Tuesday, October 18, 2011

desmond - interview with the lovely leah hills xx

alterior motif recently welcomed a new label to our stores. we were craving amazingly soft leather tees, sunshine coast ready leather jackets, interesting sandals and killer boots and bags. desmond delivered on every front. it was a no brainer! we were interested to chat to desmond brainchild leah hills and work out how she managed to quench all of our desires under one label. she sounded like our kinda lady right? we asked her a few questions to find out:

desmond is an interesting name... is there a story behind it?

desmond is actually my grandfathers name. he was around when I started working on the label, but passed away almost two years ago. he did well at 91 though!
my grandfather was always a very hard working, down to earth man with so much integrity. he taught us to work hard and he always took pride in his appearance. he taught us to do the same. desmond just sat well with me and had an almost ‘leathery feel’ to it.

how did 'desmond' come into the world?
i worked in the retail world throughout university. i tried the corporate world after finishing me degree but very quickly realised i wasn’t interested in becoming a corporate ladder climber. so i traded it all in for sunshine and shorts, and set off for Bali with some designs in hand. i returned with some pieces made for myself from handpicked colours of the finest quality leathers and suedes. i had many requests from friends, and friends of friends for the designs so i began filling smaller orders on the side of my full time employment. i did the made to order for a while  and in 2009 it was time to make a choice – suit, heels and weekdays in the corporate world, or desmond – i think you can guess which one i chose! with a penchant for design and a long love of leather, desmond was born in 2009 with my first official collection released for spring/summer 2010/11, offering key investment pieces that i felt the market was looking for but could not find.

made up of pieces handcrafted from the finest quality leathers and suedes, the label is really reflective of my own lifestyle and the way i shop, with trans-seasonal investment pieces in every collection. the philosophy behind desmond is to create effortlessly stylish and versatile pieces. i try to create pieces that allow the wearer to create their own story with every outfit worn.

where do you draw inspiration for desmond?
working from the island and creative hub of bali, my inspirations really draw on the culture and art there, a kaleidoscope of local and international fashion, and the skills of the indonesian people. i feel my biggest inspirations really do come from other talented people  – people watching and hearing others stories is really what i become immersed in.
my last words to my grandfather always stick in my mind when i’m having an average work day and that is my promise to him - i would do my best to make this label and my goals a reality and a success on the australian fashion circuit. so here’s hoping i can stay true to my word!

what is your workspace like?
i move around a lot so my workspace obviously moves too! i am lucky enough to now call a few places home, growing up in and having a base at my parents in the coastal town of ocean grove, vic,  spent years living in melbourne and now residing in the most beautiful lennox head, when i’m not residing in bali. my ideal workspace would ultimately be an amazing open airy light and spacious room, filled with books and magazines, my favourite music and my inspiration and mood boards surrounding me wherever i am.  

who is the 'desmond' girl?
the desmond girl is femininely edgy - a girl who knows the value of her own style and confidence. a girl who feels confident in what she wears, and tells her own story with every outfit worn. the desmond girl is femininely sophisticated with an edge and effortlessly stylish. the desmond girls style takes her from day wear into night, street wear to the beach, and around the world and back again!

you spend a lot of your time in indonesia, any secret spots we should know about??
bali really has become a second home for me so there is so much about the place i love and so many favourite spots. balangan beach and uluwatu are my typical bali faves. a little away from Bali is a secret little surf break i love going too to get away from the hustle, however my boyfriend would not let me this spill on a blog! i can recommend a place called red island. it is a 6 hour drive from bali in east java and is an untouched idyllic area with the most beautiful white sandy beaches and amazing surf breaks with no-one around. my boyfriend actually owns a surf camp and homestay, and soon to be built beachside bungalows there, which caters for visits from all levels of surfers – beginners to professional.

we would love to know your favorite blogs!
oh i’m a little blog crazy and obsessed! where do i start?! at the moment these would be my daily most clicked on blogs – they all hate us, oracle fox, lasskaa, wolfcub chronicles, the urban silhouette, five inch and up, the cowboy geisha, 4th and bleeker, perfect isn’t me tumblr, mimmy reawakened, knighttcat, and my list goes on.... and alterior motif of course!

what would you say your personal current style is?
i would say effortless and quite casual – neutral basics teamed with a block colour or accessory or statement footwear. my style changes from day to day depending on my mood and schedule for the day however i am all about understated key pieces with accessories.

who are your favorite australian designers??
these questions are harder to answer than i thought! let me list them – shakuhacki, sass and bide (forever inspirational as a label and a business and partnership!), maurie and eve, may, lover, friend of mine, flannel, oneteaspoon for denim shorts, alexandra blak accessories and of course – desmond J to name a few!!

you can check out desmond instore now, or view the whole collection on the desmond facebook page here or website here.

love A.M xx

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