Already backed by Vogue Italia’s Senior Fashion Editor as a “talent” to watch, Liz Black is already making a name for herself as a fashion designer; She was selected by Roland Mouret as a semi-finalist, for the prestigious Fashion Fringe awards in 2011, and her collections are stocked globally. Not bad for someone who graduated in 2010!
It is no surprise, she studied at the fashion playground, Central St Martins, where her talents for innovative design lie alongside Zac Posen, John Galliano and Stella McCartney; Liz makes wearable, statement pieces, which attract a strong, sophisticated woman.
FAULT: Moving from South America to London, and switching from dentistry to fashion is a big leap! What made you change your career path to fashion design?
LB: I chose to study dentistry since it was a tradition within my family. I always liked the idea of fashion design but the opportunities for this within Venezuela were very limited. I think I was always a naturally born designer, and a creative career was inevitable.
What would you say was your main inspiration in London? Or do you gain inspiration from all over the world?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. I love London though, and I love living here, it is very inspiring. AW 12/13 was inspired initially by the Olympic spirit of London and as a result I looked at super-heroines for their strength and sporty look.
Who is your ideal customer? Now we know Lady Gaga is a fan!
My customer is a strong, professional woman who enjoys her independence and is confident in her own skin. In terms of celebrity, I would absolutely love to see Daphne Guinness wearing my garments. I believe her intensely cultivated style and elegance makes her a fashion icon. She embodies my signature perfectly.
SD:Is it important to have celebrity endorsement, or is it more important to get good stockists for the general public?
LB:I think a mixture of the two is beneficial. Both have possibly huge credibility in terms of marketing purposes It is important to ensure that the celebrity has the right association with the label. However, it is also very important to have the appropriate stockists, since this is a reliable way to reach the target audience. If I had to pick, I’d have to go with stockists.
Do you feel clothes should be practical or will you continue to create structural/experimentational pieces for the more adventurous?
I think it is important to make clothing practical, of course, especially as I design for the working woman. However, the concept of show pieces and structural/experimental designs encourages the element of fantasy and creativity that keeps fashion and its strong influence alive. I do both within my work, the ready-to-wear pieces are directly influenced by the show pieces; I make them more accessible for every-day wear.
What’s your own style? If you could wear just one designer forever- which would you choose?
My personal style is quite minimalist and classic classic. I do love certain prints though too. I don’t think I could wear just one designer forever, I would get bored! However, If I have to choose, of course, my own label!
What are your thoughts on designer collaborations?
They are a great way to expose brands in new ways and develop the commercial side of the business. I would love to collaborate with Zaha Hadid.
How is the SS13 collection coming along? Any sneaky tasters?
It’s coming along brilliantly! A lovely variation of beautiful fabrics and textures for summer and contrast of soft colours against strong.
I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for Liz Black- what are your plans for LFW?
We will be exhibiting during the London Fashion Week in Vauxhall Fashion Scout and during the Paris Fashion Week in the easternBlock Showroom.
London Fashion Week takes place 14th- 18th September 2012.
Interview by Sara Darling