Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, University College for the Creative Arts at Canterbury.
Trompe l’oeil knitwear and dresses.
Do you think there's a sense of Britishness in your designs?
Having been born and raised in London, British flavour is completely infused into the way I design. The city provides such a colourful backdrop, and the history and culture of Britain is a constant source of inspiration for each collection: afternoon tea, Cockney rhyming slang, '60s London. My designs are playful and quirky – we do quirky the best.
Do you think training in London has shaped you as a designer and acted as a catalyst to starting your own label?
My training at the University Of Creative Arts was quite theoretical. I took extra short courses in Creative Pattern Cutting and Knitwear at Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion to improve my game. In hindsight the decision to start my own brand was quite reckless! I had a fashion voice that I wanted everyone to hear and I thought how hard could it be? It was from the heart and not the head. Social media was almost non-existent then, I had no peers to turn to and no templates to follow so had to learn about production, selling etc through just doing it. London is famous for nurturing experimental and avant garde designers. How do you tread the fine line between creativity and commerciality?
I design what I would wear and as I don’t dress completely left-field, there’s a natural inclination to rein in the more outrageous ideas. Getting a balance also comes from experience, learning about our different markets and what will sell and what won’t. But, it’s annoying when you come up with something that's new, original but also wearable, and buyers don’t pick up on it because it’s not on par with what everyone else is doing. Sometimes timing is everything.Labels like Burberry have achieved phenomenal success by having a brand that is about more than their clothing. Do you think this is integral to the viability of a modern brand, and if so, how does Elizabeth Lau extend beyond your collections?
For Elizabeth Lau, it’s vital to become an aspirational lifestyle brand that can translate into various products. We're not a brand that has a lot of heritage and history, so we would perhaps be more personality led and be about women that share our outlook or state of mind. Social media is a great tool to get this across and connect with the customer.Where do you hope to see your label in ten years time?
We would hope to operate our own store and to branch into cosmetics, scents and accessories. We would also love to have done more collaborations with interesting brands and marques.Which other designers inspire you?
Simone Rocha is making London exciting – her collections are like fashion poetry. The pieces are quietly beautiful and I love the workmanship, original techniques and different textures in her work. She has real designer’s eye for detail.
If you could work in any other city, which would you choose and why?
Hong Kong. It’s noisy, manic and polluted but it is also an important gateway into Asia and an exciting place to be for fashion at the moment.
Find out more about Elizabeth Lau