Good morning Chit Chat Tuesday readers! Last week, we took a bit of a breather but not too worry as we are glad to say that we are back for more chinwagging! I hope you all enjoyed the glorious sunshine this weekend! Who needs Barbados when you have these beautiful rays hey? Could we say that summer is now officially on its way? I hope so…
This week we have got Kate Law on the show chatting to us not only her background in the fashion industry but also about her funky brand ‘La Loi’ leggings which I am beyond in love with!
I know we always start off with the same question but I think it’s good to get to know our guest a little bit before we dive in for the plunge!
So Kate, first of all thank you so much for coming on to CCT Tuesday today! Let’s start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself and your background…
Since graduating from art school I have always been in the fashion industry, working in magazines etc. I’m really lucky as my background has given me access to a lot of resources which has allowed me to develop long term relationships with contributors.
Each subsequent collection will incorporate a collaborative piece within its theme. Illustrators, photographers and typographers will be amongst future collaborators.
How did you get involved in fashion?
I have always been interested in fashion but it all began when I started working for the ‘Face’ straight after college working and developing the designs. It was a great vehicle to be experimental with typography and therefore a good place to train!
The fashion and style publications generally had a stronger sense of aesthetic which is what firstly attracted me. However, I also found that it helped to have a passion as well as an understanding of your product. Especially, when it comes to commissioning photographers!
There are magazines that might be beautifully designed and challenging creatively but if you don’t connect with the content you become less inspired.
I understand you worked for Vogue and Elle! How did those opportunities come about?
It was just a natural progression really. It was through people I knew and hung out with at the time.
So what then made you go in to childrenswear and start up your own brand after working at two of the biggest fashion publications?
It was after having kids! I recognised that there was a gap in the market based on my own requirements.
I really enjoy the process. The design process is 100 times simpler as the production process can be a world of pain. It takes up 95% of my time and it’s hard being dependant on so many suppliers.
Manufacturing in the UK is an incredible challenge but it was something I desperately wanted to do. It’s so important to learn a process from end to end and build up relationships with everyone that you rely on.
Being able to drive up north to the factory or printers at a moments notice enables me to stay hands which is something that I find very important.
It also helps me to have a career as well as being present as a mum in terms of time. I still work for Vogue but on individual publications but this means working for intense periods. I enjoy it but I like the way I can step away and return with a fresh approach which is perfect. If I did either motherhood or a job full time I’m not sure I’d be good at either of them!
We are sure that, that isn’t the case! So where did the name La Loi come from?
My name. La Loi means The Law! I also liked it because less literal [at least here] and I like the way it looks in print.
Can you tell us a little bit about La Loi…
It is a product line, debuted as an exclusive capsule collection of digitally printed leggings, designed and made in England. I wanted to create an accessible and universal brand that was unisex and didn’t patronise children’s taste.
I am a huge fan of the designs! But out of everything you could have gone in to why specifically leggings?
I like the format as it offers no constraints in terms of print, but in other ways they are restrictive which I also like. I have to be more resourceful and work harder in order to stand out and I like the challenge that, that offers. The focus is very much on the images than the shape.
As a mother of boys with a strong fashion and design background, I recognised a gap in the market. Pip and Bruno used to attend a circus school at weekends and I would send them in crazy coloured and garish patterned leggings – normally reserved for girls – when they were young enough not to argue! But I was frustrated that colours and patterns were predominantly girly. I got bored of talking about it and decided to just do it.
My boys and their friends wear them constantly but the elder and more conservative kids wear them under football shorts, ripped jeans, for PE etc. They are light and you can pack 10 pairs to go camping or on holiday without the need to pack much else. They wash really well which every parent wants and are unbelievable comfortable.
That’s a winning combination I’d say! Where does your inspiration come from as a designer?
With the brand, I’m inspired by what I find lacking in the market more than by other designs. I think there are voids in the childrenswear market. I’m the same with my own clothes! I have a very definite idea of what I like and what I want to wear! If I find a brand in tune with that, I tend to not stray!
What other projects are you working on as well as La Loi?
I work on magazines but the brand is taking more and more of my time. I’m currently looking at packaging possibilities as well as sweats, Tee’s and Teens so It’s growing all the time which is both exciting and crazy at the same time!
What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
Starting a new brand is extremely hard and there are many risks involved which can be out of your control. I experienced some rejection early on as certain retailers and departments were subject to changes in direction. Despite incredible sell throughs and overwhelming enthusiasm, you can be dropped after the first season as they redirect and re format the department meaning eliminating smaller collections or newer brands. Those decisions can come from above but it knocked my confidence on a couple of occasions. However, I understand that it’s all about establishing you niche and position in the market. The big old cliche ‘one door closes, another opens’ is so so true.
In the long term I have benefitted in redirection. You have to keep the faith and never take it personally!
I’m with you on that one Kate! Throughout your career, what’s the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on?
Definitely this one! I like the creative, freedom and being able to work at my own pace.
Production can be a frustrating process as well as being dependant on different people and suppliers. But when I’m driving up to Leicester and Nottingham at 6 in the morning and rushing back for the school run, I’m doing it for me and no-one else – so it’s okay!
I also love the idea that it can potentially go anywhere and the possibilities are endless.
I think Gwen Stefani’s kids would wear them v well! That kind of publicity is not my priority but obviously it helps in terms of brand awareness.
In reality, people like the reassurance it gives. I always think that if you sell out in one way, it buys you creative freedom in others and with that opportunity to be more experimental. But in all honesty, I get the biggest thrill from seeing them around where I live and on my kids friends kids. They are all huge advocates.
There’s nothing like seeing something you’ve created on a bus or in an everyday context.
Can you tell us anything about the AW14 collection – what can we look forward to?
There’s a Vegas theme as well as a lot of neon, lights, black roses and pinballs! PLUS my collaboration with artist Rob Clarke who has done me hand drawn sex pistols lyrics which are unbelievable. They are not explicit obviously but more of a reference. That said, perhaps a less commercial piece! I would definitely say that it is my most exciting collection yet.
Where can individuals buy La Loi leggings?
They are available to buy from my online website at: www.laloi.co.uk
Lead department stores such as Selfridges, Harrods, Kidsen etc. Or overseas in Paris, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Denmark, Kuwait, Beirut.
I have also just gotten back from NYC as I took samples over there for a very exciting meet! So what this space…
We shall be keeping everything crossed for you Kate! As you know, I am a huge fan and I can see why they are being received so well by the public! Thank you so much for joining us today on CCT! I can’t wait to see the new collection and I think I may need to get myself a pair of the ol La Loi leggings! I suggest the rest of you do the same!
Join me next week for some more chinwagging! Have a fabulous week <3 Kate –x