Interview: Designer Derek Lawlor | Fashion Boss


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I was delighted to get the opportunity to interview such a talented designer. Derek Lawlor flew back to Dublin from London for a short visit last month, I caught up with him to get the latest about his work to date, his recent AMAZING collections and about what he plans to do next. 

BACKGROUND

An alumni of the esteemed Central St. Martins, Derek Lawlor launched his career with his acclaimed 2009 MA collection. His first collection revealed his trademark cord working techniques, in which wax cord is applied to knit in integrated patterns, resulting in spectacularly graphic sculptural effects which transform the silhouette of the garment.

Renowned for his use of innovative techniques and deep understanding of form and materials, Lawlor’s collections continually explore the possibilities of his medium. Season on season Lawlor’s collections push the boundaries of traditional knitwear, demonstrating his artisan approach and commitment to visionary design. Lawlor has received international press recognition for his work with features in Vogue, Italian Vogue, The Telegraph, The Metro and Grazia.

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 INTERVIEW

 

1. Tell us about your Brown Thomas collection and your AW 2014 collection?

Derek Lawlors Collection for Brown Thomas CREATE 2014 saw the introduction of exciting new techniques in fabric manipulation.
The collection focuses on the interplay between hard and soft building on his signature form fitting silhouette and unusual textures with the introduction of loose ladder, intarsia patterns and lace techniques.
Derek Lawlor CREATE 2014 Collection featured a mixture of cord-work, weave and stitch embellishment, fringing and crochet techniques evolving previous seasons circular shapes into a more linear approach inspired by sculptural references and Lawlors love of textiles.
Mixed yarns and different knit textures of mohair, cashmere, rafia and rayon combined for a highly tactile collection of sophisticated designs in a monochrome palette of black, blues and stormy greys.

2.  What inspires you when creating a new collection?

I’m always searching for new ideas and developing my existing fabric techniques. I have an archive of fabrics I have been developing over the past several years – I use these as the starting point to each collection. I am constantly inspired by what’s happening around me whether it be architecture, a journey I’ve taken or visiting different exhibitions.

I’m lucky enough to be a visiting lecturer at Central St Martins in London so when I’m not teaching on the textile design course Im usually sat in the Library looking through the archives. being such a big university with lots of different courses its great to have access to all the different text and imagery available.

3. Would you say that there are growing opportunities for creative people in Ireland and the UK?

Having grown up and studied in the UK I’m very aware of the great opportunities for creative people. The wide selection of universities and colleges with wide range of courses give people the experience to study a specialism within the industry.

I studied Textile Design before going on to study my Masters in Fashion Design – it was whilst studying these specialists that I became aware of how many different roles there are within these industries. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by practitioners and designers from the Industry who were able to advise us and offer support.

After graduating from my Masters I was lucky enough to be offered a sponsored catwalk show during fashion week – again through the support of mentors It was a great starting point for me to start my business. When you finish studying it can be overwhelming as you are no longer institutionalized or sticking to a brief. I believe it is important to seek advice from people in the industry, don’t be scared to ask questions.

Through the different organizations and councils available in Ireland and the UK, there is room to grow as a designer and seek new opportunities.

For the past two years I have been privileged to showcase my collection as part of Brown Thomas CREATE exhibiting Innovative Irish Design. This has been a valuable opportunity for me as I was not only able to sell my work in one of the most prestigious and well known department stores I was also able to be on the shop floor meeting my customers, promoting my work but also having an understanding of what people are buying and what they want.

4. What have been the highlights of your career to date?

Working with The Royal Ballet has been an incredible experiences and continues to be an amazing journey. I am very lucky to have worked and continue to work closely with Fashion Director Olivia Pomp and Photographer Rick Guest on this journey over the past four years.

Most recently this year I was invited to a Dinner party the Irish Embassy in London to celebrate Irish fashion in London with Sabina Higgins. I felt very honored even to have been asked and it was an amazing experience get to meet so many talented people.

5. Where do you hope to be in next five years?

This question always throws me haha … I hope to be continuing to be creative and work on projects which stimulate me as an artist.

I would describe myself as a bit of a jack of all trades, I say this because no working day is the same! Whether Im designing a new collection, working on a photo-shoot, creating for the  Royal Ballet, consulting or teaching – Im lucky enough to be able to work on so many different projects. This is important for me as a creative as allows me to continue to learn and stay excited.

I hope to continue with these different projects and hope more projects will continue to arise!

6. Your work has gotten a lot of exposure. Do you have any advice for design graduates?

With so many students graduating each year, its important to work hard and stay focused. Unfortunately some jobs don’t happen instantly so i think its important for graduates to stay creative, develop your portfolios and gain experiences through internships.

Social media is a great tool to gain exposure and connect with people in the industry. Its now much easier and quicker for people to see your work online internationally. Id also advice graduates to stay up to date with what’s going on in the industry, keep your minds active and know what’s happening around you.

7. Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

I’m currently working on a collaboration with a brand in London which will be shown on catwalk during London Fashion Week in February 2015 and also exhibited during Milan Fashion Week…. watch this space !!

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BROWN THOMAS CREATE 2014 COLLECTION

www.dereklawlor.com

 

Derek Lawlors Collection for Brown Thomas CREATE 2014 saw the introduction of exciting new techniques in fabric manipulation.
The collection focuses on the interplay between hard and soft building on his signature form fitting silhouette and unusual textures with the introduction of loose ladder, intarsia patterns and lace techniques.
Derek Lawlor CREATE 2014 Collection featured a mixture of cord-work, weave and stitch embellishment, fringing and crochet techniques evolving previous seasons circular shapes into a more linear approach inspired by sculptural references and Lawlors love of textiles.
Mixed yarns and different knit textures of mohair, cashmere, rafia and rayon combined for a highly tactile collection of sophisticated designs in a monochrome palette of black, blues and stormy greys .
Following a successful collection featured as part of Brown Thomas CREATE 2014 ‘A celebration of Irish Designer Innovation & Imagination‘ we are happy to announce we are now stocked in ‘Marion Cuddy Irish Designers Emporium‘ Powerscourt Townhouse Dublin.
(Credits: Model: Gianetta Martinson, Styling: Theresa Kaunasisiute, Hair & Makeup: Alja)
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