How Samantha Cameron Is Rejecting Fast Fashion: ‘Nothing Will Really Happen Until Customers Put Pressure On Businesses’

The chic dresses and smart separates at Samantha Cameron's Cefinn are the answer to your workwear woes - but with an increasing imperative for fashion brands to be sustainable, how do you create a label that will last the course?

Cefinn images

by Natalie Hammond |

Hands up if you’re bored to tears by all the workwear in your wardrobe? The dresses are all tight in all the wrong places and come in sinfully dull shades of grey, navy and black. Not Cefinn’s. Mia has delicately slashed sleeves, an on-point handkerchief hem and flatteringly cinched waist. Amber has contrast panels of blush and crimson, while Lauren has a chic funnel neck and hits that sweet spot just above the ankle.

It figures that the woman behind the brand has had a lifetime’s worth of power dress moments. Samantha Cameron wore Preen by Thornton Bregazzi when her husband resigned as prime minister, and navy-pink-and-orange Roksanda to leave Downing Street. What made her want to start her own label just a year later in 2017? "I wanted to create a brand that was modern and effortless," she says simply. "I saw a gap in the market for quality pieces that could see you through a busy day and out for dinner after work."

The clothes at Cefinn, and not just the dresses, certainly fit that brief. The high-necked Erin blouse, with its smart ticker-stripe pattern, could be tucked into the wide-leg Courtney trousers and worn with loafers for work. Add a chunky gold choker, switch the flats for block-heeled mules, and you’re ready for a (gastro)pub garden. The sleeveless Sadie dress, available in soft pink, scarlet and black, is very similar to the kind of dress Samantha wore during her Number 10 years, when every public appearance was pored-over by the press and she worked closely with stylist Isabel Spearman.

She’s now more likely to be waving from the school gates than at her constituency’s polling station - and says that life as a working mother has had a marked effect on Cefinn. "I’m always running from the school drop-off to an event or a board meeting, and need to be wearing clothes that are versatile and chic." This also explains why she’s put so much time into finding the right fabrics. Working mothers don’t have enough time to see their friends, let alone pop to the dry cleaner every week. More than half of Cefinn’s clothes are made from Techi Voile, a fabric that is - praise be! - machine-washable and crease-resistant.

In terms of fabrics and sustainability, Samantha acknowledges that there's no such thing as a ‘quick-fix’: "Our pieces are sustainable in that they’re high quality, classic and will be in your wardrobe for a long time," she says, adding, "Technology will have to solve many of these sustainability issues. Nothing will really happen until customers put pressure on businesses who in turn put pressure on suppliers and so on, with the factories and fabric mills investing long-term in technological advances."

Another hot topic around the Cameron dinner table is surely Brexit. What does Samantha think about British fashion? "There a huge amount of innovation and creativity. London style is so varied and consumers aren’t afraid to make bold decisions," she says.

What's clear is that Cefinn has given Samantha personality as well as purpose. She’s no longer ‘the wife of former prime minister David Cameron’, but a designer and start-up business owner, although it’s true that her family isn’t far from her mind at work. "The name Cefinn itself is based on my childrens initials, I love having a little part of them embedded in the brand."

SHOP: Our Favourite Wear-Everywhere Pieces From Cefinn

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SHOP: Our favourite wear-everywhere pieces from Cefinn

Cefinn Mia dress
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Cefinn Isla skirt
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Cefinn Riley blouse
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Cefinn Rosie dress
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Cefinn Erin blouse
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Cefinn Daria dress
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Cefinn coat
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Cefinn Esme dress
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Cefinn Courtney trousers
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