In conversation with LucyJones.
After graduating in Fashion Textiles in 1978, Lucy launched her Lingerie business in 1980, having worked as a designer for a high street Lingerie brand. Her fresh and innovative designs sold in to the best department stores and boutiques in London and across the country, followed later by stores in Italy, Germany, France and New York.
Over the decade, she honed her talent for beautifully designed and detailed lingerie , alongside consultancy and part time teaching at key universities in the UK and overseas, which ultimately led to a full time career in fashion education. Her passion for lingerie never left her, neither did the desire to relaunch her brand.
Here is Lucy herself, telling her story of past and future business plans, her successful career, and what to expect from her new and exciting collection.
Tell us about how you started Lucy Jones Lingerie way back at the beginning of the 1980’s...
“I always had the drive to start my own business - all the way through my final year at Liverpool Polytechnic - that was my goal. During that time I was drawn to vintage lingerie and underwear – the styles that pre-date the advent of Lycra and other stretch technologies in fabric. In those days style lines and fit were all-important - and I loved (and still do) the discipline of creating this type of close fit and design detail in other ways.
But, on graduation, when I was offered a job as a Lingerie Designer with a large London based design company, the dream of starting my own business was put on one side whilst I learnt the trade, and gained experience of the commercial sector. It was here that I began to see a gap in the market - it was two gaps really - one which was the chasm that separated lingerie and fashion, and the other which was the lack of luxury, design led lingerie brands - everything was very traditional and conservative in the lingerie market back then.”
What inspired you when you were young - what sparked this interest in fashion?
I had always been a designer-maker - right back to my early childhood, sewing and making was my major pastime and pleasure - I was obsessed with designers like Jean Muir, Ossie Clarke and Celia Birtwell, Bill Gibb, Gina Fratini, and Zandra Rhodes. As a young teenager passionate about clothes and fashion, these designers helped me to set high standards in design and also the finish of my garments - whether it was a dolls dress, a pair of trousers, a Tartan tailored coat or an evening dress. My goal, when I was younger, was to become a sample machinist - perhaps working for one of the Parisian couture houses - I knew that designers had to have them to make their designs come to life. I thought that as one of my talents was making beautifully finished garments, that this was what I would do. It was a tutor at Kidderminster College (where I did my O and A levels) who suggested that I too could become a designer - and apply to one of the Degrees which were being offered at the new polytechnics in the UK! This was a totally amazing thought, but one that I fully embraced, (only 12 colleges offered BA Honours in Fashion Textiles back in 1975), so, my career path changed somewhat and I am glad it did. I did my research to find out where I wanted to study - I think I visited most of the polytechnics and art schools offering fashion - but Liverpool was the one for me.
Now you are re-launching Lucy Jones Lingerie.. Why now?
“The time is right - it’s been in the ether for a while - there has been a consistent interest in lingerie for a number of seasons, and I know that my design aesthetic is still very different - there is nothing really like it. There are many more brands out there than there were, so lots of competition - but, Lucy Jones Lingerie is a high-end brand - beautifully fashioned with exquisite fabrics and beautiful colours. There are a number of other brands in this sector but it’s all healthy competition....I am very happy to be re-joining what is now in many respects a very different industry - but in others ways it’s still the same - people love exquisitely designed and beautifully made lingerie - it’s the intimacy and love one feels for each piece - it is a very special sector of the fashion market.”