lfw: lu mei

London Fashion Week is a time for emerging and established designers to push the boundaries and showcase their new season collections. In this series we look at some of our fave up and coming designers who are bringing their AW17 collections to the LFW Designer Showrooms. Next up is Hunter Mei from husband and wife team and urban outerwear specialists Lu Mei…

Who inspired you to get into fashion and launch your own label?

The machinists I grew up with and my grandfather who started our family factory that inspired me to get into fashion, but LU MEI would not have started without my wife, she is the person who actually helped me take the plunge. We met in university and just got married last year, we share the passion for fashion and really value what LU MEI brings to the fashion world – we create vivid garments designed to fit on-the-go lifestyle of the modern traveller.

Your team is made of people who’ve work for Victoria Beckham, JW Anderson and Celine, do you think this has influenced your designs?

Our team are hugely talented and their experience certainly brings the creativity and refinement into the brand, but the team assembled together on a mutual interest in the outdoors and sports then transform the inspiration into a curated selection of practical yet cool lifestyle pieces.

Talk us through your design process.

Outdoor, sports and urban travel  are the key inspirational points for our design. We work very much together on the design, we look at images, movies and magazines to create a mood boards, and based on the fashionable modern traveller we do lots of sketches. The sketches get edited and refined through many design meetings then we pattern cut the pieces here in London with our experienced experts. At the same time we will be travelling around to visit the best mills in Italy and around the EU, to source the best quality fabrics and trims, many of our suppliers also apply to the best fashion houses. Once we have everything ready, we send them to our own family factory where them samples are made by people I know for more than 20 years.

There is a lot more personal touches involved, I really value the effort our team put into the process, not only the design also the making.

Describe your typical day.

Our day starts from our golden retriever Marco’s morning walk in Lincoln’s inn fields. And our team gathers in the studio for a good day of work on design and communications. We are constantly sharing things we see and communicating our views on the design. Trying on lots of toile and making changes to them is a really fun part. Along side of the routine design work we will be communicating to press, factory, suppliers etc. A day of work ends to quickly for us sometimes!

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Can you tell us what the inspiration was behind you SS17 collection?

The SS17 collection is inspired by hiking in the mountain and travelling intercity. Not taking the references really directly we created art deco artwork patch and flocking print for the collection and re-invented many 80s shapes to become so cool and beautiful.

What have been your career highlights so far and what have you got planned for the future?

My career highlight is actually right now. Without proper fashion related training I have started LU MEI and we are gaining really good feed back from the industry, and our customers. Our SS17 collection will be launching end of this month in 6 stores worldwide and in the future I plan is to further develop the brand and launch a men’s line while staying true to our brand value and inspiration.