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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with fashion designer Lu Flux

Katia Bololia interviews ethical fashion designer Lu Flux, 'London's newest one to watch' and finds out there's a good reason why...

Written by Katia Bololia


Christopher Raeburn S/S 2014 by Lilly Allen

There’s no stopping Christopher Raeburn. In 2010, website like this he was the first designer to be awarded the now lauded NEWGEN sponsorship; in 2011 he was named ‘Emerging Designer‘ at the British Fashion Awards. His unique ‘remade’ aesthetic has propelled him to fashion fame and his collections become stronger and stronger with each outing.


All photography by Matt Bramford

S/S 2014 was no exception. Presented in the basement of Victoria House, the bashed white tiles and right-angle catwalk fitted Christopher’s season like no other I saw during the collections.

This season’s inspiration began with the World War II faction the Long Range Desert Group; a reconnaissance organisation operating in the harsh conditions of the Libyan and Egyptian deserts. Yet again, the Raeburn Empire translates a military movement into a modern and functional collection.

The show opened with a pocketed parka and totally unique bomber featuring a heady digital print. I’ve since read on the press release that this is in fact satellite imagery of the desert; the former also featured the print on shorts, the latter was teamed with sand jersey joggers. Both looks set an early precedent that was to continue throughout this mind-blowing homage to textures and details.

Later came Raeburn‘s inimitable REMADE jackets, this time around in camouflage sheets and sand-coloured military parachutes, further extending his dedication to fabrics old and new. Raeburn‘s expertise lies in functional outerwear, and army green jackets with camo details and padded bombers with grey sleeves had me sliding off my seat.

It wasn’t all sand and archetypical desert colours, though. Oh no. Muted pinks used for jackets and shorts reflected the colour of LRDG Land Rovers; bright blue jackets were a welcome juxtaposition and a playful lizard print, this season’s mascot, reminded us that with Raeburn‘s functionality also comes fun.

Enormous rucksacks were presented in collaboration with Porter bags in a range of shapes, lending themselves to long distance explorations. These came in a variety of aesthetic fabrics; some were an extension of the garment they were clinging on to while others complimented such: take sand lizard-print rucksack matched with a jersey/mesh combo sweater.

There was so much more to this collection: tailored blazers reworked the satellite print, mesh tops were layered over tees, a belted trench provided a highlight and the finale; a translucent cape worn over the rucksack, provided press material while still managing to be coherent.


Christopher Raeburn S/S 2014 by Lilly Allen

It was brilliantly exhausting and I can’t wait to dream about buying it all up.


Matt Bramford is the son of a coal miner and Miss Butlins 1979. A fan of fashion from an early age, more about Matt could be found sporting Spring/Summer 1988′s pastel pallette on Blackpool’s glorious sands, being told off carrying his matching bucket and spade in the crook of his arm.

When not designing layouts featuring Stacey Slater or Ronnie Mitchell or, erm, Stacey Slater, at Britain’s favourite TV magazine, he’s usually chained to his desk replying to emails or editing pictures. He takes a hot snap and is a massive fan of Autostitch and Hipstamatic for iPhone, although he gets the occasional pang of guilt for cheating with the latter.

If you want to know what he had for breakfast this morning, find him on twitter @mattbramf. If you want to see some of said ‘hot snaps’ you can here.

Thanks!

Matt Bramford is the son of a coal miner and Miss Butlins 1979. A fan of fashion from an early age, viagra sale Matt could be found sporting Spring/Summer 1988′s pastel pallette on Blackpool’s glorious sands, being told off carrying his matching bucket and spade in the crook of his arm.

When not designing layouts featuring Stacey Slater or Ronnie Mitchell or, erm, Stacey Slater, at Britain’s favourite TV magazine, he’s usually chained to his desk replying to emails or editing pictures. He takes a hot snap and is a massive fan of Autostitch and Hipstamatic for iPhone, although he gets the occasional pang of guilt for cheating with the latter.

If you want to know what he had for breakfast this morning, find him on twitter @mattbramf. If you want to see some of said ‘hot snaps’ you can here.

Thanks!

Illustration by Jenny Robins

Lu Flux is one of the most interesting new British ethical fashion labels and one of the highlights in this year’s Estethica exhibition at London Fashion Week. Katia Bololia meets her in her studio at the industrial end of East London to talk about her latest collection, this ‘Dame and Knight’, information pills ethical fashion and taking life less seriously.

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your journey in the fashion world so far.
I graduated from the Edinburgh School of Art at 2006 and did my first collection for Glasgow Fashion Week, then went on to work with German fashion designer Bernhard Willhelm in Paris. I made the decision to move to London and at first I was doing commissions for other people, I hadn’t fully committed myself to fashion at the time until a friend of mine opened a gallery at Brick Lane and I put myself down for a show, so that put me into gear to make a collection for October 2008. That body of work I created eventually led me to the Vauxhaul Fashion Scout Show, which kicked off my career.

From then it escalated, leading to London Fashion Week’s Estethica Exhibition. Tell us about that experience.
It was really good, I hadn’t been to Estethica before and at first I didn’t know what to expect. There were all of the designers I’ve met before and it was nice because it felt like we were this strange ethical family, I’ve also met lots of people that I’ve heard about and wanted to meet personally. It was really lovely to be part of it and it was very exciting for me to be part of the LFW, I’ve never been in such a place before where I could meet people from all around the world.

What are the things that interest you in general?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time for myself but when I don’t do fashion I am very interested in art, galleries and culture mainly; music, films and everything. I like getting away to the countryside as well, escaping from it all.

When it comes to your label, do you have a fashion manifesto and if so what is it?
I read Vivienne’s Westwood manifesto recently and I suppose mine is very similar to hers, in the idea of buying something for longevity. I am also against disposable fashion. I think we should buy something because we love it and because it reflects our personality. I feel that all of my things transcend this message, to be loved for a long time.

There is a very interesting story when it comes to your fabrics, can you tell us where you source your fabrics from?
I used to source everything from charity and vintage shops, car boot sales and markets myself. Although I loved it, it is quite a difficult process as it takes up a lot of time and effort. I can’t commit myself to doing that anymore so I started working with a recycling company that is actually around the corner from my studio. These are fabrics coming from clothing banks from all around London, I may get fabric pieces, sheets or even clothes that I will take apart. The amount of waste that gets thrown every day is phenomenal and I am happy that I can make new, exciting pieces of it.

During that process, do you have difficulties sometimes finding the right thing for you? Or the opposite – finding a “small treasure” ?
Definitely, one piece of fabric can spark off a completely different design angle. I try not to have a specific design idea in my head, I prefer to see what I can get first and develop my designs from that; it helps the design process. If I can’t find something that I have in my mind, something else will come along and take its place. I also work with organic fabrics – the variety that’s out there is getting so much bigger these days and more accessible.

Speaking of organic, and its growth nowadays, I sometimes wonder if when companies take the eco route (whether it be fashion or food or whatever) they do so just because it has become fashionable. Although it all contributes to the greater good, do you feel that in some way ethical fashion has become commercial?
Green is definitely a buzz-word at the moment and everybody, be it in the fashion industry or not, tries to become as ethical as possible. I am not necessarily coming from that angle, even though I obviously care a lot about what I do and how it affects the environment, there is just too much waste and that affects everyone. But for me it’s more about the final garment than the ethical process; the fact that these pieces are unique, they’re more like art pieces.

In your collections we see an almost fairy-tale world. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I have a personal collection of vintage photographs that I like to I look at. I love this time when photography was just starting and you get these moments frozen in time. Right now everyone uses photography all the time, capturing every moment, but back then you only see a fraction of their life and you have to imagine for yourself what their world might have been like. Obviously, I am also influenced by fairy-tales and their magical feeling; the escape from reality. Fashion is so intense, serious and glamorous and I want to take another spin on it, to keep it quite child-like and fun.

By seeing your collections past and present, one gets into a playful mood. Do you think that fashion is a protest these days, like it used to be in the past?
I think everyone’s got their point that they’re trying to make. My point is that you can have fun while making your point, it doesn’t all have to be serious. I want people to realize that they can have fun in whatever they’re doing and that humour can be injected in everything. Everything is so serious nowadays, fast-forward and busy.

For your last collection you’ve collaborated with London-based artist Alex Chinneck and traditional cordwainers Green Shoes. Tell us a little about that collaboration.
It was easy collaborating with Alex – he’s not only a wonderful sculptor but also my boyfriend! He had this paper cut-out of an explosion called Ka-boom and we both came up with the idea of translating it into a piece of clothing. It is a wonderful pictorial piece and it was also a real test for my patch-working abilities – it was really technical and much more complicated than I thought it would be, so it was really rewarding when it was finished. Then with Green Shoes, it all started when I bought a pair for Alex’s birthday and I decided to customise them for him, so it all unfolded with what I did and we decided to have them in the collection and a bag as well. They are all made of vegetarian leather and tanned with vegetable dye, so they’re as ethical as a shoe can be. Also, the cut-outs I used are off-cuts from the leftovers from Green Shoes to reduce waste once again.


Illustration by Jenny Robins

Finally, an urban fashion legend says that Tom Ford offered Stella McCartney the role of design director at Gucci. When McCartney said no fur or leather, and Ford couldn’t oblige, she turned down the role. What would you do in a similar dilemma, in a fantastic scenario where you are offered a dream job but you have to compromise your principles in ethical fashion?
Actually, I’m doing my dream job already! I don’t want to buy fabric off the roll, I have to think within these parameters and I like the barriers that I have put to myself, otherwise it is not ethical. This way I push myself to do something a little bit extra, it’s not as easy because all these fabrics are not given to me on a plate. When you are more resourceful and you push yourself creatively then the final result is much more rewarding. I don’t want to preach to people, but I want to plant an idea. If people like it they might be inspired and follow my example. Fingers crossed!


Lu Flux photographed by Holly Falconer

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6 Responses to “An interview with fashion designer Lu Flux”

  1. susanrdavis says:

    These are more than fun!

  2. Catherine says:

    Those fabrics are actually making drool just a little bit..!

  3. beatriz says:

    These fabrics are terrific

  4. An Helea says:

    I love your dresses

  5. Ashleigh says:

    Really enjoyed this interview and the pictures are great!!
    Lu Flux is one of the designers we are tracking for LFW AW11.
    http://www.fashion156.com/blog.php?entry=2593&issue=36

    Ashleigh, FASHION156

  6. Amelia says:

    oh get Fashion 156 hopping on the comments section to promote their blog… I hope you guys are coming to the launch of my new ethical fashion book!

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