MMM: Interview with Kate Law, designer behind brand new kids label La Loi
La Loi is a cool new product line for kids designed by i-D Magazine’s former Art Director, Kate Law.
Kate – who lives with her sons Pip, 8 and Bruno, 6 – recognised there was a gap in the market for stylish, contemporary leggings. And, brilliantly, every single item has been designed, printed, manufactured and distributed in Great Britain.
Designed initially for Liberty’s childrenswear department, La Loi – with their graphic imagery and photo prints (very AW12!) – have only launched in the past week. They are now stocked at AlexandAlexa and at Cissy Wears, as well as launching in Harrods at the end of the year.
MMM chatted to Kate about her love of leggings and vision for the brand.
You have a background in Art Direction. Can you tell MMM a bit about that and how you came to launch your own childrenswear label?
Yes, I’ve always worked in publishing, Art Directing i-D for many years as well as projects for British Vogue and Elle. Designing clothes fulfills some of what I enjoy about doing magazines but with less of the commercial constraints.
The design process is more straightforward than with publishing, but the production process can be time consuming.
Manufacturing in the UK is an incredible challenge but it was something I desperately wanted to do. It’s so important to learn a process from end to end and build up relationships with everyone that you rely on and being able to drive up north to the factory or printers at a moments notice enables me to stay hands on in this way.
My background has given me access to a lot of resources to draw upon aswell as long term relationships with contributers. Each subsequent collection will incorporate a collaborative piece within its theme. Illustrators, photographers and typographers will be amongst future collaborators.
Why did you decide on leggings?
As a mother with a strong fashion and design background, I recognised an obvious gap in the market. My boys used to attend a circus school at weekends and I would send them in crazy coloured and garish patterned leggings – normally reserved for girls – when they were young enough not to argue! But I was frustrated that colours and patterns were predominantly traditional and girly. So I got bored of talking about it and decided to just do it.
Where do you find your inspiration for the designs?
As a starting point, as with magazines, I work to a theme but am likely to ignore those boundaries if something just sits well within the collection. It’s about what works well in print and adheres to the brand’s aesthetic.
The leg x-ray, smoke and fireworks are aimed at the holiday season, including Halloween and Bonfire night, which launch alongside a capsule collection referencing the elements: inferno, cosmos, birds in flight, trees, and the sea.
Do you prefer an edgier look for children? Do you have an aversion to pastels?
I do, personally, yes. I appreciate that I alienate a large part of the market by not necessarily adhering to the more traditional side, but I design what I would like to buy myself.
For me, the moment I start compromising that, I may as well go and do something else. The process might be the same but I get more fulfillment if I believe in the product, as with publishing projects.
Which are your favourite pieces and how would you style them?
I have boys so they suit the fire based and x-ray prints. My youngest wears them as is and my 8 year old wears them in winter under ripped jeans or under football shorts and in summer, under 3/4 length shorts or with a pair of wellies on rainy days.
Is La Loi going to be looking at extending the collection to other items?
Yes, as we speak. I am looking at urban themes for the leggings, particularly London with a collaboration with a fine artist for my key promotional press piece. And also beyond, at t’s and sweats with focus on good weights of cotton and nice cuts. Colourways are refined and blocked to offset and complement the complicated photographic prints.
Is it only available at Alexandalexa at the moment?
No, Liberty is my main stockist and they go into Harrods towards the end of the year. Liberty were the first people I approached and I pretty much designed them with the new childrenswear department in mind; not in a strategic way but I think the buyer there always gets it right and stocks the brands I wanted mine to sit alongside. I love the department and that the brands there are the least conservative of many London department stores but with the context such a traditional environment. I love the contrast. Luckily they ordered before I even delivered samples!