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Elfie Q&A with Victoria Roper-Curzon - Best UK children's fashion brand 2014 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

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What is your name and job title?

Victoria Roper-Curzon  'Elfie Designer and Creative Director'

What did you love to wear as a child?

My sister and I loved wearing knitted cardigans and jumpers made by our spanish grandmother in bright colours with multicoloured buttons and hand embroidered birds or flowers sewn ontop.  Our mother would dress us with these layered on more traditional 'Laura Ashley' pieces and this is essentially the Elfie look- a mix between classic and eccentric fun.

What is so great about children’s fashion?

I love that with children's fashion there is more room to mix and match. The best looks are when the children create their own outfits, which somehow seem to always be better then if a grown up had chosen them.

What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collection?

I love our Wednesday Dress as Wednesday Addams is one of our style icons, the spider cardigan and also our Wizard party hat is just fab. To avoid fighting over it, my kids have one each so they can all cast spells on me!

How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?

Our designs are not so much trend led, we keep the essence  of what we started with but update it with new pieces that can be added into the mix and transforms into something completely new and original. I design each collection based on what I think is missing in my children's wardrobes and what would be sweet, fun and cool for them and me to look at. I am inspired by quirkier grown up designers such as Charlotte Olympia, Anya Hindmarch or Moschino who like to have fun with fashion.  

How does it feel when you see a child wearing your designs?

I actually feel quite shy but, of course, incredibly proud. It happened to me recently that I spotted a new child at my sons nursery wearing one of my dresses. I was chatting to the mum for a while before I plucked up the courage to tell her! I suppose it's my English side, not wanting to show off!

Where do you find design inspiration? 

From my children and their friends but also vintage illustrations in children's books.  I'm forever buying more claiming they need new stories for bed time but really they're for me to be inspired with the beautiful imagery.  We also love the two great 'Tims'- Tim Walker with his amazing photography and Tim Burton's films, they both create visuals of magical but not cutesy worlds which we are obsessed with!

What is so great about being ‘made in the UK’?

I design all our collections at home in the New Forest or in our studio in London.  The UK has such a wonderful heritage and visiting old villages in the countryside, or in town, amazing places which we have here like the Museum of Childhood, or shops such as Liberty's, is wonderful to aid the creative process and inspire.  I also find that the British are not afraid to wear their own style, whether it be slightly 'shabby chic' or eccentric and this the look we love the most.

Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?

Ever since I had children I subscribed to Junior and have been following the awards for ages. Our label has grown from our first season, nearly four years ago, when we started with five knitwear styles, and we wanted to wait to enter when we finally got the whole look complete so that the character of the label is visible and all the magic is there.

What do you predict for the future of children’s fashion? 

For us I am working on my own illustrations for printing on fabric which will be mixed into our collections. Our style is based from all the wonderful vintage  children's clothes and a lot of that is stunning tweed coats and smocked dresses and the colour Mustard! But vintage is also amazing retro prints on shirts and tshirts and I am really looking forward to expanding in keeping with our slightly dark yet humorous 'fairytale' vibe. I see that kids really want to feel comfortable so leggings, tshirts and sweat shirts are really in but hopefully not for the entire outfit. We greatly admire labels such as Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Wovenplay which are original and artisanesque and I predict that there will be more of this kind to come...Cool printed leggings with fairisle knitwear and a clown hat or a printed sweatshirt with corduroy floral skirt and a frilly shirt is what we have in store for the future of Elfie which is so exciting!

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