Boyish without being childish. Masculine without being blokey. Lou Dalton has a nifty knack of desigining clothes that celebrate the best of British menswear.
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Growing up in small town Shropshire, Lou learnt fast to dream big and not take “no” for an answer. Now residing in an old pub in Kennington, as London’s menswear designers have pushed themselves into the international fashion foglight, Lou’s been at the front of the field. Proudly possessing an impeccable eye for identifying how style-savvy 21st century lads ought to dress, Lou’s clothes have an air of something experimental, whilst remaining inherently masculine. Consistently flanked by an army of super neat looks, this one woman show has steadily gained momentum season after season. As she readies herself for the main-stage, presenting her SS13 pieces for London Collections: Men, i-D online had a quick snoop around her studio.
Can you describe yourself in 140 characters? A hardworking, likes to swear, optmistic, kind of girl.
Who were your fashion icons as a child? My grandmother, she had a hat and a shoe for every occasion, I was mesmerised by her wardrobe it was so, so vast. I was also fascinated by the colourful Zandra Rhodes, I remember sitting on the family sofa at the age of about 12 watching Zandra Rhodes on this TV program called ‘This Is Your Life”. Fashion seemed so glamorous.
Whatʼs your earliest memory of London? I came to London for the first time as part of a field trip with my religious studies group at school, it was very overwhelming. We were taken to the theatre to see 42nd Street, they had these huge dimes which were being rolled onto the stage and then pushed on to their side, the sound of this was just beyond amazing. Also heading into TOPSHOP and being overwhelmed with the selection of wares on show…
As a designer how does London inspire you? It is a very open and welcoming city with such diversity. That in itself is very inspiring.
Dawn till dusk, could you describe a day in the studio at the moment? Of late; up at 6, in by 7 with finishing anywhere up to the dawn’s chorus. I pretty much know what I will be working on for the day the night before, I like to try and plan my day, so at current, organinsing sampling for the new collection, preparing samples to be machined in the studio, cutting patterns, answering any press requests etc and dealing with lead up to the show. I get a lot more done in the early hours of the morning which is when the studio is at it quietest.
How much does the opinions of others affect the work you do? I am totally open to constructive criticism, it is important to be so. As a designer you very much live your life in a bubble so it is good to take note of others. I do know what my strengths are and don’t look to be led in terms of the collection, I have an idea I’ll discuss it openly and I’ll go from there. I do believe in going with your gut instinct at all times.
What is the Lou Dalton man dancing to this Summer? I have a selection of CD compilations given to me from the fabulous Jim Stanton of Horse Meat Disco, also whatever 6 music play on a day-to-day basis.
Whatʼs now? The show on the 15th of June then off to Paris for whole-selling, AW12 production in mid-flow and due into store end June early July
Whatʼs next? An exciting project for Opening Ceremony as well as a Harvey Nichols, along with another great store which I can not really discuss at the moment. A shoe collab for AW13, so a lot to be getting on with!
Text: Sean Baker
Photography: Lou Dalton
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