Meet the Maker - Lauren Vickers

Saturday, November 01, 2014
Lauren Vickers loves nothing more than armfuls of fabric, Liberty print to be precise. Turning these beautiful cottons into the most dapper of gentlemen's bow ties.   We are delighted to have Lauren's pieces for sale in our Made in Britain shop and caught up with her recently to find out more about her work and inspiration behind the collection...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hello! My name is Lauren Vickers, and I run LV Made in England. I make bespoke menswear accessories, primarily bow ties, and pocket squares. The business was born out of a need for beautifully quirky, quality menswear accessories at an affordable price, something I feel is currently lacking on the high street. 
Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I enjoy dancing, and am part of a cabaret dance troupe. It’s a celebration of all things vintage, which I love, and it’s nice to have something active going on when you’re sitting at a machine for so long! 

When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
From the moment I could pick up paintbrushes, pens and pencils it was all that I wanted to do. My passion for making has been a constant in my life, so much so that it was never even considered I would do anything else. I gravitated towards hands on classes, with art and technology naturally being my favourites! I don’t remember having that light-bulb moment, I think it was just always there. 
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I think textiles is one of the most rewarding creative disciplines, because there is such a huge scope for experimentation, and so many levels of interaction. I love picking up a quality fabric, making something with it and feeling satisfied that it’s complete within a few hours, and equally I love that I can spend time designing my own print over weeks, or even months. The feeling of accomplishment holding that finished item in your hands is always worth it, whether it took an hour, or a year! 
Where does your inspiration come from? 
I'm very inspired by vintage style, as I'm sure you can tell by my products! Menswear was in some ways far more brave than it is now, and everybody, from the greengrocer to the lord of the manor took pride in their appearance. I'm actually more interested in what the greengrocer would have been wearing! I love wools, tweeds, printed cotton and linen, and don’t think we see enough of them in menswear.
Describe your studio or workspace? 
I live in a live - work apartment, which means my studio and my home are one and the same. It can be tricky trying to find the balance, but it has great benefits too, including proximity to the kettle! I try to keep my studio space tidy, but its a rare sight when you can see the table! Most importantly I make sure I have inspiring things around me, and I always have photos of friends and family up, to remind me of the important things in life and help me to keep a level head when I start to stress. 
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman who would it be?
Liberty design studio, I use a lot of Liberty, and I’d love to watch them selecting next years prints William Morris, to see those stunningly intricate patterns taking shape Mister Finch, it must be a treasure trove of vintage textiles in there! Anyone on Savile Row, where precision takes on a whole new meaning, Sorry it’s so hard to choose just one! 
How would you describe your creative process?
I find it quite difficult to tie myself down to one idea, or task, so I usually have lots of work at different stages of completion in progress at once. It’s helpful, as sometimes I want to hand sew, and other times I feel more like pattern cutting, but it can be frustrating flitting as while I’m moving everything on, I might not finish any one piece for days. I’m trying to focus more on one task at a time, but I’ll always have little piles of things on my desk! 
What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
I can’t really choose a specific thing, but I have always loved receiving post, and my lovely friends always put so much effort into hand illustrated cards and letters, so I keep them all! Putting pen to paper feels so much more personal to me, and every hand written or handmade item is treasured. 
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
The first thing I usually do is get someone else’s opinion, and not always a creative. I've found some of the most inspiring ideas or outcomes have come from people with little creative interest, because they think in a completely different way to me, and see around obstacles in a way I hadn't even considered. Other artists and designers also help a great deal, because they've usually had a similar problem themselves at some point! Just talking through ideas and bouncing off other people helps me more than hours of research. Failing that, I do something completely different for a while, and hope inspiration strikes when I'm not looking! 

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would like to begin developing my own fabric collection designed for menswear accessories, and showcase other illustrators and print designers with exclusive menswear collections, so it would be nice to see those products doing well. My dream is to become a sort of menswear emporium, filled with everything the discerning gentleman would need, from bow ties, neck ties and pocket squares, to belt and braces, hats, grooming accessories... the list goes on! A bit of vintage, a bit of handmade, everything beautifully quirky, and top quality. The ethos of the business really.

Thank you Lauren!  You look so dapper in your own bow tie.  They are so cool.  If you would like your own Lauren Vickers bow tie then head down to our Made in Britain shop.

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