When Stanwells Met Laura Orchant: The Interview

Laura Orchant Tigerlily Blue SS18

Exciting news everyone, we’ve been chatting to Laura Orchant, one of the most talented luxury scarf designers we’ve ever had the the pleasure of meeting.

Those of you who’ve been by our blog recently may have already seen that the new Laura Orchant SS18 scarves collection appeared in our January Brand of the Month spot – and well-deserved it was, too.

But, ever since these beautiful scarves arrived at the store, we’ve been dying to ask Laura some one-on-one questions about her work – so we did.

So without further ado, here’s what this lovely lady had to say:

#1 – Hi Laura, wonderful to be chatting to you. So let’s start at the very beginning of the Laura Orchant story: When did you first realise you had a talent for drawing?

From a very young age I have always loved to draw! You’d catch me doodling on every piece of paper I could get my hands on, and I’m still doing it today!

# 2 – We heard you created your business plan while still studying – that is no mean feat! How did you fit your plans in around your college work?

I was fortunate to have a great relationship with Rebecca, my business partner. I began speaking with her, and when we realised we had similar ambitions we were able to support each other and start materialising a plan together.

# 3 – And what gave you the idea to focus on scarves?

I have always had a love of scarves! My grandmother was a collector and I used to dress up in as many scarves as I could possibly wear as a child, so the appreciation was always there.

Then, while studying fashion I realised my true love of print design, so I started to apply my work in a way that could stay timeless and yet be playful, exciting and rejuvenating to this wardrobe classic.

#4 – Are there any designers out there who have influenced you along the way?

I love Emilio Pucci and Dolce and Gabbana for their bold design style, as well as Elie Saab.
I truly appreciate so many designers in all their individuality, and I get really inspired by even the smallest details.

#5 – Speaking of inspiration – where in particular do you find most of yours?

As I mentioned above, it can be anything, from the smallest leaf to the structure of a building. I find the mundane is often interesting and unexpected, so I have been drawing from all sorts of unnoticeables recently and am loving what I’m seeing!

#6 – When it’s time for you to begin a new season collection, where do you start? Could you give us a little insight into your incredible creative process?

There really is no rhyme or reason – it is quite hard for me to put into words but I’ll do my best. I usually start by looking through my design archives, going to an exhibition or visiting a show. I tend to take a lot of photos, collect books and jot ideas down all the time, so really it’s about sitting down with a pencil and paper and sketching. From there I get my colour ideas and medium inspiration to play around with and create.

#7 – What is your favourite stage of the design and production process?

I love to draw! That is a true passion of mine. But I also love choosing fabrics in Italy to reflect the designs,  seeing my ideas come to life, and seeing the collection worn by someone and how it could transform someone’s confidence – can I say all of the above?

It is not without a lot of hard work, but it does have its rewards. I am involved in all aspects of the business, including negotiating, printing, and meeting like minded people. There is a real joy from walking away from a potential client who is equally as excited for the prints as I am, knowing you have made a difference – however small it might be.  

#8 – We hear you’re going to be working with Universal Music to produce a range of Take That scarves this year following the success of your Rolling Stones range back in 2016; how exciting! What will this project involve?

In this project I have been working on a subtle play on the famous Take That logo, creating a hypnotising 3D effect. Take That and their fans are very passionate about the band, so it was a real honour to be asked to come up with a range of designs that would do justice to the logo and, most importantly, please the band and their fans. The launch of the scarves has been timed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band, and fans are awaiting news of a 25th anniversary tour, the line-up of which has still not been confirmed and is causing a frenzy of speculation. Exciting stuff!

#9 – You currently have an exciting resort wear collection in the pipeline; what made you decide to expand into clothing? Did it present many new challenges compared to scarf design?

Scarves will always be at the core of Laura Orchant , as this allows an entire complex print to be showcased in a simple form. However, because the prints are so vibrant and playful, I felt resort wear including kimonos and ponchos are a natural fit for the designs and the organic next step for us.

Quality is something really important to me, so every piece we create is carefully considered. I like to find shapes that will be flattering, fashionable and bold, ensuring we can print and produce everything to the highest standards.

#10 – Do you have a favourite piece from the current SS18 collection now on sale at Stanwells?

The supernova is a really magical print that I enjoyed creating. It feels new and exciting in terms of design, but still keeping the Laura Orchant essence of style.

#11 – Excellent choice, we love that one too! So what’s next for the Laura Orchant brand? Do you have any new products or ventures in the pipeline?

This year we have a few exciting collaborations in the pipeline as well as a focus on our international markets with new partners in Canada and the US.

#12 – That sounds exciting! And last but not least, we have to ask – who is your ultimate style icon?

I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. She always appeared so beautiful and classy, and there was an effortless elegance pouring from her as if she was just made that way. My Grandma had a similar demeanour, a timeless classic of a lady if you like.    

Thanks so much Laura for taking the time to chat to us, we’re so excited to have the new Laura Orchant SS18 collection here at Stanwells! Take a look at the full Laura Orchant scarves collection here.

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