necessary. We don’t want clients to buy clothes they wont wear or they don’t need.

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13. Who are your design idols? Why? Have you ever met them? If so, what happened?

I love Thierry Mugler, Celine, Balenciaga, Brandon Maxwell, and Akris. I’ve never met any of them, especially as some are dead! I love structure, architecture, and shape with strong well-fitting fabrics.

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Aubergine Shift

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14. What colors will be the trendiest later this year and in 2017?

For our AW collection we are using burnt orange, plum, and a deep mustard–some of my favourite colours. Colours do take quite some time to come into fashion and then out again. So we tell our clients not to worry about staying on trend, nowadays anything goes!

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15. Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?

I don’t look to celebrities for aspiration or admiration. For me its about people who achieve in whatever field they choose. For example, Christine Lagarde, head of IMF. I would like to talk to her and see what makes her tick. She certainly would not consider herself a celebrity.

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16. What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?

I always keep £20 hidden in my wallet to allow abundance in, and of course in case I need it!

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Navy Mugler

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17. What’s your favorite outfit (currently and all-time)?

My number35 classic alligator peplum jacket with any trousers or jeans. It makes me feel amazing and dressed for any eventuality.

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18. Where was your best meal, and what was it?

My best meal has to be in Geneva when I met my partner. The food wasn’t great but the rest was magical. You see, I’m so sensitive.

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19. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?

It has to be our new Entrepreneurs Wardrobe. We want to encourage younger women starting out on their journey to their success, to have the right amour in their wardrobe. Being able to turn to amazing clothes for whatever circumstances gives you one less thing to have to worry about.

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Entrepreneur Wardrobe

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All images courtesy of number35.