LF Markey Interview
LF Markey Interview
Sydney-born, East London based Louise Markey is the designer behind luxury womenswear label, LF Markey. Lauded the world over for her elegant take on workwear staples, her collections combine minimalist shapes with bold illustrative graphics and intricate finishes. Prior to launching her own label, a Masters from Central St Martins led Markey to consult for global luxury fashion houses, and their refined influence on her work is perfectly countered with an easy-going Aussie edge for luxurious but ultimately wearable pieces. Here, Markey tells us about her wide-ranging inspirations and the processes behind creating her collections.
What prompted you to launch your own collection?
Running my own label has been something I have wanted to do from a very young age. It's a combination of having very specific tastes and interests, and also loving being my own boss. I'm happiest when I'm working odd hours and juggling lots of different projects so having my business is a perfect pastime for me.
How would you describe the LF Markey aesthetic?
LF Markey is simple, geometric and colourful. The collections are split between utility workwear basics in bright coloured fabrics, often silks and silk mixes, and pieces with bold, naive prints and embroideries. I am equally fascinated with workwear and folk / outsider art, so both inspirations find their way into the clothes and somehow work together.
Talk us through the design process, how does the women's collection take shape, from initial concepts through to construction?
For SS15 I was interested in Central American folk costume and how it's reinterpreted for the tourist market in a kitsch way. Usually, another strand of conflicting inspiration gives the collection some edge: for example, 1980's Australia surfwear often makes an appearance. From this I develop my colour palettes, prints and embroideries. Basic patterns are evolved from one season to the next. We then photograph the samples for the lookbook, from which we can easily edit down the collection to just the best pieces.
Where do you gather inspiration from?
All over - often museums and galleries, or magazines like Raw Vision. I am also always looking to the street and seeing what people are wearing.
How much does your Australian heritage have a bearing on your work?
I think it has a fairly big influence on my work. Australians are very casual people and I think this plays a large part in LF Markey, even the evening wear is very easy to wear and comfortable.
Your studio is based in the East End of London - where are your favourite spots for inspiration and recreation? How does the city feed your creativity?
I love having my studio and home in East London, it is such a vibrant area and the people dress incredibly! It feels like everybody has about five hair-brained projects on the go and they're all running around trying to make them happen. London in general is a huge source of inspiration - for me it is the most inspiring city in the world.
What is your favourite piece from the SS15 collection and why?
It is definitely the 'Mystic Jacket'. You can't miss it, it's a full-on hand embroidered oversized jacket. It has pompoms all over the sleeves! It really is something else.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I have a short attention span and working in fashion is great for that - I'm always looking forward to the next thing and that's exciting.
Best piece of advice received
Stick to your guns.
Life defining moment
This year, marrying my partner Tom, and having our baby son Francis.
Today I'm wearing
Jeans by COS, shirt by LF Markey, 'Ciggie' knit jumper by Christopher Shannon.
Name your style icon(s) and explain why?
I love casual, breezy types like Jane Birkin and Lauren Hutton. Lately I am loving Jemima Kirke - she's gorgeous!
What can we look forward to from LF Markey in the future?
More colour and fun! I have a few collaborative projects in the pipeline so that is exciting. Things are moving quite rapidly these days so who knows what the future will bring!