We caught up with the lovely Lou, designer & creator of LouLousLovelies for a chat about what inspires her collars & bunting, who her influences are and what her design process entails. From sharing an office space with Lou for a while last year we know firsthand that she is one hardworking lady and it shows in her beautiful creations. She also has a wardrobe and unique style to die for! Read on….
Tell us how loulouslovelies came about.
I went to fashion college after school for 3 years and then went on to work in display but always wanted to get back to designing/making clothing so I started doing ‘Lou Lou’s Bows’ stalls at various Dublin markets from the Summer of 2009. I decided to go back and do a fashion design night course in the Grafton Academy in March 2012 and that’s when I started making collars. Wendy Crawford of Bow started stocking my creations in October 2012 and it was around this time that I launched my Instagram page documenting everything I was doing and it has all stemmed from there.
When did you realise you wanted to design & create? I am always intrigued if people were telling their guidance counsellor in school this is what they would be doing or was it something that came about at a later stage?
I knew I wanted to do something creative from a young age and art was the only subject I really enjoyed at school. I was choosing between fashion design, graphic design and interior design with my guidance counsellor, he was really helpful to me and actually recommended the course that I ended up doing. I had been making clothes from the time I was 15 and had a huge interest in fashion history so it made sense to go with fashion.
What was the first piece you ever designed?
I started playing around with denim when I was 15 but it was more deconstructing than designing, I loved ripping stuff up and turning it into something new, it’s a process I still love today. The first thing I ever made was a red and white candy stripe jersey top and matching skirt.
How long does it take you to construct your pieces? Can you talk us through the process?
My collars and buntings all vary in length and shape so it’s hard to put a time on exactly how long it takes to create each one but I generally allow 2-3 hours to work on a piece. I love the act of choosing/sourcing the fabrics because print and texture are most important to me. I have a pattern piece for every style of collar so I cut out each twice to self line and make it reversible. I always like one of the fabrics at least to have a bit of weight to it because it makes them more substantial, I like them to look solid rather than delicate.
Who are your biggest influences?
The likes of Peter Jensen and Orla Kiely’s collections never cease to excite and inspire me immensely and I love the clean lines of Celine and Stella McCartney. Chloe Sevigny’s collections for Opening Ceremony are always fantastic and her show themes too. I adore artist Alia Penner’s work, she does a lot of collage style stuff mixing her artwork and photography, it’s a style I’ve always loved and it’s definitely a style I want to play with for a LLL’s shoot at some point. It’s all very whimsical and psychedelic but there’s a simplicity to it too. Mid-century fashion has inspired me since I started making clothing and I think it always will, clothing is not made like it was in those times and when I start to produce clothing I hope to emulate the quality from back then in my designs.
We love your instagram page. Little snippets of your life, your work, your outfits & your influences. How important is social media to you and your brand? People really respond to individuals who share their lives on social media platforms such as instagram. Do you feel it is important that you share with your customers some of who the person is behind the brand?
Absolutely, I think it’s really important to show my followers what makes me tick and not make it all about the product. I treat my Instagram like a visual blog documenting as I go and I really enjoy sharing all the things that I’m passionate about.
From some of your pictures is it fair to say the fashion & the patterns from the 60’s & 70’s have an influence on your designs? Can you share with us some of your fashion icons from these eras?
The 60’s was an amazing decade, a complete revolution and my favourite time in twentieth century fashion, music and art. Some of my favourite icons from this time are; Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick (I put them together because my favourite period was when they were inseparable), Jane Birkin, Anna Karina, Mick Jagger, Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell (amazing creative couple), Jean Shrimpton, Audrey Hepburn, Patti Boyd, Barbara Hulanicki (who founded Biba).
We love your style! Where do you like to shop and how would you describe your everyday style?
I rarely go shopping I just pick things up along the way. I love charity and vintage shops and I always like to see what’s going on in Urban Outfitters. My style is somewhere between a little girl and a grandad, I think that’s the best way to describe it. Comfort is key as I work in display in the daytime, I rarely get to dress up, my outfits are mostly casual.
Have you any favourite fashion websites that you like to catch up with?
My favourite is anothermag.com, it always fulfills me with numerous interesting articles and features whenever I go on there. I used to say I wanted to work for them when I grow up, I still do! Another beauty is talesofendearment.com, it’s the blog of fashion casting director Natalie Joos and focuses largely on her love of vintage fashion. She features so many interesting people with incredible homes and wardrobes, she herself is a very stylish and inspirational woman.
What is your opinion on the Irish Fashion Industry? Do you think there is enough support for emerging designers?
I think for a small country we boast a history of many amazing designers starting as far back as Sybil Connolly right up to Orla Kiely and Phillip Treacy. Even more currently Simone Rocha and Danielle Romeril who has recently won the Newgen sponsorship from the British fashion council to show her A/W 2014 collection – a massive achievement for her and our country, I think we’ve a lot to be proud of.
Any advice you can give to the many people here that have their hearts set on becoming designers.
Find a good fashion course, work hard and make the most of your college days learning and listening to as much as you can from your tutors. Master all the basic blocks because you’ll work off them to construct everything you make. Keep designs clean and simple to start until you gain confidence. Don’t be disheartened by the skills of others students around you, there’lI always be people who are more skilled than you so let it be something that drives you to be better and learn from them too.
When you are not designing you are also a successful DJ, how do you balance it all?
Djing is my chill out time, I find it therapeutic and love zoning out and getting lost in it. I love music so it comes easy to me. I play in laid back venues or at fashion events so the gigs I do are pretty relaxed most of the time.
What does the future hold for loulouslovelies and where can our readers pick up your beautiful designs?
My dream is to progress LLL’s into a clothing brand eventually, I have so many design ideas. There’s a move to the US in the pipeline for myself and my boyfriend so I’ll be leaving my job and focusing solely on LLL’s out there, I’m really looking forward to having the time to experiment, working hard and living our American dream together.
I make all my products to order and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can view my Instagram profile at Instagram.com/loulouslovelies and my website loulouslovelies.com is coming soon.
1. Staying in or going out? At the moment, staying in.
2. City life or countryside living? Somewhere in between.
3. Heels or Trainers? Trainers.
4. Movie or Dinner? Both.
5. Three items you would bring to a desert island are…. My boyfriend, my dog and my bikini!
6. Tell us something people don’t know about you….I box so just be very careful…..
Follow Lou on instagram @loulouslovelies
Love Lou’s work & style as much as we do? Keep an eye out on http://www.lovetabii.com for some contributing posts by Lou coming very soon!
Words: Louise Ryan, Tabitha magazine.