London Fashion Week is a time for emerging and established designers to push the boundaries and showcase their new season collections. Taking five up and coming designers from LFW, we’ve highlighted the ones to watch for SS17 and next up is knitwear designer and Central St Martins graduate, Laura Theiss. Known for her bold designs, 3D patterns and highly contrasting textures, Laura was selected to showcase in OnOff Presents – an arena for up and coming designers to present their collections. Describing her label as a mix of traditions, edginess and modernity, meet Laura Theiss…
Did you always want to be a fashion designer and was launching your own label always the dream?
I always loved fashion and particular knitwear. My passion for knitwear started at a very young age. I made my first piece when I was 7 years old and it was a crocheted tablecloth. In a way knitwear chose me as it’s always been around me and our house was all decorated in crocheted cushions, pictures, and toys. The best thing about knitwear is I can design my own fabrics and shapes, and scale them just with a simple needle. I can work without patterns or drawings and change things as I knit. The results sometimes are unpredictable as knitwear can be worn in many different ways – and that’s the best thing about it! The launching of my own label just happened and OnOff played a big role in my decision.
Who inspired you to get into fashion?
I just wanted to create, to translate my thoughts into knitwear.[URIS id=72984]
Talk us through your design process.
I guess that, as a designer, you must try and be inspired by everything, including your daily routine and the environment where you live and work. You can then mix them with your imagination, and inspirations coming from other places. In my case the Far East countries, national costumes, traditional knitwear and sci-fi movies. When I am travelling around the globe, I do not usually go to museums, but I’m far more interested in the real city life. I enjoy walking around, exploring local markets, talking to people, taking pictures and, of course, visiting some thread and fabric shops. The design ideas come from my seasonal inspirations and then I translate the ideas into the knitwear. Sometimes, I do the sketches first to get the silhouette, but quite often I work on a mannequin putting bits of knit and knitted fabric swatches on the figure and creating on a 3D figure. Each collection is unique, as I try to create a fashion statement and tell a story through my designs.
What does your typical day look like?
There are very busy period like before Fashion Week – the work is then a bit intense than normal. It involves waking up at 7am coffee, checking emails, going to my studio, discussing a day program, creating, making, thinking, making decisions. Everyone in Fashion knows that is it like to have own label – Its 24/7.
What have been your career highlights so far?
I was invited to “The Elephant Family” charity event in Clarence House. It was hosted by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. It was a huge creative acknowledgement for me to meet his royal highness. I was asked to create a mask alongside the worlds most influential and famous designers. I made a crochet purple butterfly mask which was sold at a charity auction.
Since launching your label in 2010 you’ve shown at London & Paris, so what are your plans for the future?
After finishing my studies at Central St Martins in London I started having a few orders from buyers and therefore produced a few looks. Then OnOff invited me to show my new collection in Paris and things picked up from there. My studio is in a creative business incubator in London where artists get great support. Everything is going well. I am planning to make bigger collection for the next season and do a catwalk show. I am also creating a new online shop where my clients all over the world can directly buy their favourite knitwear