Since launching his first collection in 2000, which was a capsule knitwear label, James Lakeland has expanded into the women’s fashion market, to create a true lifestyle brand. Probably best known for his dresses and coats, with fabulous eveningwear being on the top of every girl’s wishlist, James took timeout from his busy schedule to give his an insight into his inspirations, passions and favourite fashion icon…
You began your career by working with your Father. What influence has he had on your collections?
My father influenced me massively. He is very fussy, and only likes the best fabrics. This has definitely been passed down to me, and I have also manufactured in Italy for 20 years because they are so meticulous in their production and pattern cutting.
Where did your love for design originally come from?
My mother and grandmother have always loved clothes, and with my grandfather’s and fathers manufacturing background, I stared taking an interest at an extremely early age. I have always wanted to create and chose beautiful fabrics and work with great pattern cutters.
Your first collection featured luxury knitwear, is that your first love?
I have a passion for luxury knitwear and yarns in particular cashmere, silk and pure cotton. Knitwear would be my first love.
Where do you look for inspiration each season?
I am creative, so I have ideas daily about how I would like to progress with my collection. I am inspired by colours, especially in my surroundings, and transport these into fabrics. Next spring summer 2013 is all about unusual and new mixes of colours prints and fabrics.
Who do you see as the James Lakeland woman?
The James Lakeland woman loves good quality clothes and likes herself. She wants to wear clothes that she loves which have a great cut. She can be mother, daughter, single girl, size 8 to 20 and appreciates our fabrics and that our clothes are made in Italy.
You’re renowned for created luxurious and elegant pieces. What do you think about the ‘fast fashion’ culture that has become so prominent?
Fast fashion has a place in the market, and women like to dip into it. Our customers repeatedly tell us how much they have loved the dress, coat, skirt that they have purchased from us. The James Lakeland brand stands out from the crowd and we do not follow the high street.
Who are your own fashion icons and influences?
Miuccia Prada, the 1950s era, the fabric and yarn companies in Biella northern Italy. I am greatly influenced by Florence, Milan and Venice. Basically the Italian fashion market.
If you could dress one person, who would it be?
It would have been Princess Diana
Do you still get excited when you see someone wearing your designs?
I love to see women wearing my clothes and I still find it very exciting when I randomly see someone wearing a dress or outfit of ours.
Outside of fashion, what are your other passions?
I love my children first and foremost, and spending time with my girls, walking to the park, drawing with them, reading. I also love art and theatre/film.