An interview with Caggie Dunlop
If you haven’t already heard of Caggie Dunlop then where have you been for the past year? Having just come from the hit series Made in Chelsea, you wouldn’t think in the slightest that this young actress went from working behind the bar of a pub to a university dropout.
The modest idol was, in fact, a dropout from university, where according to her: “I wasn’t getting to where I wanted”. In her words, leaving university was a “massive shout, but I don’t do regrets”. It proved to be a wise decision and since then she has launched herself into the upper echelons of the public eye. A star of the hit series Made in Chelsea, Caggie is now on the verge of releasing her own clothes line called ISWAI (it starts with an idea).
Her army (310,000) of twitter followers is what Caggie thrives off and she has personally selected a few of them to play an integral part in her first foray into the fashion world.
Her story starts with her return from the New York acting school. “I wanted to find my feet in the acting world.” The big break came when she was offered a part in Made in Chelsea. Caggie went on to say that the show was a “gamble” but her main aim was to showcase her singing ability. She added: “The producers asked to meet with me; it all happened very quickly. I was the last of everyone to get on board; I didn’t want to get that involved, but I thought what have I got to lose?”
Caggie admitted: “I was absolutely terrified for a thousand reasons; for my first time singing to an audience that was quite punchy.” Yet Caggie grew into the role and quickly became the main character as her relationship with Spencer Matthews evolved into the focal point of the series. After the second series, Caggie decided to leave the show in order to start afresh. However, Dunlop did not leave in bad taste. “I still keep in touch with the producers and cast. It was nice because we’re all friends; I’ve been best friends with Millie [Mackintosh] since we were 15.”
Despite a stormy on-screen relationship, Caggie and Spencer do still talk. She said: “He rang me on Monday for a chat after the show; he spoke a little quietly as he’s no longer the lovesick puppy, but the womaniser.” She was excited to watch the show without being in it herself. She added: “Now I don’t have to worry about how I looked or what I was going to say.”
ISWAI is the realisation of a dream for Caggie. She had a “clear vision” of launching her own clothes line that would be aimed at “the youth of today” and would give a “platform to young designers”. Caggie knows that this was not the easy option. “I could have just fronted some company’s creation, but I wanted it to be mine,” she said. The first range of items is the 5 ways t-shirt collection for which Caggie, along with four other handpicked designers from across the country, created their own t-shirts based on anything that means something special to them. Caggie added: “This is my baby and I’m going to nurture it. I know one day it’s going to get all on top of me and I’ll need to get people in, but I would hate to segment my baby!”
There’s a real feel of exclusivity about the brand. “Each t-shirt will be sent with a postcard that I’ve signed.” Caggie said: “I hope this is the beginning for me as well as my designers” as she starts afresh with a “concept to encourage” young designers to convert their ideas into a tangible reality. She loves the raw enthusiasm that the current crop of designers has.
“I see it like a cobweb. I’m in the middle of it all and all the designers branch out and connect; they’re already going off and doing their own thing together, which is great.” Her face twinkles with excitement as she retells the story of one of her designers: “He’s a 17-year-old kid from Ireland who makes and prints t-shirts in his own room.” He’s exactly who Caggie was looking for when she sent out the application process via Twitter.
The next project, which is a jewellery line, is “already in motion and will be even more personal”. One day she hopes to have an ISWAI shop. “I want it to be cool, something like a deserted warehouse in Shoreditch.” The future looks very bright for Caggie Dunlop; her passion will drive her forward and she is clearly ready for the challenges that are ahead. “I love it when people tell me I can’t do something.”