Emma Cheape talks Best of British and The Brim Label

Friday 4th July 2014, 13.16

 

 

 

Hat designer Emma Cheape talks to Liberty ahead of the next Open Call event.

emma cheape hat designer

The Brim Label designer, Emma Cheape, was discovered at the Liberty Best of British Open Call in January 2014. Since then her unique caps and sun hats have become an essential part of the Liberty hat hall. Here she reveals the hats that have meant the most, her vintage inspirations and how life has changed since seeing her designs stocked in-store.

vintage hat designer

How has life at The Brim Label changed since the Best of British open call in January?
The main change has been a subtle shift in my own personal view of what The Brim Label is, and perhaps more importantly, the potential for what it might become. The fact that Liberty appreciates the value in what I am creating has been very encouraging and confirms the idea that, despite being small, you can still be mighty!

What did it mean for the label to be stocked in Liberty?
It’s well known that Liberty is a highly respected, prestigious and iconic establishment so of course it has meant so much to me to have my hats stocked in such a store. I’m super proud and grateful that The Brim Label hats are sat amongst many of the best, most esteemed products in the world.

How do you think your design philosophy fits in with Liberty?
When it comes to design I am very passionate about quality, originality and the story, which I believe are also interests that Liberty shares.

Had you been to Liberty before Best of British?
Oh yes, many times. I would often visit when in the area and just wander around admiring all the beautiful things. I’d look around the hat department and think to myself, “The Brim Label would suit being here”!

What was the first hat you ever made?
About two years ago I started playing around with creating a pattern for a hat that I imagined I wanted to take on a beach holiday, but couldn’t find in real life. It was made out of calico. Many more calico trials eventually turned into the style called Arabella which is now sold at Liberty.

What’s the oldest hat you own and how did you find it?
I’ve got an amazing hat and dress combo, both made out of the same fabric that I bought from a vintage country fair when I first moved to the UK three years ago. Having just arrived, and being pretty broke after a few months of travelling on my way over from New Zealand, it wasn’t exactly a vital purchase but I just had to get it anyway. The hat and dress sat around waiting patiently for two years before an appropriate occasion finally arose last year when I got to go to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. While it may take another few years before it gets its second outing, it’ll be worth the wait!

hat making

How do you select fabrics?  Is there anything you look for in particular?
I am dedicated to finding and using quality, original fabrics which ideally have a story behind them. For my summer hats I use predominately vintage cottons which have previously been curtains in a past life. For winter, I use luxurious English-made wools and tweeds. I’m drawn to unexpected patterns and colour combinations as well as the feel of a fabric. I always consider the uniqueness of a fabric vs. its ability to be wearable and timeless.

Do you have a favourite style of hat?
I love caps. Especially on a woman, it’s such a great look of confidence with a hint of tomboy style. And despite what some may think, I reckon they look cool at any age.

What do you think the UK in particular has to offer for someone working with vintage fabrics?
I think what the UK has to offer is a big enough audience that is interested in buying products made from vintage fabrics. If a product is made using genuine vintage fabric it is most likely that there will only be a finite amount of the fabric that exists. Therefore, only a certain amount of that product can be made, giving the item exclusivity. The type of person who chooses to buy vintage does so because they want something special – they don’t want the same item that hundreds, if not thousands, of other people will have. Authentic vintage fabrics can help to set a product apart, and in the UK where there is a sea of products that are mass produced and all look the same, I believe there is an increasing desire to own goods that are unique and therefore more meaningful.

As a new Open Call approaches,  what does the next year have in store for The Brim Label?
I will be continuing to work on growing my audience and creating more awareness about the brand. I’m currently working on The Brim Label winter range. Lately I’ve been sampling winter caps and other head wear ideas in tartan, tweed, corduroy and leather – hopefully to be seen on the shelves of Liberty in a few months time!

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She’s the Man: What’s next from menswear designer Lou Dalton

Tuesday 24th June 2014, 17.08

 

 

 

British menswear designer Lou Dalton drops in for a chat about her forthcoming collections, style icons and what she has planned over the next few seasons for her label.

Menswear designer Lou Dalton's fashion show

Menswear designer Lou Dalton has just closed the curtain on her Spring/ Summer 2015 fashion show for the latest instalment of London Collections: Men. As one of the first LC:M designers Liberty chose to stock, we decided to throw a party in collaboration with Men’s Health in her honour. Check out the photos from the VIP event held in our menswear department in-store.

We caught up with Lou to find out what inspired next summer’s collection, where she sees her popular line of men’s fashion going and who her current style icons are right now.

Backstage at the SS15 Lou Dalton show

What’s the story behind your Spring/ Summer 2015 collection?
There was a great deal of change within Lou Dalton this season and this led to me taking a long hard look at where I was at, where I was going and where I wanted to go with the collection. It was about taking control, moving on.

Do you have a favourite piece or look from the collection?
This collection was so very personal that I felt an alliance to a great deal of what we put out. In time there may be one or two head runners, but currently I’m super happy with it all.

Where do you usually look for inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere – from a gallery, a book I’ve read, music, friends, a night out…

What are the highlights for the upcoming Autumn/ Winter 2014 collection?
Being continuously supported by Liberty for AW14, the bleached denim went down a storm..

Your designs are highly praised within the industry and amongst style conscious gentlemen. How much do you think about the core Lou Dalton customer during your design process?
Its constantly on my mind, I came into this to make beautiful clothes that men would hopefully enjoy wearing. Good sale through is incredibly important and integral to the growth of our business.

Design sketches from the Lou Dalton SS15 collection

What can we expect from Lou Dalton over the next three seasons?
Upwards and onwards is the order of the day! I just try to stay focused with working towards growing the business.

How would you like the label to develop?
Increase in sales with a growing customer base coming on board, and more investment.

Which designers are you looking forward to seeing this season?
Craig Green, Christopher Shannon, James Long, and Sibling.

Who is currently your style icon?
I have a few: Alan Bennett, David Hockney, David Bowie, Vincent Cassell, the usual suspects…

What do you love about Liberty?
It’s the ultimate department store, incredibly decadent and, of course its amazing taste as they stock “Lou Dalton”…

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Lou Dalton and Men’s Health Party at Liberty for LCM

Tuesday 17th June 2014, 16.05

 

 

Liberty and Men’s Health celebrate LCM and menswear designer Lou Dalton with a party in her honour.

Last night Liberty’s menswear department was cleared of all it’s stylish wares and transformed into a cool basement bar, complete with DJ, in honour of the London Collections: MEN shows and menswear designer Lou Dalton. Teaming up with Men’s Health, the party was thrown in celebration of Miss Dalton and her long standing relationship with the store – being the first LCM designer Liberty chose to sell and has done for the past four years.

Lou Dalton worked with Liberty to dress the party space using elements from her Spring/ Summer 2015 collection, including illustrations by Alex Walker and Lou’s unofficial ‘Charm charm charm’ mantra which decorated balloons.

Guests included Olympic boxer Luke Campbell, Jesse Metcalfe, Princess Julia, LCM designer James Long, editor of Man About Town Ben Reardon, creative director of Wallpaper Ben Jarvis, and LCM panel member and esteemed journalist Charlie Porter. Music for the evening was provided by Horse Meat Disco DJ Jim Stanton – fresh from mixing Lou’s catwalk soundtrack. Mr Stanton’s selection had everyone dancing with abandon throughout the night as they sipped on specially blended negronis by Campari and Reyka Vodka tonics with grapefruit.

Read our interview with Lou Dalton on her upcoming collections, inspirations and style icons.

 

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