Somewhere in the artsy Sydney suburb of Newtown, two self-confessed music lovers are pumping their own tune into a streetwear label called Lou Lou Rocks.
'Our designs mesh a passion for music and many things retro. The pieces are rock'n roll sexy. They won’t appeal to everyone; just the discerning. If you don’t want to turn heads, then don’t wear Lou Lou Rocks,' assert the label's composers John and Lisa.
Made locally using ethically sustainable practices, the label's get-up is a favourite amongst festival-goers and, most importantly, those who possess rock-star appeal!
Speaking with NSS Editor, Michelle, John and Lisa deconstruct their personal fashion/music 'composition' that is Lou Lou Rocks.
Q: John & Lisa, I want to know what Lou Lou Rocks is all about!
John & Lisa: Lou Lou Rocks is about a love of music and wearing something that is as recognisable as that. We don’t do everything, and don’t want to. We just want to do what we do exceptionally well. It’s about the superiority of the product we create; our attention to detail both in the selection of materials and crafting the piece… and we are about keeping it local in the process.
Q: Have any of you worked in fashion previously? What gave you the push to start your own label?
Lisa: John is a shoe maker. He spent most of his career designing and crafting bespoke boots and shoes, learning his trade from an Italian master craftsman and honing his skills in Europe.
Our label was born partially out of a desire to create beautifully made leather pieces, but we also wanted to have some fun with tee designs using images of traditional rock trappings with a twist of humour.
Starting our own label is about being indie and beholden to no one.
Q: Is there a story behind your name 'Lou Lou Rocks'?
John & Lisa: Our youngest son’s nickname is Lou Lou and he farkin rocks! We later found out there is a French-Canadian story where a woman named Lou Lou Rocks steals candy from little kids, so she is very naughty. That’s rock'n roll!
Q: Are you inspired by anyone or anything in particular in the design of your clothing?
John & Lisa: As for people, we are inspired by: Blondie, Keef, Anita Pallenberg , Nico, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy. In terms of theme, we'd say '60s rock glamour and elegant decadence
But a lot of our inspiration derives from song lyrics themselves. When we are in design mode we crank up the stereo and let the tunes take us wherever they do. That’s how our Car Radio t-shirt design came about – inspired by good old fashioned sound delivered through a turntable and vintage amp, not the compressed sound of an mp3 or iDevice!
Q: Does Lou Lou Rocks have an ethos and, if so, what is it?
John & Lisa: We are a no shit label and don’t take ourselves too seriously. But we do take the product we make very seriously – how it is designed, crafted and the quality of the piece as well as the people we work with. We hope people love the pieces we make as much as we love making them.
Q: Your brand is all for supporting ethical production. Can you tell me more about this?
Lisa: All Lou Lou Rocks designed and branded bags, skirts, shorts and tops are handmade in Sydney. Our belt straps are either made in Italy, the USA or handmade in Sydney by John. All of our leather and suede is sourced locally, originating from Australia, Japan or South America.
All tees are designed and screen printed in Australia. The amazingly talented artist Josh Brown does our label’s artwork. We also work with fabulous screen printers in Sydney.
Lou Lou Rocks is very local and we know the people we work with. Our tees are made off-shore by WRAP production facilities, with our supplier being Sydney-based. WRAP is a fully independent and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to ensuring sweatshop free, ethical, safe, lawful and humane work conditions for employees, see: http://www.wrapapparel.org/. No one should suffer for the sake of profit!
All of our tees are made from 100% cotton, except the low neck girls tee which is a mix of cotton and modal (also being a natural fibre).
Q: Finish this sentence – 'Fashion is…
John & Lisa: …a hoax that we’re not buying into.'
Q: Describe the quintessential festival outfit for guys and gals using pieces from your current range.
John & Lisa: For girls, it would be the Sunday suede halter top and the Nico sexy black leather skirt. We would team this with one or six lyric bangles for arm candy, inscribed with our favourite lyrics. Oh, and we can't forget a Johnny Ramli necklace!
For a guy, we would take some scissors to the Heartbreaker tee, slash off the sleeves and then add the Ultimate Vintage belt with garrison buckle to hold up his favourite jeans.
Q: You stock Johnny Ramli jewellery – who is Johnny Ramli?
John & Lisa: Johnny Ramli is an amazing international cult designer, not only of jewellery, but other accessories. He is from Sumatra and an RMIT graduate who now lives in Bali. His unique jewellery is sold in Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo and New York. We had the pleasure of meeting him and are thrilled to be offering some of his handmade pieces on our website, which fit with our label perfectly.
Q: I’m curious to know what’s next for Lou Lou Rocks?
John & Lisa: A quick surf. Our pop-up store in Paddington Sydney. A creative collaboration. Winter will also bring leather pants for guys and girls and some seriously one-off rock star leather coats!
Check out www.loulourocks.com
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