For 10 years, ceramicist and jewelry designer Erin Lightfoot has operated her eponymous brand from her studio in Red Hill, Brisbane. “The studio started out as a creative project in the corner of a room and has grown, room by room, into a family business run by my husband. [Tang Oudomvilay] and me, ”she said.
Lightfoot ceramics are stocked in nearly 100 specialty stores across Australia, but ceramics was not his first passion. Lightfoot studied fashion at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). “While designing prints took me a different path, I’ve always held a candle for clothes,” she says. During his studies, Lightfoot met fashion designer and educator Thuy Nguyen – the director of Fashion360, an advisory service and program providing industry skills to local fashion brands. A decade later, Nguyen and Lightfoot have come together for a new project that celebrates Lightfoot’s printed patterns with beautiful locally printed silk.
“Creating clothes gives me the ability to create prints on a larger scale,” says Lightfoot. “The choice of the silks was based on its natural luster characteristics and the beautiful translation of the colors.”
The collection is made up of five signature pieces in soft crepe de chine that balance comfort and elegance. Each garment is fashioned with a flattering silhouette and subtle design cues, such as scoop backs, keyhole ties, and cutout curved pockets.
“Our signature piece is the incredible kimono which can be worn as a dress or a jacket,” explains Lightfoot. “It’s lined with 100% black silk crepe de chine, so you can wear it inside out if you want. The garment is made to order, made from over six yards of pure silk. Other pieces include a camisole, blouse, casual pants and a dress.
Production is handled by a small number of highly skilled and trusted sewers in Brisbane. “It’s a small, aging industry in Australia, and it’s hard to find sewers with a great grasp of this art form – especially handling soft silks,” she says. “It is important to us that the construction is well done with all the fine finishes and all the tiles and patterns lined up at the seams. [It’s] a slow and demanding process when it comes to slippery silk fabric. For this reason, we have decided to do less and make sure that what we produce is very well done.
Lightfoot says the collection features two serious prints and two playful prints – think S-curves, an abstract zebra-style print, one reminiscent of the power of flowers from the 60s, and a pink checkered number. “The designs were borrowed from my jewelry collection and a current interest in curved shapes,” she says.
Lightfoot and Nguyen are working with a supplier in Shanghai – a design decision based on a few considerations: that the silk has a quality feel and excellent drape, and that the supplier was able to print small quantities. It was also important that the price per meter was less than $ 50.
“We found a US-based eco-silk supplier, but the drape and color was not optimal and the company communication was unreliable,” says Lightfoot. “Australian production was unfortunately out of reach as the price exceeded $ 100 per meter. Our supplier was able to provide a beautiful silk base in a very small run at $ 43 per meter so that we could both kick-start the project and not produce excess clothing.
Until Saturday, July 17, you can try on the pieces – and meet the designers – at a temporary pop-up store at 300 Adelaide Street, Brisbane. Silk clothing will feature alongside jewelry and ceramic vases from Lightfoot, and specially crafted silk scarves from scraps. The pop-up is open for a short time before the collection goes live.
Pop-up store Erin Lightfoot x Fashion360
300 Adelaide Street, Brisbane
Wed to Fri 10 am-4pm
Sat 10 am-2pm