Growing an independent fashion brand is not simple. Yet wouldn’t the world be a more interesting place if there were more independent companies instead of global chains? Natalia Corre, the Berlin-based brand consultant, thinks so and believes the shift is already happening.

In 2017, after years working at Dries van Noten and Erdem, Natalia launched Advance Copy, a project where she would interview people who are successfully running independent fashion brands and creative businesses, usually with seemingly unconventional strategies. She speaks to them about topics rarely discussed in fashion—one’s moral compass, capitalism, degrowth—and champions knowledge sharing in an industry that is notorious for closed doors. Through Advance Copy, Natalia also works as a consultant with brands like Cecilie Bahnsen and Neous, specialising in wholesale, direct-to-consumer and community strategies with authenticity, financial stability and wellbeing as the primary principals for helping her clients grow.

Natalia and I first met six years ago when she interviewed me for Advance Copy about making Lindsay magazine. That conversation became the first of many, and quickly turned into a nourishing cross-oceanic working relationship and friendship.

Our latest project together is her first book, Growing Independent Fashion Brands. In the image-free compendium, text takes centre stage featuring over 30 conversations with owners of independent fashion brands, including Lee Mathews, Auralee, Kenneth Ize, Amomento, Story Mfg and many more.

With the book now available in Lee Mathews stores, it feels fitting to turn the tables and ask her some of the same questions she is renowned for asking others.

Natalia wears the LM Denim Mini Dress.

Hello Natalia. Let’s start from the beginning. Where did your career in fashion start?

In London, while I was studying, I had the luck of interning at Alexander McQueen, Yohji Yamamoto and Stella McCartney. And in Paris at Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela. After graduating in Fashion Management from London College of Fashion, I was offered a freelance position in wholesale at Balenciaga and then worked full-time at Erdem.


Interning for these brands from the age of 15 – 21 was a crash course on the importance of commerce and creativity in fashion. I assisted design, press and commercial departments and was surrounded by the most talented and committed people learning how to present the unique voice of each brand to the needs of different global audiences.  

Natalia wears the LM Denim Mini Dress.


Yes, Advance Copy began while I transitioned to freelance consulting for Dries van Noten, Neous and Cecilie Bahnsen. My fascination for independent fashion brands has always been there – it’s something I explore in the Preface of the book. And after working at Erdem and seeing the rise of the independent scene in London, around 2008, it was unfathomable to go back to working for a mega brand: they seemed so stale.

Can you explain exactly what Advance Copy is and why you started it?

Advance Copy is a podcast and consulting service for pragmatic independent brands. I saw the rise of direct-to-consumer brands and how they were shaking up this archaic industry. Thanks to the internet, social media and e-commerce, designers all over the world were given the power to build companies on their own terms and share new narratives that were being blocked from the mainstream. At the same time, fashion’s role in global warming was becoming crystal clear. So I started recording honest conversations with people I knew in the industry who were also connected to this “new dawn” of fashion. This turned into a podcast, consulting services, workshops, and now, a book of conversations.

Natalia wears the Daphne Apron Dress. Coming Soon.

I know people can be sceptical whether it’s possible to run an ethical and/or sustainable fashion business in our modern world. After interviewing so many brands, what are your thoughts on this?

Over the years my utopian vision has softened, and I now believe that it’s better to have an independent brand that tries its best to be ethical and/or sustainable, in whatever manner it has the capacity to do so, than to be crushed by perfectionism of having all the answers. The biggest problem is that there is too much stuff being produced. So the question I’m interested in is: How can one run a fashion business that produces smaller collections and is financially stable? Because producing less will free up time to research, develop and create more sustainable/ethical solutions.

What kind of brands do you work with and how do you support what they’re doing?

My clients range from cosmetics and accessories to ready to wear. But they’re united by the same way of thinking: they’re open to change and build businesses on their own terms. My job is to help each client create, implement or re-align their sales strategy. In most cases this task starts with crystalising the signature of the company and the values of its owner(s).

Natalia wears the Daphne Apron Dress. Coming Soon.

When we first met, I clearly remember your obsession with print, specifically fanzines. And then about 18 months ago you came to me and said you wanted to make this book. Why did you decide to finally make something in print?

I have the highest admiration for people who print books, magazines and zines and collect them with care. So printing something has always felt like a gold standard. I thought about it for years, but I had no experience in publishing. But something I’ve learnt, thanks to launching Advance Copy, is that you can learn anything: fear is the real hurdle. This might sound cheesy, but Growing Independent Fashion Brands felt bigger than me; I’m just the person facilitating the dissemination of a much bigger narrative which needs to exist in print to reach a wider audience more profoundly.

In many ways independent publishing and independent fashion share some of the same challenges. How have you found the process of self-publishing so far?

I’ll be honest, it was brutal. The biggest problems with independent publishing and fashion are: the huge price difference between producing poor and high quality product, a hefty initial investment, and no guarantee of recuperating the money. There’s another problem that both industries share: a lack of governmental support for smaller creative projects. I applied for all manner of grants in Germany, but in the end, the book was powered by the passion, trust, support and flexibility of all involved… And for complete transparency, a loan from members of my family.

Natalia wears the Faye Mini Dress. Coming Soon.

Your pillars for consulting are wellbeing, financial stability and authenticity. I feel like these are concepts that not only the fashion industry is struggling with but most creative practitioners. It is difficult to have a sustainable creative business without feeling like you’re going against your values or burning yourself to the ground. With your own work, how do you manage this?

It’s a constant learning curve. But no matter how philosophy-driven or creative you are, it’s crucial to regularly check if what you’re doing is paying the rent or just burning you out. For example, the ideas behind Advance Copy are driven by my instinct and I believe that the services I provide are important and helpful to specific individuals, but if they’re not reaching those people then it’s my responsibility to stop and ask why and address the issues with my approach.

Now, on burning out, I don’t have any good advice. Unfortunately, I am a self-proclaimed ‘crocodile’; once I start a task, I can’t let it go. My work keeps me awake at night and I often get my best ideas in a lucid state. It’s not a trait that I’m proud of or promote by any means. But perhaps that’s the curse of wanting to inject philosophy into each part of your process while living in the age of ‘hustle culture’ ruled by algorithm and speed; so much extra effort is required to make sure that what you are putting out there is really true to you and not just an echo of a comfort zone dictated by social media and the industry standards.

What do you hope people will learn, or even feel, from reading the book?

My intention for this book is to give people working in fashion a glimpse at how things can be done differently and are being done differently – to represent a different vision of fashion. It’s about sharing ideas to big industry problems and hopefully adding to the broader dialogue of progress and diversity in our field. Speaking to each of our guests has made me feel optimistic about how the future of fashion may unfold. I hope this feeling will transmit to our readers and support them in wanting to strive for more than what’s being dictated by the conglomerates.

Natalia wears the Faye Mini Dress. Coming Soon.