Sunday, April 18, 2010

Time Out with Laura Hearn from LauraLaura

This "cuteasabutton" jewerly and clothing designer has brought second-hand revamping to a new high. Her sweaters, all soft and cozy vintage finds embroidered with artsy phrases, are irresistably adorable and creative. Yes, we know it's the beginning of the toasty season, but it's totally worth being slightly "chaud" if it means wearing an original LauraLaura creation.

The Fashion Society was able to get in a few words with this creative cutie and somewhere between learning that she picked up her trade from grandma and that each sweater is hand detailed, we came to the conclusion that the Society members just had to hear what Laura Hearn has to say about small towns and the fashion industry.
LSDM: What gave you the idea to make hand embroidered knitwear and how long does it normally take per sweater?

LH: I bought a very plain but gorgeously mustard lambswool jumper in a charity shop and decided it needed something. My nan taught me chain stitch when I was younger - it was about the only stitch i had the patience for, it moves along nice and quickly. I embroidered "I am a Secret" and it was always a talking point, so the label developed from there. Each sweater takes a while but its easy to pick up as and when. I actually really enjoy the sewing, it's easy to get caught up in day-to-day business chores so its nice when it's time to sit down and create.

LSDM:Can you give us a little background about your childhood, your highschool years and what lead you up to this point?
LH:I grew up in a small country town, where everyone knows everyone and there's no topshop. It was a good place to grow up, but somewhere you definitely have to leave to find your way in the world. At school I hovered between being nerdy and rebellious. I'd get told off for turning up in stripy tights, but my homework was always on time. Although by 6th form I got quite lazy, and after an art foundation I think had education fatigue. As a consequence I only did a year of a degree in Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Art - a year that was wonderfully rich in experience. I moved into retail, as a means to pay the rent, but it turned out to be the most valuable experience in carving out my career.

LSDM:What's your favorite collection of all time?
LH:I'm not an avid follower of the shows - I tend to dip in and out, and pick up on colours or themes across a season rather than from a single label. My biggest inspiration is vintage clothing, my taste is hugely eclectic from 20's flapper to 60's mod and everything in between. I love to see designers re-inventing the classics, Burberry's continual development of the trench never ceases to excite me.

LSDM:Can you tell us about your experience in the fashion world?
LH:To be honest I don't have a great deal of "formal" experience, most of what I've learnt has come from working for small boutiques where everyone has to muck in and you get to do a bit of everything. That's the wonderful thing, with the advent of the internet you really can just get out there and give it a go. You don't have to be knocking on the door of Vogue waiting to be noticed, fashion blogs are such an immediate and fresh way of sharing what's new, and readers are in your boutique at the click of a mouse.

LSDM:Have any advice on getting fashion internships and getting your foot in the door?
LH:To be open-minded, the best experience won't necessarily come from "your ideal job". For example, as an intern in a large fashion magazine chances are you'll be doing the Starbucks run and unpacking endless returns but as a sales assistant in a small boutique I was regularly dealing with stylists and helping them pick out items for shoots.

LSDM:How long have you been making hand embrodiered garments?
LH:I guess I must've embroidered that first jumper about 3 or 4 years ago now and I still wear it regularly. I've always customized clothes, in my teens I used to stencil t-shirts with bands logo's because I was too skint to buy the official ones!

LSDM:Where are the thift stores where you find all of your second hand knitwear?
LH:I buy the knitwear from all sorts of places - charity shops, online or from vintage dealers - but trawling through is no hardship, I'm a jumble sale addict. The problem with London nowadays is that the charity shops are a bit too canny. I know it's more money for the charity but I do miss unearthing a proper bargain. When I visit my sister back in Suffolk we always go on an epic charity shop tour - last time I got some stunning vintage micro-mosaic clip on earrings, they were £7 and the little old lady just looked astounded as I handed over the cash - they were literally the most expensive thing in the shop!

and Lastly, do you have any famous last words?
LH:Always dream.
So we're not exactly sure how you "CoCo" but seeing as it must be related to Chanel, we're dying to learn. While we're out Googling feel free to browse though Laura's masterpieces at

Until wednesday