Who started the Couture Club?
Like 11 Degrees is synonymous with Gaz Beadle, the Couture Club has an equally enigmatic Ex-Reality TV frontman in Ross Worswick. In April 2014 a brand new MTV series hit our screen called Ex on the Beach.
Walking out of the sea in slow motion and rippling six-pack to surprise his ex Chloe Goodman, the ex-racing car driver hit our screens like a silver-haired tornado. The TV personality also appeared in Desi Rascals, and back to EXOTB for series 6, but has finally emerged from the Reality TV shadow with his brand, the Couture Club, with his pal Scott Shashua.
After meeting on the Manchester Night Club scene, the boys saw an opportunity to utilise Ross’ newfound fame and mix it with his love of fashion. Indeed, when the company was set up in late 2014 Ross was listed as a fashion designer and 100% shareholder. Scott didn’t actually become director and shareholder until late 2015. Ross Worswick was making a name for himself as a model for brands such as Scar Tissue Clothing, so was instantly recognisable in the market.
The incredible rise of Couture Club?
The Couture Club did things a little differently, and kept out of retailers so you could only buy direct from them. This gave a level of exclusivity, and of course the brand is now available in ASOS and beyond. How they got there was covered in a very “informative” press piece in October 2018, with seemingly direct quotes from the boys and inside information. It tells a story of the brand kicking off in 2016 and the meteoric rise in the two years, mostly attributed to celebrity endorsement and a gap in the affordable market. It reports Black Friday 2016 really kicked things off for the brand. In 2017 they expanded into Womenswear and a store at the Trafford Centre. The reported yearly turnover shows an incredible rise from 500k (2016), 3m (2017) to 15m (2018), helped by stores opening in Newcastle and Dublin and a prominent advertising campaign. Scott goes on record to state this organic growth was all from their initial £5k outlay. But is that actually the case?
“We never had further investment, it was all organic. I hope other people will read this and see anybody can still do it, you don’t need crazy money to start and have a go. Hard work, dedication and passion is what you need and younger people should know it’s achievable if you work hard enough.”
WHO OWNS COUTURE CLUB
Naturally big companies would want to cash in on the “bedroom brand” scene. Trading Standards insist companies run with clear transparency for consumers, including on who owns companies. If you look at the Kings Will Dream terms and conditions page, it’s evident it’s a division of Footaslyum. The Couture club still doesn’t do this, which suggests the startup is as described in the October 2018 article. But in the industry, there were always rumours that the brand’s growth was down to the finances of JD Sports who own 2Squared agency rather than the reported version of events. Even Reece Wabara of Maniere De Voir called them out on in it in March 2018.
There are facts to back this up. The warehouse that they are reported to have picked and packed in themselves, is shared with other 2squared companies so it’s safe to assume the warehouse staff were directly employed too. It would certainly appear that 2squared has been the driving force since 2017. Indeed, as they have been a 48% shareholder since May 2018, an article written 5 months later seems more of a press release rather than truth. The real shame is the reported version of events gives false hope to the many people that believe their line ” HARD WORK, DEDICATION AND PASSION IS WHAT YOU NEED” when it seems the power of one of the UK’s biggest retailers was the real reason.
Certainly, in the early days, I don’t doubt the guys worked their socks off, fashion brands are notoriously difficult to get moving so no-one would begrudge their success. Indeed anyone whoever has met Ross has confirmed he is a savvy businessman and very nice guy, so the origins of their story are no doubt spot on.
Incidentally, Scott and Ross have turned their hand to Brad Howard’s brand il Sarto, noticeable by the brand presentation in the media and has trod a near-identical path. With a bit of investigation, you will see it’s major shareholder is Couture Club LTD who the pair share the board with Martyn Harrison who is also a director of 2squared. Neither brand feature on Ross’s Wikipedia page.