We chat to Laura Douglas, Head of Design at Little Joule and Baby Joule, who has fantastically fashionable memories of her father and gives an insight into what to wear this season...
Seaside brights and English garden party inspiration at Little Joule for SS13
Why did you decide to work in childrenswear?
I love the sense of fun you can weave into children's clothing, like we do at Little Joule. It’s not serious, you can have a sense of humour: be it a quirky appliqué or some funny addition to a print that you wouldn’t initially notice. I love the fact that there are surprise elements to our collections that children discover and remember.
What are your earliest fashion memories – what did you wear?
I always remember being encouraged by my father to experiment with clothing. He was a child of the '60s with an unhealthy obsession with fashion and music. I remember my friends were always so embarrassed by their parents but I loved being seen with him. He would wear beautifully tailored suits, Fedora hats and these quite imposing long wool overcoats. He was always so impeccably dressed. I remember coveting a pair of red suede brogues he bought me from London when I was about ten years old.
When you think of your childrenswear label, what words spring to mind?
Fun, colourful and quite eccentric.
What were your inspirations for the childrenswear SS13 collection?
My theme for the season always has real relevance to us a brand; something makes sense to both us and our customer. We then weave the relevant trend into the shapes, prints and colour palette. Our Little Joule collection is about being authentic.
This season our key themes were: English Garden Party, with quite a cheeky take on this very British summer pastime and Seaside Brights, a Joules interpretation on the classic nautical story.
What are your top three tips for dressing children this Spring-Summer?
Lightweight layers, and plenty of them! With the unpredictable British weather, a child’s wardrobe needs to be adaptable during the summer months.
Choose clothing that both you and your children love. It makes getting the family ready on a busy morning a lot easier. We always try to make our collections fun for children, that way they will love to wear them.
Pick items that can be dressed up or down. Our signature Bretton tops look great with an old pair of jeans or smart shorts. They also wash and tumble dry; which means mums love them just as much.
Do you have any set style rules when designing for children?
Most important for me is ensuring we deliver good quality clothing that will last. It’s also so important to listen to your customers - that means listening to children, not just their parents - as they are at the centre of everything we do.
What are your top three must have pieces from the SS13 collection?
Our Billie dungarees for girls. They look great with tomboy stripes or pretty ditsys underneath.
Our signature Joules border print party dresses. They are always inspired by our childhood memories.
Our must-have Breton tops, they are so beautifully designed in a great soft fabrics with typical Joules quirky colour combinations.
Can you give us your hot tip for autumn winter 2013 childrenswear?
Texture is key. It’s about bringing depth to the collection with interesting fabric choices. The major print trend is perfect for Joules as this is ultimately what we are known and loved for.
Colour is also prevalent as a macro trend for women’s and men’s. It’s about brave combinations and not being afraid to experiment, in my mind it’s so much easier on kidswear as they can be more fun and frivolous.
Do you have a muse when you design your collections?
Not a specific muse as such. We have such loyal customers who engage with us daily. They love to tell us about their lives and what they get up to, which is incredibly important to us as a lifestyle brand. We also have a lot of parents at Joules so children are always popping into the office and trying on the collections. They are the real judges!
How does it feel when you see a child in one of your designs?
Really proud… I remember the first time it ever happened, I was in Cornwall. It took a fair amount of self-restrain not to run up to the parent and tell them: “I designed that”…
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