Friday, 22 April 2011

Interview with Jerry from Lazy Oaf

At yesterday’s Lazy Oaf SS11 launch, Deerbrains was privileged enough to catch the lovely Jerry from Lazy Oaf to talk about crazy promo video ideas, pet hates and the influence of music on this season’s collection. You can check out their new SS11 collection which is launching online Tuesday 26th and available in store till August 2011.

Name: Jerry O' Sullivan
Age: early 20s
Location: London

To those who haven’t heard much about Lazy Oaf, where did it all begin?

It started off with our designer Gemma Shiel, who finished uni doing textile design, and then she started hand screen printing t shirts in her spare time and selling them on a market stall in Spitalfields. It just developed from there really. This year we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary as a brand, so that’s in October, so there’ll be a big party for that.

What about other graphic designers, do you have any favourites at the moment or particular pet hates about different designs?

There’s some good graphic design stuff happening at the moment, I don’t think there’s a huge amount in the UK of graphic design focused fashion labels for girls. It’s a lot of men’s t-shirts and there are some really good ones, but its more from freelance illustrators who turn designs into t shirts ... I guess we used to do a lot of cartoony and more pun driven designs. There are too many t shirts with logos slapped all over them and clichéd phrases, and we’re over that – there’s just too much of it.

Yeah, especially when Topshop and H&M tapped into it... There’s a lot of cross prints in your SS 11 collection, do you think this witch-house electro ‘explosion’ has merged into today’s trends?

Yeah, I can’t pinpoint the exact stem of that trend, it’s suddenly like everyone’s going a bit Goth. I think it was a bit of a reference from 90s grunge; sort of like going back to 90’s films like ‘The Craft’. I think our designer was looking a lot at the films she used to watch from when she was a teenager for her inspiration... music probably has had an impact, but I’m not sure of the exact reference of it. Our designer just literally goes home, draws loads of stuff and designs, so I guess you get influenced by a lot of different things. I think being in East London, surrounded by lots of different trends, you pick up different concepts.
You also stock sellotape adorned in various prints and diaries etc, how did this all come about?

We’ve always stocked other brands stationary and we stocked this really good Japanese tape that had cakes and stuff on it. Everyone went mad for it, so we thought why don’t we turn our own designs into tape, and so we just did 3 designs and they’ve gone really well.

 It must’ve been especially snapped up by the younger customer. Since you did used to have cartoon inspired prints, do you think you’ve attracted the younger audience and are struggling to tap into the older market?

Yeah, but I think our younger audience have kind of grown up with us now and been with us for 5 years. So when we started off, it was around 13-18 years, and slightly older guys. Now they’re 16-20, so they want to look a bit more fashion forward and they’re looking at lookbook and all those kind of things. So we’ve tried to grow up with them and also get an older market because we’re all in our 20s, and want to design clothes we want to wear. I think we’ve just reached a point where we don’t want to wear fitted t shirts and cartoon prints. So we were like let’s be selfish and design collections we really want to wear... as well as hopefully what our customer wants to wear.

And with the new SS11 collection, have you got any promo videos coming up?

Yeah but it’s not launched until May. We went to Spain to shoot our SS11 look book and our photographer Victor Voltaire filmed bits of the shoot like running into the sea and hanging out in the park and stuff like that.

Nice, if you were to come out with a crazy idea for promo video that would completely take Lazy Oaf out of its comfort zone, what kind of stuff would it include?

I reckon it would involve food. I can imagine a giant keg and someone jumping out of it or some kind of giant burger food fight because a lot of our stuff’s fast food orientated. But because we do have quite the young customer we have to keep it slightly tame just so their mums are kept happy too.

And obviously we’re at your launch party. How do you think it’s all going? Was it really stressful to organise?

It’s turned out pretty good, wasn’t too stressful. The main thing was waiting for the collection to arrive. We have all the ideas and all the designs but it’s always the manufacturing which is sometimes unreliable. It’s been nice working with Kopparberg and the girl who does our cakes, Lucy Vanilla. WAH nails have also been amazing. It’s so nice to bring other people in and brings a new element to this event where rather than us all come along to the shop, our customers are getting something out of it as well. It has been very girl orientated – I think that’s because of the nails.... and probably because our new collection’s more fashion forward.

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