In Conversation: LF Markey

From self professed hobby label to full fledged womenswear favourite, we have been loud and proud devotees of LF Markey since the store opened back in 2014. Eight seasons on and the brand are part of our DNA. The latest collection brings us the considered work wear cuts and modern art inspired colour palette they are so loved for. We spoke to Louise herself about the intention behind this season’s aesthetic and the importance of not taking things too seriously.

Above The new season lookbook with the Classic Slacks in Navy and Fine Merino Polo Neck in Cream

Can we get started with talking about how and where LF Markey began?

I launched LF Markey in London when I finished my masters at Central Saint Martins. For many years it was a hobby label, run alongside working for other labels. In 2013 I devoted myself full-time to LF Markey.

What do you think makes an LF Markey piece so recognisable?

LF Markey pieces are easily recognisable by the simple geometric shapes, bright colours and often big pockets. I also use signature bar-tack stitch detailing which often is a giveaway.

Above The Henri Top in Cocoa (coming soon) and the Corduroy Wide Leg Trousers in Brown

The cut of your designs is consistently praised in store, can you explain how work wear influences this?

For me, comfort is key! I use the voluminous and roomy cuts of traditional workwear and evolve them into daywear for women.

What have been your main points of reference when creating this season’s collection?

AW17 is very 70s influences, lots of high waisted trousers, corduroy and rich autumnal colours. I also continue to be interested in Amish clothing and simple cotton garments.

Above The Corduroy Wide Leg Trousers in Brown

Do you have a favoured piece from AW17? How will you be wearing your designs as the seasons change?

The Classic Slacks are a new trouser cut for AW17 and are my favourites! The trousers are always a popular piece for me and are definitely trans-seasonal. I keep them rolling all year round.

Your interest in art and design is unmistakable. Can you tell us more about a few artists, designers or movements that particularly inspire you?

I’m a sucker for modern minimalists like Donald Judd and Ellsworth Kelly, and great colourists like Helen Frankenthaler. I’m often inspired by a new artist or movement each season and they will influence the prints and colour palettes.

Above The Toby Jumper in Orange (coming soon)

Can you talk us through the process of creating your latest look book?

As it was 70s influenced, I found this amazing house in Nottinghamshire which was like stepping into a midcentury time-warp. I had special knitted beanies made to look like little amish bonnets. We all drove up and shot it in one day in the middle of winter- we had so few hours to shoot it, by 4pm it was pitch black!

One of the best names ever for a piece of womenswear design has to be your ‘Big Boy Jeans’. Is remaining playful important to LF Markey as a brand?

Yes it definitely is a big part of the brand. I try not to take it all so seriously if possible, it’s stressful running your own business so is important to not get too worked up.

Above The Coady Dress in Cocoa

Your oversized, wide cuts and tailoring could easily be unisex, why do you choose to focus on womenswear?

Menswear is coming! I briefly dabbled in it before but shifted focus back to womenswear as I don’t have the time or resources to do both just yet. But it is not too far off.

Each of your designs remains feminine despite typically more masculine styling or cut, what do you think of the blossoming gender neutral movement in fashion?

I think any movement which encourages people to behave or dress how they actually feel on the inside has got to be a good thing.

Above The Maury Top in Cocoa and the Wrap Apron Skirt in Indigo

What does the freedom of being an independent brand mean for LF Markey’s identity?

The freedom of being independent is exactly why I got into this game! A 9 to 5 job just wasn’t for me, and although I work harder now than ever, at least it is on my terms. As an independent brand I also am able to put some really out-there things into the collection and see how they do, something I’d never be permitted if I wasn’t independent.

To round things off, where do you hope to see both yourself and the brand in a few years time?

Big things are happening for the label next year, lots of new developments, but you’ll have to watch this space!

Words by Rebecca Field. Shop the first drop of the collection in store and online now.