An interview with up-and-coming designer Lara Vincent.
Lara Vincent, a twenty-six year old native of Winnipeg, came to Toronto to pursue her love of design. After completing her degree in fashion design at Ryerson University, Lara went on to study the art of millinery at both George Brown College, and Central St. Martins, in London. She has since lived in New York working for designer (and idol) Betsey Johnson, and has developed a line of hats and headdresses that have been featured in publications like Woman’s Wear Daily, Fashion and Elle Canada. Lara is now back in Toronto, working hard and dreaming big. Miss Vincent’s enchanting collections, all marked by ethereal detail, are wearable art.
For those who aren't familiar with what you do, what is it that you are creating?
I am a magic maker, but I channel the magic through hats and headdresses.
I read on your website, that your headpieces are partly inspired by a book. How do these imaginative pieces come to life?
While studying at Central St Martins in London, I learnt the techniques to put my ideas into form, the Charles Baudelaire book of poems was one of my inspirations for a collection I made that summer .
How long does it take to create each piece?
Each headdress takes about two days. I put a lot of heart into everything I make, it may take longer but I am critical of my work and only want to create at my best.
What is your state of mind when working on your creations? When do you work best?
I work best in the early morning and late evening, it’s when I am most clear and feel the most inspired, either from my dreams at night or my travels through the day.
Do you listen to music when you're working?
Always music. And always a rotation of old and newer. My music rotation right now is Pedro the Lion, Glass Candy, Peter Bjorn and John, and The Travelling Willburies.
Where do you go to buy your fabrics and materials? Do you ever source materials and trimmings internationally?
I buy the leathers and suede from a shop in Toronto and a store in New york. The little good luck charms I collect from all over. There is a magical shop in New York called House of Cards, that’s one of my favorites. Recently I was in Austin, TX, and picked up a bunch of Day of the the Dead [A Latin American Holiday] goodies I use for inspiration.
This year, you were featured in WWD, what was it like seeing your pieces in the so-called bible of fashion?
I got goosebumps. The good kind.
You've lived in Toronto for quite some time now. Have you seen any changes in the fashion industry since you moved?
Not too much. I have worked at Betsey Johnson for six years, and from the retail point of view, Toronto is as good as ever. Toronto has always been one of my favorite cities to shop in.
What was it like interning for Betsey Johnson in New York?
Betsey was amazing to work with. She would skip in every day singing hay hoe through the halls. I always dreamt of it when I was younger, so it was nice to live that dream.
You've lived in New York, London and Toronto. How does the young designer scene differ in each city?
I think it’s all kinda the same, we’re all little pearls in an oyster.
Whose head would you most like to place one of your creations on?
I am most happy when I walk down the street and pass a girl in one. Nothing beats that.
My grandmother has an amazing collection of hats and once told me that she used to never leave the house without one. These days, you don't see as nearly as many hats on men and women. Why do you think that is?
I think in the past few years the hat has made a bit of a comeback. But back in grandma days, sweatpants didn’t exist. I think that has a lot to do with it. Just different times. . .
Do you have any future plans to design a clothing line?
Yeah, I love to make dresses. Lots and lots of dresses.
Do you think, these days, that it is necessary for young designer-entrepreneurs to participate in social media? Do you tweet?
I don’t tweet. I am sure it would help my business if I tweeted, but I'm just not ready for that yet. One step at a time.
You once walked the halls of George Brown College yourself. Any words of wisdom to current George Brown students?
Hmm, I think the most important part of a creative education is to not concern yourself with grades. To learn as much as you can, and to read all your text books, but when things wrap up at the end of the term, you need to stay true to yourself, and grow as an individual.
Lara Vincent’s designs are made to order and can be purchased through her website at www.laravincent.com