Helen Lawrence Interview, a chat with the British designer to watch

INSIDER’S GUIDE; Central St Martin’s graduate Helen Lawrence is one of the fashion designers to watch in 2015.

Every year there’s one designer who sets the tongues wagging: Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, Holly Fulton, Erdem… This year the buzz at London Fashion Week was around young British designer Helen Lawrence.

Fresh from a tenure with Fashion East, the coveted platform for emerging designers, this AW15 was Helen Lawrence’s first solo presentation. Her use of knitwear employs a new aesthetic in which beauty can be found in the flaws of the garment’s structure as well as the seams. The way in which Lawrence’s clothes work with the body creates a new silhouette, working with and against the human form in a rhythm all of it’s own. Lawrence is without a doubt a fashion designer to watch, and whilst her collection may not be for everyone her innovation is impossible to ignore.

For AW15 Helen Lawrence took her inspiration from the tape bound sculptures of artist Phyllida Barlow. ‘I wanted to create knitwear that would in someway bind itself around the body, so I combined elastic and lambswool yarns to create garments that hugged and bulged from different parts of the body.”

Helen Lawrence S/S 15 (credit: London is the Reason)

Lawrence is coming up alongside many innovative young British designers. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, her fellow Central St Martins student, Fashion East compatriot and current menswear superstar Craig Green is someone she has already collaborated with. ‘It was really exciting to translate the fabrics into menswear, which I’d never had the opportunity to do before.’ Lawrence also cites fellow Fashion East-er Louise AslopCaitlin Price and Sadie Williams as the designers to keep an eye on for the future.

What renders Helen Lawrence as a designer that stands out from the crowd is that she is not only interesting from an aesthetic perspective but from a technical one too, with the fabrics that she uses created in house. ‘It’s great to be able to completely control the structure of the material, and how it behaves on the body.’

A Newcastle native, Lawrence has settled in London and shows no signs of leaving. ‘London has a great support network for emerging designers. I’ve been able to create my collections and set up my business with the amazing support from Fashion East, British Fashion Council, and Centre for Fashion Enterprise.’

Designer Helen Lawrence

And whilst instagram is flooded daily with glittering images of life on The Frow, Helen Lawrence has no pretensions of having the time to enjoy the glamour that the fashion industry sells. Dressed in jeans and a baggy t-shirt, snacking on granny smith apples and peanut M&Ms and listening to Fleetwood Mac the designer will be spending the time between now and the next round of shows in September ‘completing the last of SS15 production, starting AW15 production and SS16 sampling.’ 

An easy life it is not, but for this young British designer the hard work is destined to pay off.

Helen Lawrence AW15


CW: Old favourite?

HL: Dover Street Market

CW: New discovery?

HL: Little Ivy’s – Clapton

CW: Best-loved walk or view?

HL: Along regents canal from Broadway Market down through Victoria Park, and over to Hackney Wick. Finished off with a beer and pizza from Crate.

CW: Greatest meal you’ve ever had in London?

HL: Steak at Hill & Szrok – Broadway Market

CW: Favourite local restaurant/bar/pub?

HL: Restaurant: White Rabbit – Dalston and Pub: Talbot, Englefield Road on a Sunday – Best roast dinner!

Hidden gem no-one else knows about? 

HL: Arcola Theatre,  Dalston

CW: Public/cultural/artistic figure you admire?

HL:Phyllida Barlow

First published on Culture Whisper, 16 March 2015

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