INSPIRE ME – with Chie Mihara

91There are certain shoe designers who radiate individuality within their work. To be able to do this – and mix it up with beauty and vintage inspiration is my idea of heaven !

Chie Mihara started out in 2002 and now ten years on, stocks her shoes, boots and sandals with over one thousand clients worldwide, including Selfridges in the United Kingdom and Neiman Marcus in the United States. She even has a really pretty and distinctive bridal range.

I have been a bit of a fan of Chie Mihara for some time, so am pleased to be sharing some of her inspirations with you today…

How did you originally get into shoe design ? Was it always a dream of yours ?

I was always into fashion. For me, shoes was a big unhappy story because I could never find a shoe that I liked for my 40 feet… but never thought I would be a shoe designer !!

Being into fashion takes you to all it’s areas.

Can you tell me the process from design to actual fruition ?

The longest process is the searching. I go to the shoe museum and look for images from different decades, also look for my fashion and accessories book archive I hold in my studio, do trips to Paris, Milan and look around what´s cooking…shops, movies, music, everything is feeding your mind with information.

Later I start defining last shapes, heel shapes, soles, platforms…go to leather fairs in Milan and Paris to see and buy from the tanneries. Once you get all these information you can start drawing…that can take three to four weeks…

Then you pass the catalogue finished with all details to the factory, once the patterns are made. The factory makes the samples and now we are ready to show to our customers from all around the world. we do fifteen to eighteen fairs per season and from the selling season we go to production time, that could take another three to four months until the stores would receive the goods to sell.. shoes

How many seasons ahead are you with your designing ? 

I finished summer 2013 a few months ago.  Right now for example, I am working on the fall 2013 /14 wich will be shown in fairs of early december through march and the shops will have it delivered by July / August.

Are all of your shoes handmade ? 

Yes. All shoes are hand made. even in China ! but of course the process we use here in Europe is more hands on and little details are watched carefully.

Which era’s do you draw inspiration from ?

I love the 30´s and 40´s because it was a very down to earth times and fashion was very utilitarian. Also enjoy the late 70´s and early 80´s for the fun and funky of disco and the explosion of youth. MG_06092

What would you say sets your style aside from other shoe brands ?

Comfort and the very personal style. I never look to what other brands are doing, I dont care. I only look and work for my never ending joy of  creating ! can´t allow myself being too comfortable or relaxed, I have to be hungry at all times !

Do you like to listen to music when working and if so what inspires you ?

Always ! music carries you to another state of mind…sometimes when I´m creating, I repeat the same cd over and over again…

With your shoes stocking in over a thousand stores worldwide now, this must keep you super busy! How do you relax when you get the time ?

I have three children (15, 13 and 11) and my husband, we do lots of things together. I have a very balanced life. I don´t live in a big city, we are sorrounded by mountains and the beach …we are in the mediterranean, its really nice.

But, I´m a very active person, I don´t know what´s relaxing and watching tv…never do that.

I take work on weekends and thats relaxing for me !

How long have you been designing wedding shoes as well ? They are stunning :)

Thanks ! I started wedding shoes four or five years ago…it was an easy choice, because my shoes are already romantic. Some clients would do the white combination and i decided to do it myself.

Could you give a bit of advice to new designers out there ?

You have to work hard on exploring your creativity. Develop techniques to get more original ideas and concepts. Don´t copy other designers! keep your personal integrity ! be original !

tomillo-tanasha-tamaia1

Good looking shoes designed by a very inspiring woman ! Thanks so much, Chie.

I love the fact that Chie focuses on her own idea’s and remains unique !   

You can follow Chie Mihara on Twitter – @ChieMiharaStore, become a fan on Facebook and see more designs right here.

All images copyright Chie Mihara 2012.

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Kitsch fabric, 50s dress… I’m in heaven…

dress1I just wanted to show you this simple little vintage style dress that I’ve just finished. The fabric has been sitting in my cupboard for over a year.. maybe slightly because I like it alot, I didn’t want to use it up on something that didn’t get plenty of airings ! Luckily there’s enough left to make something else with it too.  It’s a nice feeling, making things that I can keep and pass onto my little daughters ( they already have their eyes on half of my wardrobe ! ) and this fabric is great quality so it should last the test of time… I just wish I could remember where I bought it from, incase anyone likes it.. but I can’t, sorry !

The bodice is from a pattern, in fact the same one I used for the polka dot dress for my friend, Lou ( I’ve added a detachable bow too, similar to her dress ) But, the skirt, I had to cut out a rectangle of fabric for front and back and gather it as it just wasn’t wide enough for full circle. I really wish there were more fabrics with wider widths, because it would make dressmaking sooo much easier. I guess there is always the option of having a seam down the skirt front as well as the sides, but personally, I prefer a simpler look. The dress has a cream lining and I popped some netting left over from my wedding dress, onto the skirt to add some fullness. I really recommend chalk marking the lining of the skirt where you are about to sew the netting in before doing it, it can end up wonky otherwise and it’s a right old pavlova palaver !

Now, accessorizing this… hmmm….Dolly Dagger have a very pretty Tarina Tarantino lucite bead bracelet that would work really well with the dress ( hint hint Father Cwistmas ! )…

… and I love these Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Patchuli III wedge heels, also from Dolly Dagger

What do you think, bow or no bow ? Are you making anything 50s at the moment ?  Do you have a favourite dress that you’ll keep forever more ? Leave me a comment and tell me, tell me !! :)

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INSPIRE ME – with welovekaoru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a firm believer that a cup of tea tastes so much nicer in a cup and saucer – and perfect if it’s vintage inspired, beautiful, fine bone china. Like all of these pretty welovekaoru pieces, right before your eyes :)

Kaoru Parry established welovekaoru after graduating from Central St Martins College in London. She owns Shoreditch collective boutique  Luna and Curious “offering a cornucopia of finely rendered objects and clothing” as well as stocking her own full collection of tableware.

The ethos of welovekaoru is to preserve the traditional values of real craftsmanship and work closely with small independent family run potteries to produce their pieces exclusively in the United Kingdom.

I had a little chat with Kaoru recently….

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   What did you study at Central St Martins and would you recommend college if you want to become a designer ?

I studied BA Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. The course has great contacts with the industry and puts a lot of energy into preparing you for the real world. It also houses a great team of technicians and facilities to assist in the practical aspects of design and manufacture. Now that you have to pay so much for further education, I would make sure that the course is definitely right for you. Even look to other European countries as their fees are often lower.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs ?

Anything old inspire my designs. I like the way beautifully crafted objects were often made to an industrial scale yet each one by hand and by highly skilled artisans.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   I first spotted your teacups in Liberty London – did it take long before you were asked to stock in lots of prestigious stores ?

I was discovered by Liberty at my first trade show in 2009. They have been stocking my designs since.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Would you say your work is influenced by Japan ….. having been born there ? 

Sometimes. The Take range ( green bamboo design ) was a direct influence from a beautiful antique kimono. But it’s probably more our company philosophy that’s been influenced most by Japan. Our values of excellent craftsmanship and quality.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                      Can you talk me through your process from your initial ideas to production ?

Lots of research and development followed by sketches and maquettes. I have great relationships with the small family run potteries in Stoke where we develop new products together. It may take years to finally get a new product into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       Do you have a signature design ?

Not really but my ABC tea cups and mugs continue to be one of my best sellers.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Can you offer some advice for anyone reading this wanting to start a new brand ?

Work hard, do your research, understand business especially pricing, production and marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                            What are your welovekaoru’s plans for 2013 and beyond ?

I’m really excited about 2013 as I’m going to launch a new range of products that are not strictly tableware. I’m also looking forward to interesting collaborations and projects.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                         Thanks Kaoru ! Really elegant pieces, don’t you think ?..You can follow Kaoru’s store Luna and Curious on Twitter – @lunaandcurious or become a fan on Facebook.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway.. win a Janome Mega Tote Bag – it’s perfect for all of your sewing accessories !

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Giveaway – win a Janome Mega Tote bag for your sewing accessories CLOSED

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s giveaway time :)

The lovely people over at Janome, who as I am sure you already know make superb quality sewing machines and accessories, are very kindly giving one of their Mega Tote Bags worth £50 to one lucky LucyLovesYa winner !

I actually need one of these really badly myself – I didn’t know it until I discovered this bag, but I really do. Gone would be the days of chucking threads and fabrics into various holdalls, only to stumble across the poor discarded little things six months down the line ! I don’t know about you but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve ended up going and buying more bits and pieces because I can’t find them for love nor money !

To wet your appetite, here are details about the Janome Mega Tote bag:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Measuring 300mm x 290mm x 210mm and made from sturdy canvas, this handy “Tote Bag” will conveniently store all your sewing threads, haberdashery and quilting needs in one easy accessible place. There are so many handy pockets that you will have no problem finding a place for everything – 2 small Velcro pockets on each side, one large single pocket on the back and a zipped front pocket. The tote zips down at the front to reveal 6 plastic storage boxes, measuring 270mm x 170mm x 40mm, three of which have dividers that can be moved to suit your needs.

The Mega Tote Bag has a comfort rubber grip handle and comes complete with an adjustable carrying strap.                                                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s not to love, eh ?

To enter this giveaway – you have to do just three things:

This giveaway is now closed

1. Sign up to LucyLovesYa ( top of my blog page on the right hand side ) to receive occasional giveaway news and updates 

2. Tweet or Facebook this quote ( you can use the button below this post ):

“I’ve just entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win a Janome Mega Tote bag worth £50 – www.lucylovesya.com”

3. Leave me a comment under this post telling me why you’d like to win – and to validate your entry

You’re done ! The winner will be picked at random on Monday 12th November at 7pm.

T’s and C’s

This is open to UK entrants only – more International giveaways coming really soon

P & P supplied by Janome

Only one entry per person

No cash or alternative prize offered

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INSPIRE ME – with Jennie Maizels

Today I have an ‘Inspire Me’ interview for you with a very talented woman.

Jennie Maizels is a well established illustrator who has had sixteen children’s books published to date. You’d think this would have her kept fully occupied considering each book can take a year to complete, yet, Jennie also has a line of furnishing fabrics with Linwood, stationery ranges and also a great collection of embroidered iron on fabric plasters ( I can personally vouch for these as a really big hit with the kids ! :) )

Did you come from an artistic background ?

Yes I did, my parents met at Chelsea school of art, my mother is an illustrator and photographer and my father is a fine artist. Together they run the art magazine ‘Raw Vision‘ an international journal about Outsider Art.

I was bought up without a TV and my parents spent alot of time drawing and painting with me, it was a very creative childhood !

What did you study at St Martin’s College ? 

My degree was in Graphic design but you were given options after the first year and I chose to specialise in Illustration.

I think St Martins has changed alot, I was there nearly 20 years ago and as far as I can remember there really wasn’t much teaching. We were left pretty much to our own devices. Although at the time frustrating, I think as an illustrator being left to ‘fend for oneself’ and not be too influenced or guided makes it is easier to develop your own personal style and in a very unselfconscious way.

Who and what inspired you to become an illustrator ?

As I was growing up I never thought I would be anything else to be honest. It may well have been ‘Hobson’s choice’ as I wasn’t particularly academic and there were no other subjects at school I felt so passionately about.

I loved watching my mother draw with her coloured pencils. I was fascinated by their colours and how pointy she kept them.

My Grandparents lived in Geneva and always gave me tins of perfect Caran D’ache pencils which I would literally wear out.

For my 16th birthday my parents gave me a beautiful huge box of Prismacolor pencils. Over 200 colours. I opened it on Christmas morning and after staring at them for over an hour, I started copying a William Morris design and didn’t stop until Boxing Day night.

I can honestly say that my obsession with coloured pencils lead me ( no pun intended ! ) to become an illustrator. I knew they had to become the tools of my trade.

As far as inspirations from other artists, apart from my parents, I have always adored Fornasetti, I love how he covers literally everything with his illustrations, from plates and fabrics to furniture. I found this incredibly inspirational, it made me think that the work of illustrators shouldn’t be confined to flat surfaces and could be used on all manner of objects which are usually just adorned with print and pattern.

You have worked on sixteen children’s 3D ( pop up ) books over your career so far. The illustrations are really detailed – how long does each page take ?

A particularly complicated page of a pop-up book can take me up to 3 months. The final spread of The Global Garden Book comprises of a big bunch of symbolic or ‘useful’ flowers and is stupidly detailed. My studio was full of glorious bunches of extraordinary blooms, however, 6 weeks into the artwork and the flowers were all droopy and revolting, my children wouldn’t enter the room on account of the horrid smell !

In my recent Pop-Up London book, there is a small flap ( which many may miss ) revealing a cross section of Piccadilly underground section. It took me a whole weekend to draw and the image in the book is the same size as the artwork ( really really small )

Some single pages can total as much as 20 pages of artwork as there may be wheels, layers, flaps and big pop ups with the reverse artwork for the 3-D pieces too. A book will take on average a whole year to complete.

I love your line of furnishing fabrics for Linwood – are the prints taken from your book images at all ?

The wonderful thing about my fabric deigns for Linwood was that I had completely free range. I came to them with ‘mood boards’ expecting to go away and rework and elaborate, but instead they just said “yup” to each design and I started artwork straight away.

The images themselves were a mix of my most successful Clothes Plasters designs and a completely fresh think about what I thought would make great kids fabric. The Keep Out, Control Freak and Dream Room designs were originally designed as wallpaper, which I really hope one day to be able to do for them. They were all completed with the same coloured pencils though…

Will you be producing more fabric prints in the future ?

I would love to. I would really like to design a range of slightly more ‘grown up’ fabrics, something I have discussed with Linwood, but it’s up to them, I have a sketchbook full of fabric ideas ready and waiting !

Can they be purchased on your website ?

Yes all the fabrics, cushions, Clothes Plasters and stationery can be bought from the shop on our website www.jenniemaizels.com it’s free post and we even gift wrap them for you !

Your wonderful boys and girls fabric plasters make perfect stocking fillers – how did you come up with the idea for them ? 

I have two ( now not so ) little girls who are real Tomboys. I was always so upset when their pretty tights and dresses got holes in them. I am no sewer and even if the holes were darned the fabric hung oddly, especially their stripy tights ! So I tried to buy some small attractive motifs to cover the holes. I discovered there really wasn’t anything out there apart from nasty brands or plain patches.

It took us over a year to find a supplier who could replicate my artwork, we were so delighted when we saw how beautifully embroidered they were and what perfect colours they had chosen.

We now have themed sets as well as single patches and I am working on new designs as I speak.

 

JMWith your vast experience – could you offer any advice to illustrators/designers ?

Gosh ! What advice would I give ? Definitely never ever give up, if I had a pound for every ‘nearly life changing’, exciting project that fell through… So important to learn to pick yourself up and keep going. Be doggedly determined too, I remember doing massive mail-outs after graduating and spending hours making follow up calls and then traipsing round London for weeks with my portfolio.

Make your ‘voice’ heard above the rest, send out samples not just emails and target your publisher/art director thoroughly, researching the types of illustrations usually commissioned and make sure your style is compatible.

One sound piece of advice if you are keen to show your work to a children’s book publisher, do not think that you need a story. Editors have hundreds of writers waiting for suitable artists and they may think that you are wedded to the writer of the story or to your own text, let your illustration speak for itself….

2013 is on it’s way… what’s coming up for you ?

We are launching two new sets of Clothes Plasters, more stationery and even a range of mugs. I am also just about to start on another major pop-up book with Walker Books to be published in September 2014, so I’d better go and sharpen some more pencils…

Thanks so much to Jennie.  Some brilliant advice for new illustrators.

I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed for ‘grown up’ fabric prints with Linwood soon ! Do you love her designs too ?

You can find out more about Jennie at her website – www.jenniemaizels.com. Become a facebook fan or follow her on Twitter – @jenniemaizels.

All images copyright Jennie Maizels 2012.

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Fabric Yard giveaway ! Win 10 fat quarters and a pack of self cover buttons..CLOSED

 

Hot on the heels of my first tutorial post yesterday on how to make a gathered skirt in which I used some really unique Alexander Henry buddha fabric, I am starting a new giveaway here today….

The winner will not only receive this fabric bundle courtesy of www.fabricyard.co.uk consisting of ten fat quarters ( equivalent of two and a half metres ) with a mix of quilting and home decor weight – there is also a pack of self cover buttons included.

I have bought some really gorgeous fabric from Alice at Fabric Yard recently, designers such as Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman and some cute Japanese imports at good prices – I particularly love the fact that delivery within the UK is only £1 however much you order :)

Fabric Yard also sell bag handles and self cover metal buttons.

 To enter this Giveaway you need to do just a few things:

1. Make sure you are following both @FabricYard and @lucylovesyablog on Twitter and are fans on facebook:

Fabric Yard

LucyLovesYa

2. Tweet or facebook this quote:

I’ve entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win a @FabricYard fabric bundle & self cover buttons! www.lucylovesya.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
3. Leave me a comment under this post letting me know you have done so and to validate your entry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
All done – thanks for entering !
                                                                                                                                              This will run for one week and a winner will be picked at random on Monday 29th October at 7pm.
T’s & C’s
Postage supplied by Fabric Yard
No cash alternative offered
This is open to both UK and overseas entries
                                                                                                                                        Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

My good books…


photo3I have been a little out of action this week, due to a very odd virus indeed – ( me not my blog )…. so, have been busy working my way through some of my favourite design and fashion books.

As much as I love the internet, there is something especially warming about losing yourself in lots of inspiring pages. To know also that they can be passed on to generations to come is really satisfying. I’d happily hang out in a book store all day if I could, perusing and and reading.

There are so many design titles out there, it’s hard to know without reading first which are going to fulfill you. If you have any particular ones that you could recommend to me, please do !….

Here are my current top few…..

The Dressmakers Technique Bible by Lorna Knight is a brilliant little book to keep at your side for reference. This was actually my bedtime read for a while ( I know, I need to get out more.. :) ).

The V & A Golden Age of Couture by Claire Wilcox has some breathtaking images inside as well “celebrating a decade in fashion history”. It’s perfect if you’re interested in the illustrations and workmanship behind a selection of all time famous couture styles.

I get a huge amount of inspiration from Japan. This Japanese Street Style book by Pat Lyttle is full of colour and kitsch fashion style photo’s of cutting edge looks. It’s fascinating if you love anything Harajuku or love the magazine FRUITS. It also looks at their history and how their fashion culture now takes much inspiration from british designers such as Alexander McQueen.

Forties Fashion by Jonathan Walford is a book stacked with 250 images from the 40s era, focusing on the ‘make do and mend’ approach to clothing due to rationing as well as how the second world war shaped this decades fashion. Lots of pics from styles across the globe. A really good read.

I can’t live without Winifred Aldrich’s ‘metric pattern cutting for women’s wear’ – if you are thinking of doing any designing – get this book !

Vivienne Westwood is my favourite designer. She’s smart, talented beyond belief and has the most incredible understanding of fashion when it comes to flattering the human form. So, this V & A book, again by Claire Wilcox is right up my street. It’s about her time in fashion and lots of photo shoots and catwalk pics.

Do you have any books you’d like to recommend ? Please leave a comment or tweet – @lucylovesyablog if you do as I would love to hear from you….

Oh, and don’t forget my giveaway ( below ) – it ends on Wednesday at 7pm !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Celebrity Photographer – Steve Neaves

It’s not everyday that you get to interview a long standing friend, but today I am, for ‘Inspire Me’.

Steve Neaves, a London based professional photographer, has worked with a truly diverse collection of people. Phenomenally talented ( rather modest ) and with an amazing eye for detail, his career in media spans two decades.

Recent well known clients include Ray Winstone, The Killers and Jonathan Ross.

I am really excited to be sharing some of Steve’s images with you today.

What inspired you to become a photographer ? 

Basically it was an accident, I was Art directing a magazine and we ran out of budget one month, so the editor suggested I shot a few features. People liked the work and I got commissioned to shoot a big campaign.

So I resigned – two days later the campaign was cancelled and I had no job !

Have you always worked in the world of media ?

I started off as an engineer in my dads business – didn’t enjoy that so went into graphic design, which was exciting as Desktop publishing had just taken off.

How did you develop your unique style ? 

It just evolved over time – I like unusual images, I always get asked to set fire to stuff, which is great as I like to set fire to stuff !

You have worked with lots of well known actors, musicians and models to date –  just recently, Ray Winstone, The Killers and Tinie Tempah. Are they ever involved in the creative process ?

Most of them just dont have the time, although you certainly find out when they dont like something, and its always on the shoot when its usually too late to do anything about it.

From the initial photo shoot, how do you reach your finished image ?

I try to do most of it ‘in camera’ as opposed to photoshop – I love photoshop, but if you rely on it then things look very ‘photoshopped’. For instance my shot of Jonathan Ross with the car above his head we did for real.

We got it suspended from the ceiling on cables by two fearless professional rock climbers. It was insane !!

Your partner Zoe McConnell is also a photographer – do you ever get to work together on projects ?

We have often thought of it too as our styles are very different and would compliment each other – we just havent had the opportunity really.

What is the best thing about working as a freelancer ?

Not having to go to an office everyday….

…and the biggest challenge ?

Everyone says being self employed is great as you are the boss, well in my line of work every client is a boss, so you end up with lots and lots of bosses !!

What is happening in the near future for you ?

I have a few things in the pipeline – which due to client confidentiality I cant talk about right now. But should be good.

I love Steve’s unique photography style and use of colour. Cool, huh ?

If you’d like to know more about his work or check out more images – here is the website www.steveneavesphotography.com and you can also follow on Twitter – @steveneaves72 :)

All images copyright of Steve Neaves photography 2012.

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Fabric Rehab fat quarter bundle winner…

Time to announce who has won this wonderful 12 fat quarter bundle courtesy of Fabric Rehab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winner is Susanna Prouse – I will be in touch and your fabric bundle will be on its way soon. Thanks so much to Fabric Rehab for sponsoring this and to all of you who took the time to enter.

There will be more giveaways here on my blog really very soon so keep a look out.

I have spent a good while perusing the Fabric Rehab shop today and want to show off a few of my absolute favourite prints on their site at the moment…

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also have some gorgeous Christmas prints ( these are just three of many )…

 

 

 

 

 

There are literally hundreds that I could’ve posted, including some very eye catching colours in plain fabric too but I guess you can hop on over to their site if you fancy, to have a butchers… www.fabricrehab.co.uk

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INSPIRE ME – with Wilbur & Gussie

If ever there’s a brand that warrants plenty of female attention …. it is Wilbur & Gussie. Design duo, Brett Tyne and Lucy Lyons, combine stunning vibrant fabrics and prints with vintage inspired brooches to create beautiful, elegant clutch bags – and also accessories.

You may have spotted their pieces being worn recently by Kate and Pippa Middleton, Tulisa, Alesha Dixon, Mollie King and in dozens of publications including Grazia, Marie Claire, The Guardian… and worn by Pippa Middleton,

What I really love about Wilbur & Gussie is that they create such chic, timeless handbags that last a lifetime, and yet you don’t have to pay the earth to own one.

I’ve been a fan of Brett and Lucy’s brand for some time now, so am very pleased to be sharing todays Wilbur & Gussie ‘Inspire Me’ interview with you…

How did you two meet ?

We met at  school and have remained close friends over the years.

Did you both train in design ?  

Neither one of us has actually had any formal training but we are both creative people.   We have always had a mutual interest in art, design and fashion, namely accessories.

How do you make a business work as a duo ?  

We have different styles but we like one another’s taste in everything.  Although we are instinctively drawn to different materials, we agree on every collection. Patience and compromise are important. We don’t always see eye to eye but this can be seen as a positive to a working relationship  as we are constantly challenging one another.

Your bags are clearly inspired by vintage – do you have a favourite era and why ?   

We tend to be drawn to the late 1920’s – early 40’s. The 1930’s was the decade of the clutch.  Women’s accessories were incredibly elegant and beautifully crafted. Bags were worn, not carried, and this is something we love. We believe evening bags should be show-stoppingly beautiful, just like a piece of  jewellery.

I love that you have named each character after your childhood pets and also notice that you support The Tusk Charity – Are you both animal lovers ?  

Yes, we are both huge animal lovers. We chose to support Tusk Trust because elephants feature so strongly in our collections.

Personally, I could study your clutch bags all day, they are so gorgeous – how did you come up with such a winning combination formula ? :)…  

We saw a niche in the market for affordable clutch bags that won’t break the bank. The fabrics are inspired by our love of prints, and the jewelled brooches are from our love of vintage jewellery.

Is there a particular material that you like to work with the most ?

We are currently working with velvet and loving it! We started off using only 100% silks but have diversified over the years.

Do you have a current best seller ?  

Our signature “Charlie” bag is always a best seller and is what we launched the brand with. The ‘Edith’ is the slightly larger version and is rapidly catching up with the Charlie

  

What have been your biggest highs so far for Wilbur Gussie ? 

We get a high every season when the new collection comes in from the factory. Taking on new wholesale customers is always a big excitement, and every online order we receive is a little thrill. It is very rewarding to know that people want to buy the bags.

You have some lovely belts and cuffs on your site – are you moving into designing lots of accessories too ?  

We are currently concentrating on developing a leather range  for next season, but accessories is next in line !

Could you offer a few words of advice and some inspiration for any new designers reading this ?  

Believe in your product, work hard and get as much advice from people in business as possible.

What is happening for Wilbur & Gussie in the near future?

We are  continuing to develop our evening bag line and preparing to launch our first day bag collection next year. We’re working on expanding the brand internationally and hopefully our own shop is in the not too distant future !

Thanks very much to Brett and Lucy for sharing their inspirations. Do you love their designs too ?

You can become a fan of Wilbur & Gussie on Facebook or follow them on Twitter – and they also have a blog.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

All images copyright Wilbur & Gussie 2012.