Fashion designer Lauren Barfoot to launch her own collection
- Credit: Archant
Having worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, textile and fashion designer Lauren Barfoot is about to launch her own collection. Chris Low met up with Lauren to find out how the county she grew up inspires her designs
Lauren Barfoot studied art and textile at Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester before embarking on a career as a textile and fashion designer. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2011, Lauren has won numerous awards for her textile designs and worked with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Zandra Rhodes and high street names such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer. These days she splits her time between her design studio in London and working as a visiting tutor at Arts University Bournemouth where she teaches professional development and textile design. This month she launches her first fashion collection under her new label Holland Street.
When did you know that you wanted to be a textile designer?
I’ve always been creative. In middle school I worked with furnishing fabrics and painting, and my interest in textiles grew from there. Also growing up in Dorset, with its vivid natural environment, helped to inspire me and still does. Often when I’m in Dorset I take photos of the landscape and use them in my floral print designs. First hand research is always more inspiring!
You have interned for many big names including Thierry Mugler and Alexander McQueen. How did this experience benefit you?
It helped me to be more professional in my work and attitude, and gave me a better understanding of the expectations placed on a designer. I also learned a lot about the hierarchy within the industry and it improved my knowledge of trends within the profession.
You went onto run the textile department for Zandra Rhodes, what was that like? It was very challenging but also tremendously rewarding. It was great to be working for such a prestigious company, and I gained a valuable insight into the industry, all of which really boosted my confidence.
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You’re about to launch your own brand Holland Street. What we can expect from this new collection?
It’s a luxury loungewear brand featuring contemporary kimonos and loose fitting robes made in 100% pure silk and all completely manufactured in the UK using minimal waste processes. As a specialised textile designer my main focus is on the fabrics, so I design the intricate prints to fit the garment styles rather than printing repeating lengths.
How important are sustainable work practices to you?
It is very important. I try to implement policies such as reduced waste, and shorter production runs. I also try to source fabric that is made in the UK.
You are also a visiting lecturer at the Arts University Bournemouth, teaching on the BA Textiles course. What is the best part about this job?
I really enjoy encouraging a new generation of designers and giving back to the community in some way. I also like providing the students with industry contacts, finding them someone who is working within the profession, and offering the benefit of their insight.
What is your opinion of the current British fashion scene?
When it comes to fashion Britain’s unique selling point has always been about innovation, with an emphasis on new designers. As the industry becomes more global, we need to continue developing new talent, in order to keep ideas fresh and original.
So how can encourage more young people to work in British fashion? A variety of creative courses need to be offered in schools and colleges, and more information and encouragement given to those who might be considering a career in the industry. Creating better links with larger successful brands will give students more confidence to follow their creative passion through internships and experiences. For example whilst running the textile department for Zandra Rhodes I offered over 100 students the chance to see what it was like to work in a design studio.
Do you have any advice for aspiring young designers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Training to be a textile designer is a lengthy process, and requires a lot of determination and focus. If you want to follow this route you will need to keep constantly updated about trends in the industry, and realise that it is not only fast-paced, but also highly competitive. However, being a textile designer can also be extremely rewarding and fun.
Work for Lauren Barfoot
Lauren is currently recruiting for freelance seamstresses based in Dorset. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more of Lauren Barfoot’s collection visit holland-street.com