As a Law student and fashion enthusiast, I’ve always been interested in ethical fashion. It has always slightly stunned me that for the most part, the fashion world only really cares about the end product and not the people behind it. The tragic collapse of a building in Bangladesh is just one example.
So, when I found that a new, emerging label – Why So Serious? (link to whysoserious.co.uk) – was primarily concerned with giving back to people affected by disasters, such as the Haitian earthquake, I seized the opportunity to interview the owner, Terri Leigh-Finnegan. You can find out more about her and her brand in this video! Read on for the interview and some photos of pieces from their Autumn/Winter collection!
1. What inspired you to create your brand?
I have always had a love-hate relationship with shopping, as I hate walking into a shopping centre, looking in typical high street stores and finding absolutely nothing unique, nothing different, nothing handmade – nothing with a story behind it. However, I always loved brands such as Allsaints, Vivienne Westwood, Hussein Chalayan and at times, Alexander McQueen. Purely because of their unique pieces, which fill railings in their tens as opposed to railings in their hundreds – it is not because these brands are more expensive! Allsaints create unique yet desirable pieces and Vivienne Westwood always has an inspirational message behind her clothing. She supports charities, has her own opinion in politics and makes a powerful statement. I felt it was important to create a brand that shared these two things whilst providing quality, handmade clothing, which ensures that the wearer feels empowered – on a both fashionable and social level.
2. What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers and entrepreneurs?
Although I am finding this tough, overwhelming and stressful, none of that will compare to the excitement and power I feel as an emerging fashion label. I especially love the fact that we can design whatever we like, whilst simultaneously showcasing our feelings, cultures and statements through our designs. Ultimately, I would always advise aspiring Fashion Designers to do work experience. Literally work wherever you can, whenever you can and be a ‘yes’ person. Be enthusiastic, passionate about the industry and ask questions! Take every opportunity that comes your way and get networking as soon as you can. It IS what you know, but it is WHO you know as well.
3. Are there any current affairs that you’d like to base a future collection on?
I am currently researching into the rebellion in Greece and their strikes from 2009 but I can’t reveal the twist on it until the collection is launched!
My designs were always ‘big’ and there were so many intricate details, due to the fact they were based on cultures. My initial designs are the ‘luxury collection’ of hand sewn, hand cut, tailored, embellished pieces and then I dial those down into my diffusion line of simpler, lower priced garments so that more people can buy into the brand.
At the same time, it is obvious that there is a gap between high street and luxury at the minute. I always wonder why there are no brands positioned between these two markets producing edgy, handmade garments at understandable prices?
We have been set up for 6 months now and have already dressed Kate Nash on Berlin Music TV, dressed the backing singers for Timbaland and dressed upcoming artists ‘Lucy Lawrence’ and ‘DeeDee Loves me’. We’ve also managed to get our unisex T-shirts out in the music scene on DJ Lee Osborne and a few more. As a new female owned business, we are backed by both ‘The Princes Trust’ and the ‘Centre of Excellence for women entrepreneurs’ (CEWE) and have shown our collection at Graduate Fashion Week 2012.
What’s to come? Soooo much! We have an exciting project running alongside London Fashion week next weekend, which is confidential but please keep an eye out for it! We continue to style upcoming artists in the music industry and of course will be launching our next collection for Spring/Summer 2014 over the next few months. We will be holding a stall in the 02 arena in December and continue to sell at Spitalfields Style Market every Saturday. We are looking to expand into small boutiques and of course, we are heading for London Fashion Week catwalk!
If you find the Why So Serious brand as refreshing as I do, give their Spitalfields market stall a visit one Saturday afternoon! Let me know what you think of the brand in the comments below!