SukiShufu (sue-key-shoo-foo) isn’t athleisure. It’s athluxe. Upon viewing the beautiful fabrics, silhouettes and designs, you might be confused as to whether the cool clothes should be worn while working up a good sweat or for a night out? That’s just how founder Caroline White likes it. After seeing a gap in the marketplace, the former gymnast gave up her banking career to start SukiShufu, which was one of the first lines to start the atheisure/luxe craze. The collection took off and White’s never looked back. We spoke with the entrepreneur about her new collection, copycats and secrets to success.
Q. The new collection pays tribute to London. What qualities native to London citizens are also displayed in the collection?
A. In London you can truly be who you want to be. There is so much freedom within the diverse culture that exists here. It’s rich and exciting to draw creative inspiration from. There is an attitude that comes with that freedom – a fearlessness to take risks, to put yourself out there and to speak your mind. It’s these qualities that I wanted to convey with this collection, #LondonAF.
Q. You’ve had a few people try to copy your designs. How do you deal with this?
A. Well it used to really piss me off but then I realized they are always going to be a season behind me and well, they are imitators, not designers so I leave them to it. It’s a free market; however, personally, I would be embarrassed to be basically selling cheaper copies of someone else’s aesthetic. I’m with Vivienne (Westwood), “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Choose quality not quantity…..” I know my customers are making an investment and I also know that they will still be wearing that investment years down the line #MadeInEngland.
Q. You are a former gymnast. What is your philosophy now when it comes to exercise and diet?
A. I have always continued with my love of stretching my body. It just feels so good to feel loose and long, especially (in) my spine. I’m also really dedicated to maintaining good mobility and strength to prevent any issues in later life and to keep my posture in check. Currently yoga and weight based training are my jams. With regards to diet, I am a professional at carb and fat consumption hence #EatDirty but not so good at protein and vegetables. This year I have really made a huge effort to start drinking my greens (whilst holding my nose) and being more protein aware, shall we say. I still love a good blowout though. Give me fries, a cold glass of champagne and some cake or custard-based pudding and I’m yours.
Q. You changed careers to start this line. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to going for it?
A. Not all “advice” is good, well-intended or valuable. Filter it accordingly. Know that no one can stop you from being who or what you want to be. Find your passion. Trust your abilities and instinct, then go for it. Be fearless.
Q. What does being a “boss” mean to you?
A. Risk, responsibility, adventure, excitement and disappointment. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and challenges that I want to keep on riding. Oh did I mention grey hairs?
For more on SukiShufu, check them out on Instagram @SukiShufu