Today, the BUST Magazine Craftacular London will host the 'Sustainable Fashion Boobtique' featuring designers like Lu Flux, Goodone and Here Today, Here Tomorrow . Come along to York Hall on Sunday to meet the designers themselves and shop their archive and sample sales for stylish Christmas gifts-or a little something for yourself!
We had a chat with designer Lu Flux about slow fashion, sustainability and tradition.
BUST: Do you think fashion designers have a responsibility to be making their work sustainable?
LU: I think everyone who runs a business should be thinking sustainably- not just in fashion and art and creative activities but in any business; it's our responsibility as human beings to be as sustainable as possible. I don't think there should be 'sustainable fashion' and 'non-sustainable fashion'- everyone should be under the same umbrella, all working sustainably. We have a long way to go- everyone's educated about it now but people think, 'oh, it's just little old me, it won't make a difference,' but if everyone did their bit then it would make a difference!
BUST: Do you often find yourself having to explain to people why your pieces cost more than something that's been mass-produced for the high street?
LU:: I think with my pieces you can see the amount of work that goes into each item- especially lined up against each other, you can see that no two pieces are the same. I often do explain how long the process is for me- sourcing materials, cutting them individually so that patterns are in the right place. I started my business in 2009 when I used to try and run inline with all the mainstream fashion businesses- and I'm so glad I did that because I learned so much about how fashion businesses are run, but what I've come away deciding is actually that's not how I want to run my business; I want to be a slow fashion business. I'm confident now that I'm doing the right thing!
BUST: Lots of your pieces are very playful, do you think that fashion sometimes takes itself too seriously?
LU: I think there are elements of fashion that do, but there are lots of designers who are very playful. With me I feel that my pieces are an extension of my personality- when I wear them I do feel happy- it sounds really cheesy but they really do make people smile! Fashion is quite a serious business I guess; it's an intense industry which is also probably why I stepped away from that side of things.
BUST: There does seem to have been a rise in playful fashion by designers like Meadham Kirchhoff or Sophia Webster- collections that are quite child-like, quite nostalgic, sort of celebrating our inner child..?
LU: Exactly, I think that's to do with the generation we're from. My designs are definitely quite childlike, party due to the shapes, which is also why I'm so popular in Japan- the shapes are quite naïve, there's nothing figure-hugging. For me that's actually because I'm a beanpole, so I've always worn my clothes like that- I don't try and accentuate curves because I don't have any!
BUST: In your most recent collections there's a lot of patchwork and embroidery, lots of looks derived from very traditional skills, do you think these looks are popular again due to the recession and the novelty for our generation of things that are made by hand?
LU: I think there are several different reasons; one is definitely the recession- though anyone who's ever bought the wool and patterns to knit their own jumper, for example, will know that making things yourself can be quite expensive! But it's a really pleasurable activity. I've always been a real collector of things like embroideries and cloths, my mother brought me up teaching me how to sew, knit and bake, which she learnt from her mother and I love the passing on of traditions through the family. I think it's the sort of thing that should be taught more. I certainly didn't get the opportunity to learn any of this stuff at school and I think it's absurd that there are people who don't even know how to sew a button on!
BUST: What are your plans for the future?
LU: I want to make it more known that I open up my archives for people, so if there's something they like, they can have it made in whatever size, whatever colour they want. I'd love to open a shop, like a modern day tailors, where people can see my garments, pick out a style then choose their fabric. Or even using fabrics that they have- I know a lot of people hold on to fabrics that mean something but don't know what to do with them. I think people just need to realise that you can make your own fashion decisions and not be governed by the latest spring/summer or autumn/winter collections!