February 26 2021 – Mercantile London
Meadows is a romantic and feminine collection designed in Hackney, East London, by Australian born, Central Saint Martins graduate, Louise Markey. Inspired by Victoriana, prairie-style, and folklore the collection embodies a distinct point of difference and whilst it draws on various historical periods is infused with a wearable, modern sensibility.
We caught up with founder and womenswear designer Louise to ask her about the beginnings of her brand, the new SS21 collection and if the lockdown has affected her design process.
For those not familiar with your brand, can you explain how you started in fashion and why you began Meadows alongside your other label LF Markey ?
I was born in Australia and developed a love for sewing and textiles in my teens. I went on to study fashion design in Sydney and later in London at Central Saint Martins. Initially designed surf wear in Sydney but realized that my true passion was in ready-to-wear. In 2002, I relocated to London to design for Burberry , and in 2013 I started L.F.Markey, inspired by utility wear and bleu de travail.
In 2018 I launched Meadows, which is a romantic and feminine collection inspired by Victoriana, prairie-style and folklore. Centred around dresses, the collection is inspired by various sources. The white cotton styles with a focus on embroidery and lace draw their inspiration largely from Victorian undergarments. Floral printed cotton which is inspired from the Victoriana revival of the 1970's. The collection also dips into a wide selection of historical inspiration from Tudor to the Renaissance, and fuses them with a modern sensibility.
How big is the design team for Meadows ?
I do all the design for both labels, except for L.F.Markey menswear and childrenswear (coming soon) which is designed by one of my team.
What is the usual design process for the collections and how has that had to change in lockdown ?
For Meadows, I am inspired by historical garments, pre-Raphaelite paintings, the 70's, the 80's... and I infuse them with a modern sensibility. As the collection evolves, we now have bestsellers that come back every season.
I always multitask regardless of lockdown as I have 3 kids and 2 labels.
With the pandemic encouraging conversations about a shift to a more considered consumption, how is Meadows maintaining and improving its sustainable practises ?
Meadows is committed to make clothes which are made in a safe, ethical environment where working conditions are fair. Our factories have signed on to our internal ethical and safety compliance documents which we manage, inspect and enforce internally.
We are currently in the process of moving our products into Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic textiles and hope to have achieved this by 2022. To date, 90% of our cotton is organic. All of our wool yarn for knitted products are now sourced exclusively from suppliers who adhere to the Responsible Wool Standard.
Without buyers attending 'live' fashion shows, and the street style focus that parts of the industry relies on for inspiration, how you think lockdown will affect trends ?
People realise that comfort is important in the shape and materials of clothing. This has always been a key aspect of the design of both L.F.Markey and Meadows.
With the popularity of traditional skills and crafts such as knitting and hand sewing booming in lockdown, do you feel this will help with an understanding towards a slower approach to fashion and have you developed any new skills as a result ?
Hopefully yes. This is a slow movement but the awareness on the damage this is caused by fast fashion industry is spreading.
How has your personal style changed in lockdown, what have been your pieces on rotation ?
I have always dressed with comfort in mind and lockdown has only reinforced this! My day-to-day attire is quite utilitarian and functional.
The SS21 collection has launched on-line at Mercantile, do you have a favourite piece ?
I love the maxi Lavender Dress and the whole Toile de Jouy collection which, on closer inspection, is an occult inspired and gothic take on a traditional design.
SS21 images via Meadows
Shop the SS21 Meadows collection here