Q&A: Blooming Leopold Vintage


1. How did you get your start in designing woman's wear?
A few years back, I decided to teach myself the basics of sewing when I was looking for clothing in shops that I just wasn't finding. I thought I'd give it a go and make the pieces I was looking for myself. I didn't know then what a commitment it would become, or how many hours I would end up in front of a sewing machine! But I wouldn't trade the experience or lessons for anything.

2.What inspires you to create?
Inspiration can come from all sorts of places. Mostly it comes from editorials in creative magazines such as Lula, my favorite blogs like Liebemarlene and Miss Moss, and art of all shapes and sizes - going to the Expressionist Art exhibit at the Frist last fall inspired a lot of creations and color combinations. Probably my number one inspiration as of late has been film. Picturesque, feminine films like The Red Shoes and Picnic at Hanging Rock heavily influenced my previous collections but lately I'm drawn to the simplicity in postwar Japanese films - movies like A Tokyo Story and Seven Samurai, with their wrap garments and the clean, sharp-cornered interiors. The painted patterns the men wear in Seven Samurai are very beautiful, such an interesting mix of modern and folkloric. You never know where inspiration will come.. always keep your eyes open.


3. What do you love about working with different fabrics?
Each fabric is an experience in itself, and when you begin to sew you can certainly tell the difference between high and low quality fabrics - after sewing with silk it's hard to go back to polyester. I hate sewing with stretch fabrics, they have a mind of their own and even the expensive ones feel cheap to me - I'm not a fan. Recently I sewed with boiled wool for the first time and that was a joy.. it has this interesting structure to it that makes it incredibly easy to sew with. I try to sew with natural fabrics whenever I can, cottons and linens are standards for me. Just recently I ordered some bamboo fabric and I can't wait to work with it.

4. Do you have a favorite piece you have made ? 
There is a simple pullover dress with a gathered skirt that I always go back to - one of the first patterns I drafted. I've used the pattern countless times, made slight alterations to come up with something new (added pin tucks, changed the length, sleeves, or neckline), but that loose shape is my standard now, breezy and comfortable.

5. Describe your style aesthetic. 
My style aesthetic is always changing, but there is a distinct mix of old and new in there. I'm always in search of balance  between masculine and feminine, vintage and contemporary. I've been into 90s-era vintage for the last couple years. I love mid-length dresses, platform shoes, crop tops. Grunge. But I always enjoy juxtaposing the old pieces with modern shoes or accessories.

6. Any current obsessions you would like to share? 
Yes! Overalls, two piece co-ord sets sewn from printed fabrics, and abstract patterns in a myriad of hues. Cocoon and kimono dresses, structured coats, any pieces that have their own interesting shape.

7.What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
There is no time like the present to begin doing what you want to do. No use in waiting for your "big break" or for a period in your life when you have more time to focus on what you love.. start doing it now. And don't be afraid to live a life that is different than that of your peers.. nowhere is it written that one must have a four bedroom, three bath house, three cars, and an ample income in order to be happy.

8.What is the one fashion item you think is a “must-have” for every women? 
Every woman's style is different, but I think a great pair of jeans is something everyone can appreciate. I have a dark, high-waisted pair I found at a vintage yard sale a few years back, and I feel great when I wear them.. there is something a well-fitting pair of denim trousers can do for a woman's confidence that I think a dress lacks.

9. Any advice you would like to give to aspiring designers? 
I'd go with the the same bit of advice I received - if you want to be a designer, just go for it. Start crafting your own designs, learn from your mistakes, and constantly move forward. I think with dreams it's easy to be caught in the "planning" stage for far too long, but we really learn much more about our goals and ourselves by not dreaming, but doing.. if you want to be a designer, design.
10. Any exciting designing news for Blooming Leopold Vintage?
The most exciting news has been Nashville Fashion Week! I participated in their April 6 show as part of the Emerging Designer Presentation, and I was so thrilled to showcase some new fall looks there.

Be sure to keep up with Lauren's fashionable life on her blog, and shop her lovely looks on etsy.