Amelia’s Magazine | Lu Flux: playful upcycled ethical fashion design

Why the name?
I made up the name when I was at my family home on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, ask where I collect endless pieces of sea polished glass from the beach. I combined that with my first name Clementine because I thought it was kind of sweet.

Where do you work from?
I used to live and work on a little leaking narrow boat by Springfield Park in north London. But I now have a proper studio in Dalston with a big work desk. Makes life a little easier – less rocking!

You aren’t a trained jewellery designer, so what prompted you to start Little Glass Clementine?
I taught myself to make jewellery so that I could support myself through my degree at SOAS, where I studied Anthropology and World Religions, and I ran stalls at the markets in Portobello and Camden for the best part of three years. Then I became busy restoring gypsy caravans and being a climate activist, but now I am in love with the discovery of beautiful antiques and unusual stones that I transform into sculptural necklaces. I quickly realised that my market is high-end, where my statement necklaces will be recognised as art.

How does showing at Estethica compare with working on a market stall?
It’s a bit like being back in the market, bantering with passers by, drinking coffee and chatting about my jewels. But with a few distinctive differences; there is no reggae playing, I’m not freezing cold, and my prices and pieces have changed – quite dramatically.

How do you put each necklace together?
I arrange all the components on an old piece of black velvet, making compositions out of the different objects and gems until I am satisfied. Then I start weaving them all together and hope very much I can recreate what I had when I laid them out. I only use wire and I never glue or make holes in the objects – so there is always a period while I’m working where everything looks like a big entangled mess. Strangely enough I am never convinced that a necklace is right until about five minutes before it is finished – when suddenly one stone, broach or button will bring the whole thing together.
Lu Flux S/S 2011 by Lesley Barnes
Lu Flux S/S 2011 by Lesley Barnes.

Lu Flux was born Elizabeth Flux, order but gained her delightful moniker thanks to her little brother’s inability to say her full name. She hails from the Isle of Wight, unhealthy “a very lovely quintessentially English part of the UK” and she designs against the grain of glamorous fashion, viagra approved making eccentric playfulness desirable.

How much did working with Bernard Wilhelm affect your aesthetic?
I was interested in the wonderful silliness of fashion before I went to work with Bernhard, but he reaffirmed to me that it is possible to have a successful fashion label without a focal point of glamour and sex. For me fashion is a tool with which I can portray fun and humour in a beautifully crafted, wearable way.

What is the most exciting bit of fabric you have come across on your hunt for treasures?
There are so many! I really enjoy finding old patchwork quilts and samplers where the fabrics have faded over time. I have devoted a whole wall of my studio to floral cottons, so I am quite spoilt for choice yet there is always room for a few more…

Lu Flux A/W 2010 by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Lu Flux A/W 2010 by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

How do you set about creating your more sculptural pieces?
I normally start out by doing some experiments and manipulations with fabrics to see what works on different scales with different weights of fabric. Then I do some more studies and drawings of the fabric until I feel it will work within a garment. Lastly I construct a demonstration version of the garment (a toile) until I feel it is right.

Why is it important for you to be ethical?
I think it is important for everyone to be ethical, in every aspect of life. I don’t think that I can save the world with what I am doing, but I believe that if everyone worked and lived in a more ethical way the world would not be in the state it is in now. In regards to fashion, I passionately believe that a garment can be both beautiful and ecologically minded. I will always retain my original aim to design and manufacture fashion in a way that recognises its imprint on society and the environment but I would not like this ethos to distract from my capabilities as a designer…

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Lu Flux’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bernard Wilhelm, ,Eco fashion, ,Elizabeth Flux, ,Ethical Fashion, ,isle of wight, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Lu Flux, ,Patchwork, ,Rachel De Ste. Croix, ,recycling, ,Upcycling

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