February 20, 2017

Founded by Louise Markey in East London after graduating from Central Saint Martins, LF Markey is a London-based fashion brand all about bright, bold colours and understated luxury. Renowned for its elevated workwear, signature pieces include boiler suits, chore coats, work pants and of course, dungarees. We love the comfort of the oversized pieces, but cut in silk, cashmere and lace, retain an elegant feel.

Ahead of our panel discussion, ‘Futures in Fashion‘ at Urban Outfitters Oxford Circus, we caught up with Louise about London’s vibrant creative scene and how she juggles raising two small children with a full time job running her own business.

UO: Do you draw a lot of inspiration from the creative and busy lifestyle in London?

Yes, I have lived in east London for over 12 years now and what people wear around here has always been a huge source of inspiration for me. I’m sad a lot of this creativity and excitement is moving away from me, down to south London now!

UO: What does a typical day at HQ look like?

At the moment my days are all over the place as I am juggling raising two small kids with my business. Usually, I will get in to the studio at 8am and send off the evening’s online orders, then try to work as quickly as possible through my emails. Depending on the time of year I could be shipping out orders, designing new collections or working on shoots. Throughout the day I’ll have to pop home (15 mins from my studio) to be with a baby, my working day tends to continue well into the evening.

UO:A lot of your pieces are both elegant and practical. Talk us through the design process from inspiration to development.

I always start from a base inspiration of workwear and I fuse this with other, seasonal inspiration. For example at the moment I’m really into Amish clothing! So I might have a dress which is in silk but inspired by an apron. There is also always a print story or two running through each collection and these tend to be brightly coloured, oversized and naive.

UO: What elements do you like to incorporate in your pieces that really mark them out as a true LF Markey staple?

I tend to use pockets liberally and they are all over everything! I also use bar-tacks and utility stitching, even on the most luxurious of fabrics.

UO: What is your favourite piece from the latest collection?

My favourite piece from SS17 is the Ricky Dress, an oversized folky maxi dress. It’s been selling like hot cakes which is a good thing too!

UO: How do you approach piecing together a collection?

It all revolves around the colour palette so I start from there. I know there always needs to be a certain amount of boilersuits, workpants and chore-coat-like garments. My customers are loyal and tend to come back season after season, they get to know the styles. So I will often repeat a popular shape in the new season’s colours and fabric.

UO: What sort of materials and textiles do you like to work with most and why?

I love canvas and denim the best; I live in fabrics like that. I think my work is interesting when reinterpreted in evening fabrics so I do use silks, crepes and polished poplin too.

UO: What inspires you during the creative process?

I often start at secondhand bookshops and see what takes my eye. It really can be anything- Amishness, surfwear, occultism, all sorts of crazy stuff makes it’s way in! I am also always inspired by graphic design, art, photography and architecture.

UO: How would you describe the aesthetic of LF Markey in just three words?

Geometric, Colourful, Utilitarian.

UO: What can we expect to see from LF Markey in 2017 and beyond?

2017 is going to be a very big year for us- but you will have to wait and see!

Shop: LF Markey

Join us tonight for ‘Futures in Fashion’ – our #LFW panel talk hosted by Katherine Ormerod at our Oxford Circus store at 8.30pm.

Panel includes: Joyce Lee, LF Markey, Raven Smith, Ben Ditto and Matthew Miller. We’ll also be live streaming the whole thing for those who can’t make it!