OUR BRAND

We're a UK top 50 contemporary multi-brand fashion independent, located in the beautiful destination coastal towns of Southwold, Aldeburgh & Burnham Market. We edit the best pieces from over 100 different brands, bringing together timeless, easy to wear style in a warm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We have been described by Condé Nast Traveller as a “mini Fenwick”, with our collections presented in departments for womenswear, menswear, footwear, lingerie, accessories and beauty products.

OUR HISTORY

  • Founded in 2002 by Vanessa Collen and Clare Adkins (now retired), Collen & Clare opened on the High Street in the charming, quintessentially English seaside town of Southwold
  • On Valentine’s Day 2004, we moved to the current (much larger) premises in Market Place, continuing the fashion story first started in the 1800s by Henry Moss, who traded from the same premises selling drapery, groceries and provisions
  • In 2014, Clare retired from the business and Vanessa was joined at the helm by one of her loyal customers and former head of marketing at Marks & Spencer, Steve Sharp, who took on the role of Chairman
  • On Valentine’s Day 2014, we opened in the heart of the idyllic seaside town of Aldeburgh in a former contemporary art gallery, offering a modern and chic space perfect for showcasing an edited selection from our womenswear, accessories and beauty brands
  • In May 2015, we opened the doors to our Burnham Market store, based in the beautiful 18th century building that was home to the former Grooms Bakery, strategically positioned on The Green opposite Burnham's acclaimed hotel, The Hoste

OUR PEOPLE

Steve Sharp

Steve’s award winning career has seen him specialise in Retail Food and Fashion Marketing for some of the country’s best known brands. In a career spanning almost 4 decades Steve has held senior marketing roles at Bejam, Asda, Debenhams, Burton Group, Booker and Arcadia, leading to his main Board role with Marks & Spencer from 2004.

Steve’s “Greatest Hits” include: “Your M&S” – food advertising dubbed “Food Porn” by the media and featuring the now infamous exploding chocolate pudding. Steve introduced Twiggy as the face of M&S, directing the resulting commercials which played a central role in reviving M&S's fortunes.

Steve is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, The Marketing Society and The Royal Society of Arts. He is Chairman of Imagineer London, Imagineer Events, Collen & Clare and Senior Non-Executive Director of Adnams and The Government Communications Board. He is also a trustee of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

Vanessa Collen

Vanessa is Suffolk born and bred, growing up on a farm minutes from Southwold. With a degree in Management Science from Loughborough University she was drawn to the bright lights and big city of London for an early career with US investment bank JP Morgan.

After a decade of travel, working in New York and Europe, the big skies of Suffolk beckoned and a childhood dream to open a clothes shop in Southwold became a reality. Today she is Managing Director of Collen & Clare.

“The ethos of Collen & Clare remains the same today as it did on opening - to offer an edited selection of great clothes in an environment that is utterly relaxed. The people who work with us all have amazing stories to tell and heading up the team is the biggest privilege as we continue to grow and hunt for the next great brand.”

Morgan Elliott Richards

A Yorkshire gal with a fashion degree from Trent Polytechnic, Morgan moved to London to work at the BBC as a costume assistant before moving to the big screen.

Here she worked alongside some of the biggest names in the business in her 20 years as a costume assistant and designer, fitting out the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp,  Angelina Jolie, Russell Crowe, Kenneth Branagh, Donald Sutherland and Tom Hollander to name but a few.

After working on location around the world, from the UK to the US and Kazakhstan, she moved to Suffolk and in 2009 she joined Collen & Clare. She now shares responsibility for the buying with Vanessa and oversees the merchandising of all stores as Head of Retail and in her own words she “buys and sells a lot of clothes”. 

Morgan not only has an amazing eye but remembers every item a customer buys and enables them to build brilliantly working wardrobes season after season.