Stalked: Alex and Lilly, Fashion Designers and Founders, Blluemade
1 August 2016
Some say the best creations come when you work in collaboration with another, whether it be a friend, a work acquaintance, another brand, or your other half! This is exactly how Blluemade was born, by a husband and wife team, Alex Robins and Lilly Lampe.
Stunning classic silhouettes made from 100% linen offer a fit which is comfortable and sleek especially great in these hotter summer months. Their first men's collection, inspired by traditional silhouettes from past decades for example their short sleeved shirt pointed-collars were taken from 1950s rockabilly musicians who performed in Memphis. The brand offers beautiful designs which are made from sustainable fabrics, taking the slow fashion route, that I feel more brands should adopt.
I fell in love with brand firstly because it's slow fashion, and secondly because I feel to get classic simple shapes right takes a lot of skill something, which, this duo have smashed!! I caught up with Lilly and Alex to quiz them on what it's like working with your partner and where they are taking the brand.
Why did you both decide to get into fashion and what do you love about your job?
Lilly--I've always been interested in fashion and have made my own clothes from an early age but our line really came out of our mutual love of art and travel. We were traveling in Southeast Asia with plans to see art, meet with curators, artists, and other writers, visit family... all in sweltering July. I needed travel-ready, quality clothes that worked in every situation, and that felt true to my style. I couldn't find any, so I made my own. That led to me making a set of linen shirts and dresses, which were the foundation for our first collection! High-quality linen was so satisfying to wear--comfortable, wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, elegant and sophisticated--and we felt like the clothes we wanted to wear weren't on the market. We've both become increasingly interested in wearing and purchasing sustainable clothes made at ethical standards--clothes you can wear dozens if not hundreds of times, which get better with age because they're well-made from quality textiles, and you can feel good about wearing them because you know where they're coming from. We're really excited to be a part of change in the fashion industry, and to be manufacturing a product that feels new and fresh while rooted in tradition.
Describe your working day?
Alex-- I get up and make coffee, and then it's immediately to work checking emails. We often head to the Garment District in the late morning to check on production, samples, and patterns, and then it's home to go over numbers, check in with vendors, ship orders... all the demands of a small fashion business. Everyday is a little different, which keeps things fun and exciting.
What do you like about working with your partner and what are the biggest frustrations?
Alex-- Part of the reason we started this business is that we wanted to work together. When we were writing full-time we would often be at the same table, but heads-down at different computers. Now we get to share projects, and collaborate, which is great.
Lilly-- I don't think we have any frustrations about working together. I can't recommend it for everyone, but we're really good partners in business as well as in life.
What's been your highlight since starting the brand?
Alex--Now that we're doing menswear, we've realized that there aren't many other brands doing slow fashion menswear as there are doing women's, so it feels like we've stumbled upon another niche within the niche of quality linen garments.
Lilly--I'd add that we started out thinking we'd do all e-commerce--we're slow fashion, so not on the traditional wholesale calendar--but had several stores reach out to us to carry our line, which was unexpected and really pleasant and encouraging surprise.
Advice to any others starting out?
Lilly--Believe in your own abilities. It's scary starting out, and there are often early moments where you have to keep your momentum going in spite of doubts. Also, be game to learn by mistake, and try to learn everything. There's a lot you can do without outsourcing, and oftentimes it's better that way. No one else will understand your own brand and line like you do, so you're going to be your own best advocate. Embrace it!
Five items you can't live without?
Alex--coffee brewed in our Clever Dripper coffee maker, an e-reader, heavyweight denim (currently wearing Leftfield), a linen shirt, and my glasses.
Lilly--My phone. I can do almost everything I need to do on it. That, and a sketchbook and writing implement. Add to that lip balm and a full water bottle, and I'm set for the day.
The lovely duo, Alex and Lilly..