Fifluence Introducing: Lilly Richardson and League Collective
In the run-up to our next event with ethical sportswear brand League Collective we want to introduce you to the woman behind the brand, Lilly Richardson. Grab a cuppa and get ready to find out more about the collection and that incredible hoodie that every one is talking about.
Tell us a bit about your background in fashion?
I began making dresses when I was about 5 years old, and would make them out of anything I could find.. from plastic to bubble wrap to car tyres, you name it! I packed in my education at 16 and moved to London to become a fashion designer. I began interning with dress makers and Milliners whilst taking dress commissions on the side for leaving balls, weddings, proms etc.
And what about sports? Have you enjoyed them since an early age?
I have always been very active, and very much an outdoors person. From sailing, running, biking, horse riding... and don't think I was quite mentally ready for the huge change of moving from the wilderness into the heart of London. I ended up becoming quite sad, whilst also getting insomnia from the crazy hours into the night I would spend dress making after I finished work.
I used to (unintentionally) sleep in a hot yoga studio every morning until the teacher asked me if I'd like to get some sleep prior to the class and actually join in. This was life changing, and I immediately fell in love with yoga. I was then asked if I'd like to be a yoga teacher, so took up the offer on a whim, and have now been teaching full time for the last 5 years!
We hear you recently got involved with Tribe's Run For Love campaign, tell us a bit about that.
I came across Tribe through the guys who made my crowdfunding video - They also did Tribe's. Two of my ambassadors did the first leg of the 2000km run, which was a brilliant chance for me to put the sample clothes to the test with them wearing them.
When I went to meet the girls and give them their samples... they some how roped me into doing it too. So joined them on the last leg for the last 20 miles.
It was my first ever (almost) marathon, and I could not have enjoyed it more! Tribe is a very special community, and although I always miss their running groups because I teach in the evenings, I hope I can be even more involved with them in the future.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I have never really seen another option. There is no other job I would like to have, and have therefore always been self employed... even with yoga I am freelance!
Design has always been my passion. I lose myself and find complete freedom when I am creating new designs. It's like someone is feeding me knowledge I've never thought of, and I just channel it into a piece of clothing.
What has been the most exciting moment so far?
The highlights include creating and filming the crowdfunding video and actually raising the money!
I cant really explain how amazing the feeling was when the hoodies finally arrived from the factory. To finally see something you have been working on tirelessly arrive in your hands, and it looks exactly how you pictured it. This is just the first step, but it's enough to keep me going. The next most exciting thing? I will be exhibiting and selling these hoodies at Boardmasters Festival All next week! Come and check us out :)
Have there been any really tough parts?
The whole thing has been pretty tough.... going into business on your own, in the rag trade.. I wouldn't recommend it.
Over the last 2 years I have had to change factories over 5 times, in 3 different countries, before finally moving to the UK. You never really plan for the set backs, and 2 years is a very long time. My patience, energy, friendships and bank, have been truly tested to the limit. ( I think I am only half human!)
Your collection is made from 100% recycled fabrics, that's pretty cool. How do you achieve this?
Since first designing this collection 2 years ago, technology has rapidly changed in the fashion industry. As a designer with my morals set on caring for our earth, it is paramount that I change with these progressions to create the most eco friendly products I possibly can. When I first started designing, recycled fabrics weren't that popular, but due to this increase in technology, it is incredible the quality of recycled fabrics these days. The hoodies are so soft, and I am beyond excited for you to see the rest of the collection, because the fabric is beyond what I ever hoped I would be able to use. So much research and endless searching has finally brought me to this unbeatable performance recycled fabric.
Why is creating a sustainable brand so important to you and do you think that more pressure should be put on bigger businesses to act with a greater regard for the environment?
Although I have been in the city for 7 years (OMG!?) I could not live here if I knew I didn't have the freedom of nature and countryside to go back to. To think that this could all disappear because of human consumption and how much we are polluting this earth, terrifies me. Something has to be done, a change needs to happen, and if by starting a business where I can aid this change towards a more sustainable way of living then that is what I must do.
Some bigger businesses are now leaning toward recycled fabrics, and using plastic collected from the sea etc. but their production lines are still too vast. Like Organic food, the option is always there, and its up to the customer to buy it. Without customers and people being properly educated as to why or how we can help change our current polluted environment, bigger businesses will continue mass producing for the need of their customers. We live in a fast fashion society, and that is our biggest issue. People have lost sentiment towards their belongings because they own too much and so much is available. Bigger companies need to learn to add proper value to the product they create, helping their customer re connect with what they're buying and why. Do we really need 10 pairs of trainers..?
To meet Lilly and hear more about her story, take part in her yoga class and see her debut collection in person, join us on Saturday 26th August. For more info hit the button below.
Thank you Lilly for sharing your photos to bring this Fitfluence Introducing post alive.