Allude’s path to success begins in Munich in 1993 with an idea that is as simple as it is exciting: to turn delicately soft cashmere into feminine fashion wear and translate the material’s sensuality into modern collections. Andrea Karg – the company’s founder and creative director – sets about her mission with passion. Her first design is a tapered V-neck pullover: a perfect piece that emphasises the female form and can be incorporated into any outfit. Karg’s sweater is still being produced, making it Allude’s best-selling piece.
From a Munich-based knitwear label to a global lifestyle brand: in just a few years, the line is expanded to a designer collection released every season that encompasses roughly 300 pieces in over 50 colours and six different sizes. In 2005 a menswear collection is added to the women’s ready-to-wear line. The brand’s own Allude Care Series
for Cashmere appears in 2011, a homewear and baby collection follow in 2015, and the company adds a kids’ collection in 2016.
A decisive milestone in the brand’s success story is its admission into Paris’ renowned Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode
. Allude makes an appearance at every Paris Fashion Week from 2012 to 2015, the only German label and the first specialist cashmere brand to have its own show. Andrea Karg seizes the opportunity to put cashmere on the runway as well as to catapult her craftsmanship onto a global stage. She reveals cashmere’s hidden showcase potential and conveys the lavish fabric’s adaptability.
As one of the few German fashion labels, Allude is able to establish itself internationally as well as in the luxury segment. The brand’s high profile is reflected in the exclusive settings where its offerings are sold in over 30 countries around the world. In Germany alone, Allude can be bought at more than 200 premium stores. 700 retail partners carry the brand, including key clients such as British luxury fashion platform Net-A-Porter
and renowned department stores such as Selfridges
and Harvey Nichols
in London, Boon the Shop
in Seoul as well as Barneys
in New York and TsUM
in Moscow. In 2015 Allude opens a mono-brand store in Monte Carlo, before launching its first flagship store in Kitzbühel one year later. Today the world of Allude is available 24/7 since the brand started its own online store in September 2015 (www.allude-cashmere.com/shop
Allude sees itself as a high-end designer brand currently in the midst of international expansion. Roughly 40 percent of its turnover is generated abroad, particularly in France, Russia, the UK and the US. The company is also benefitting from the steadily rising purchasing power of several Asian countries. Alongside its showroom in Munich, presentation spaces have also been opened in Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Milan, New York and Salzburg.
Cashmere as a 360-degree experience: in order to strengthen the brand’s own identity and to illustrate its extensive expertise, Allude publishes a reference book about the world’s most sought-after fibre in 2015: the resulting coffee table book, Cashmere, is published by Munich’s Callwey publishing house. The release coincides with the opening of the Cashmere Clinic
in Munich’s Lehel district, which offers an exclusive repair and cleaning service for cashmere pieces (think of it as an intensive treatment centre for premium knitwear). Allude is also present on a number of different social media channels and is expanding its reach through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Allude’s 25th anniversary: 2018 will see the launch of the brand’s upcoming projects. Titled Cashmere Collectives
, the initiative involves the twice-yearly release of individual collaborations with handpicked creatives.
The Rhineland native’s passion for cashmere starts at a young age. Andrea Karg first wears a cashmere sweater as a teenager, and the fine, soft material immediately takes a firm hold of her heart. Some years later, the trained lawyer realises that the selection of stylish, feminine knitwear on offer is very limited. It lights a spark and sets Karg on a journey to launching her own fashion label, which she develops during the early nineties together with husband Christian.
Cashmere as the foundation for a fashion brand: Andrea Karg is drawn to the source of this sumptuous material … to a place where large herds of cashmere goats graze the land, their wool collected and industrially processed: to China. In remote Central Asian mountain regions, she finds not only the sought-after fibre, but qualified producers whose trust she is able to gain, establishing lasting partnerships. Without any training in fashion or business, but with plenty of ambition and well-honed organisational skills, the mother-of-two sets about acquiring the expertise necessary to becoming a cashmere designer.
Whether it’s raw materials, knitting machines or production processes, Karg’s instinctive understanding of cashmere is ever present. She believes this extremely fine fibre has the potential to break free from its conservative twinset niche and move into the luxury fashion segment. She tries out new shapes and silhouettes, experiments with stitching, colours and effects, explores unusual finishes – and with a flair for splendour, rich variation and ceaselessly innovative interpretations, Karg manages to always be in tune with the zeitgeist.
Andrea Karg is constantly reinventing herself and her brand: she responds to the latest trends, has a sense for how women want to be dressed and conveys her passion for cashmere right down to the finest detail – as Allude’s creative director, Karg continues to communicate the concept and core strength of her brand in her own unique, impressive way.
After more than 18 years in Munich’s Lehel district, Allude moves its headquarters to the east of the city in May 2017. Here, in the expansive halls of a former cord factory, Andrea Karg and her team are able to unleash their creativity over a 2,000 m2 space featuring open plan areas, a stylish setting and an ambience that manages to be both luxurious and cosmopolitan yet remains informal.
Allude’s black company logo stands proud against a white backdrop. An ‘A’ mirrored in curved type: A for Andrea. A for Allude. The brand name was deliberately chosen. To allude: to suggest something – a verb that aims to capture the very essence of a cashmere label.
One of the cashmere brand’s main challenges is the creative dialogue with the material that weaves its way through all of Allude’s designs. Led by an extremely diverse array of colours, materials and silhouettes, each new collection sees the brand’s DNA perfected further, moving towards smarter casual chic. This identity goes hand in hand with a drive for the highest quality. Based on stringent controls that are applied throughout the entire manufacturing process – from the raw wool right to the finished article – premium quality remains the crucial maxim.
Allude is visionary, driving forwards with its international expansion and strengthening its global brand. Key to all of this is Andrea Karg. The designer is not only the woman behind the label, she also embodies its ideal values and thus has a unique connection to the brand’s target audience. After all, her lifestyle mirrors that of many of her customers: modern women who approach life with passion and elegance; who are self-assured, strong and confidently stylish.
Luxurious, desirable, confident and unexpected – that’s the Allude look. What originally began as a passionate and driven search for optimally realised knitwear design is undergoing a creative evolution with each passing season.
Throughout this development, we consistently see details giving rise to a whole. Clear lines that enter into a dialogue with soft, three-dimensional knitwear patterns. Feminine cuts combined with high-tech fabrics. Sophisticated colours and unexpected details that highlight contrasting styles and elements. Materials that produce surprising effects when juxtaposed in a layered look.
Andrea Karg is convinced that cashmere is one of the most versatile fabrics around. To emphasise her designs’ couture credentials, she focuses heavily on head-turning effects and the fibre’s interplay with other materials: Lurex yarn, sequins, rhine- and semi-precious stones deliver added embellishment and hold the promise of glamour. Severe cut-outs and heavily contrasted meshing bring tough elegance into the mix and turn cashmere into an eye-catching statement fabric.
From exclusive highlights to complete looks: the brand’s most vital driving force is the joyful experimentalism with which Andrea Karg brings her ideas to life – and the realisation that even the finest fibre on earth knows no limits. To bring their designs to fruition, Allude takes advantage of the many opportunities afforded by recent technological advances, which the team uses to realise the full potential of their craftsmanship and to think firmly outside the box, thus allowing new creative avenues to be explored. The result? Modern, innovative looks that will carry Allude into the future.