An interview with Lizzy House
It kind of feels like the Lizzy House show around here. First Constellations arrived, then the entire range of Pearl Bracelets. Now this interview. And just wait until you see what Lizzy goodness we have for you next week. We’re addicted and that’s okay – you will be too after you read our interview!
The Village Haberdashery: You knew you wanted to be a fabric designer since you were six years old. What steps did you take to make that dream a reality?
Lizzy House: When I was about 18 I just decided that it was time to really start trying to figure it out. So I started trying to wrap myself around what I was up against. The internet/blogging/crafting community was not what it is now, so I was making actual phone calls trying to get help. But circumstance and being in the right place at the right time, along with a very strong desire put me where I needed to be and gave me momentum to stick with it, even when it seemed I was doing this mystery thing for mystery purposes. So I would say the most important step is the initial one. Whatever it is that you are going after, you really have to want it, and believe that it is in your reach even if you have no idea how that is supposed to happen.
TVH: Tell us about your design process. How do you get from an idea in your head to finished collection?
LH: I make lists. I draw. I take a picture of the drawing. I redraw on the computer. I work out my repeats. I color. I recolor. I recolor. I send to my imagery to Andover. They put it in there computers. We clean it, and finish it. It gets sent to the mill. 6 weeks later I get strike offs. 6 weeks later I have sample yardage. 8 weeks later, you have yardage. The whole process takes anywhere from 5-8 months from start to finish.
The most important thing that I can say about starting a collection is that all ideas are valuable, and you should never shut yourself down/dismiss ideas before you even get started.
TVH: Every time I’ve seen you, you’ve been wearing a dress made of your own fabric. Now that you’re doing more dressmaking, do you think about how your designs will look as garments as you create them?
LH: ALWAYS!!!! It’s interesting to look at my work BD (before dressmaking) and AD (after dressmaking). The BD work is meant really for quilting and making quilty things, because that was my intention for the fabric, but the AD fabric in my opinion is so much more versatile. It can do all of the things.
TVH: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you get a lot of your inspiration from your travels. What sources of inspiration have you found over the past year, when you stayed closer to home?
LH: My garden has been an endless source of inspiration. It’s amazing that as your life changes, new things fill up the space of used to be things. I think you will see my garden reflected in my work from now on, in some way or another.
TVH: At 27, you’re already a seasoned veteran of the quilting industry with nine collections to your name. How do you see the industry changing?
LH: This is a discussion that I have had with quite a few industry peeps, shop owners, as well as consumers. The industry is moving too fast. And I don’t mean by way of progress. I think that our progress towards apparel, and other sewing adventures is on a really good trajectory. How I mean too fast is the life span and pace of fabric collections. Somehow we put the whole thing into hyperdrive, and it seems like there are a million collections a year, and no collection seems to last more than 5 months. So instead of having a handful of good strong choices, people are presented with a gross amount of mediocre choices, and if they don’t like what’s out right now, all they have to do is wait two weeks to see what’s new. This is hard on everyone. It’s hard on me as an artist, to produce work that just by way of the system has a significantly shorter life span, and therefore is less valuable then work I did in the past. It’s hard on shops, having to promote more, photograph, make samples, all together push new fabric, because there is so much new, and therefore not nearly the re-orders/ sustaining of a line you’ve already invested in. And the consumers have serious fabric ADD. Everyone has become accustom to this pace, but I don’t think it’s really sustainable. So as a designer, who wants to keep designing… I am looking into solutions. We all should be looking into solutions. It’s all feeling a bit too much like a race to me. TMI??? I don’t know…
TVH: You already have two collections out in 2013 (well, they hit UK stores this year, anyway!) – Constellations and the full set of Pearl Bracelets. What else can we look forward to seeing from you this year?
LH: Cats in my homeland. That’s all I can give you.