Laura-May, the women behind Insights fantastic feminine threads, let us into her rocking AU pad to talk inspiration and future plans while sharing a few of her favorite things.
It’s the indefinable aesthetic to Laura-May’s designs that have the world’s attention; an offbeat beauty blends with certain grit, embracing an experimental, avant-garde style to street wear dressing, she embodies the free-spirited charm that’s woven through her designs. Always maintaining her allegiance to the playful, the eclectic, the bohemian, and with a salute to the grunge; every piece entwined with a certain something of this wunderkind.
As Head Womenswear Designer for Insight, Laura-May designs clothes that speak to the type of cool, young things with a penchant for the unconventional. With a passion for scouring vintage markets the world through, she treats her love of art and textiles using fashion as her canvas. The result; a kaleidoscopic clash of print and colour, her work allowing us a glimpse into the jubilant shades of her world.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Sydney, time was spent between the hustle of the city and the calm of the sea, wundoubtedly shaping the approach to her aesthetic. Laura-May’s childhood was spent immersed in her own world of creativity, drawing, performing and painting a pleasingly broad stroke with her spirited demeanor. Her natural beauty led to modeling and provided her first foray into the world of fashion. With an inquisitive nature, this progressed to a stint in fashion school before being offered a job in the industry. Fashion endeavors followed learning from some Australia’s most noted brands, including sass and bide, ksubi, Shakuhachi, Leona Edmiston and Denim & Thread. Laura-May’s love for travel combined with studies saw this gypsy heart spend numerous summers between Paris, London and New York studying at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, interning with Alexander Wang, New York and working with French designer and artist Lovisa Burfitt, before finally taking reign at Insight.
It’s the postcard pictures from worldy travels imprinted in her mind that provide a constant inspiration for this free-spirited archetypal wanderer. Life is a colourful journey where dreams are big.
INNER-VIEW | Laura-May Gibbs
Who are your style Icons?
I have many depending on my mood and what I’m vibing on at the time. Anita Pallenberg in the 1970’s film Performance with Mick Jagger is an old favorite, as is Patti Smith circa early 70’s for when I’m feeling a little more androgynous.
Lately I’ve been into early 90’s African American Hip-Hop culture. I’ve been watching Spike Lee’s cinematic classic Do The Right Thing, and just yesterday was taking screen-grabs from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince music clip Summertime. You’ll see the influence of old school sport, African American tribal prints and slouchy fits in our Insight Winter collection, and a palette of bold colors that continue through to spring and summer.
What trends are you most excited about in 2012, and what are you glad to see
dying in 2012?
I’m loving the wild experimentation with print and color that’s been coming through the last few seasons. I feel like this is somewhat of an obvious answer as it’s one of the most recognizable trends of the moment, but I’ve always been drawn to print and love clashing it with the unexpected.
A trend I’m not so into is the whole 1920’s flapper influence inspired by the upcoming Great Gatsby. I’m sure it’s going to be a great film, and who knows maybe I’ll change my tune after seeing it, but I’m not much of a drop waist sparkly dress kind of girl.
Outside of fashion trends I’m excited too see more brands making a conscious effort to take a more eco-friendly and sustainable approach to their business. The use of organic cottons and natural fibers such as hemp and bamboo, which don’t require pesticides to grow, are becoming more common. We’ve introduced organic cottons to some of our lines at Insight. It’s a small step, but it’s a start.
Tell me a little about your own personal style… How would you describe it?
My style is pretty thrown together. I love clashing print, color and texture. I’m usually vibing on some new influence, which makes it way into my look, and am almost always wearing vintage pieces from my travels.
Lately I’ve been living in my Insight high-rise color-block velvetine cords. I’m obsessed with them! I’ve also been wearing lots of tattered sports jerseys with denim cutoffs and trashed basics with bright mini’s or flares. I’ve been big on bright cropped knit tops which I picked up in LA thrift stores for like $3 and wearing them back with my black high-rise neoprene pants or slouchy denim for a more 90’s look. I wear lots of jacquard shirting and bomber jackets and have been rocking a backward baseball cap with anything I can get away with!
Because my looks are so disheveled I pull it together with a good shoe. My Balenciaga biker boot has barely left my foot this year and I’ve recently bought the Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony platform sneakers for something sportier.
If I had to describe it I’d say washed up rocker meets bohemian fringe dweller meets 90’s downtown hipster…on acid, ha maybe!
Walk me through some of your favorite aspirational brands, items, etc. and
I’ve long been fascinated by Maison Martin Margiela. I saw the MMM 20th anniversary exhibition in London a few years ago which was incredible and am now reading the accompanying book.
It’s the conceptualism and intellect behind the label that intrigues me. Their anti-marketing stance, the desire to not influence the presence of the garment with a name or brand, and the way they refer to ‘The Maison’ as a collective as opposed to one designer.
With so many brands coming and going and in such a competitive market full of fast fashion, a strong unique concept is crucial. Accompanied of course with good design. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
I own three Margiela pieces, a pair of cut-out canvas shoes, a jersey unitard and a pair of mid-rise jade green jeans with a beautiful velvety finish. I always get comments when I wear these, and mainly from non-fashion people which is a sign of good design.
Where do you go to recharge, if at home, what makes home that place?
I head north to Byron Bay to stay with my best friend, and usually stop at our family beach house or campsites along the way. A good road trip, sea and sun cures all.
What are your must haves for 2012?
Theysken’s Theory’s double waistband jeans that sit high on the waist and slouch off the hips, and their cropped slouch fit metallic green pants, both from the S/S ’12 collection.
What’s the one piece of fashion advise you would give?
Fashion is there to express who you are, so have fun with it.
Photos by Sylve Colless