The Braintree Team: Meet Laura
Laura hand-sketches our prints and Thoughtful Clothing designs in our North London studio. You may have already read a little about her and her work in our post The Making of Spring Summer ’15. Read on to get to know her better…
Hi Laura, please can you tell our readers how you got into doing what you’re doing, and what it is that you love most about it?
I grew up in a family with a fashion history of knitters, milliners and seamstresses. We always had a copy of Vogue in the house.
My nan taught me how to knit and I always loved fabric pattern and colour – the way textiles tell a story and carry a person’s history with them.
What brought you to Braintree?
I’d left a job designing full time and was looking to spend more time painting and going on retreat. At the same time a mutual friend got in touch about this small but really creative company making organic clothing, who were looking for a freelance knit and jersey designer. That was four years ago and I started off designing the range in the corner of a warehouse surrounded by boxes. So much has changed since then, and it’s amazing to see the company grow and yet still have so much potential.
Where do you find inspiration?
I live in Frome, Somerset, so I’m always dazzled by the country landscapes and their changing hues.
When I’m in the city, I love visiting art galleries and museums. Last summer a combination of Sonia Delaunay and Agnes Martin at Tate Modern blew me away. They are two completely different but extraordinary women artists – one all about pattern, colour, worldly and vibrant, and the other minimalist, reclusive and deeply spiritual. Because I also paint, I’m obsessed with colour and texture, so that definitely feeds into my design work. You can find some of my paintings at laurathomsonpainting.co.uk.
What does living ‘thoughtfully’ mean to you and how do you embrace it?
I’m a Buddhist, so living thoughtfully and with care is something I try to put into practice as much as possible. For me, that means practicing meditation, being vegetarian and trying to harm others as little as possible.
Over the last few years, it’s also meant slowing life down more and noticing what’s going on a bit more. And if I’m buying new things, only buying what I really need or love, as well as trying to shop as ethically as possible.
Tell us a bit about your hobbies…
Now that I live in Somerset, I’m really getting into my tiny garden and working on my little house. And I’m learning to embrace country life – my baby apple tree had a spectacular crop last year and I had a freezer full of apple sauce for the whole of winter! Painting and drawing are also really important to me, but I’d call them more than a hobby.
Our mantra is ‘Wear Me, Love Me, Mend Me, Pass Me On’. What tips do you have for our readers on how to embrace this?
Learn to love a car boot sale. I regularly have clear outs and it’s good to keep the energy flowing. Car boots are really good fun, especially if you do them with a friend so you’ve got someone to chat to and can nip off and grab a coffee. You meet all kinds of interesting people and it’s great to see your stuff go to someone who really loves or needs it and can’t afford to buy new.
And learn to darn and mend. I used to work for Jaeger when they had their knitwear factory in the Peak District, which was amazing, and I still have bits of cashmere from those days that I love. They’re only in one piece because I learnt to darn the inevitable holes over the years.
What did you want to be when growing up?
An artist, a fashion designer or, weirdly, a translator at the UN, helping people to understand each other!
Just for fun, tell us something random about yourself…
I studied Mandarin Chinese at university for a year, before switching to fashion and textile design. Quite the combo…
A recycling tip, a recipe, an exhibition… Share something you love with our readers. It can be anything…
Anything in the Deliciously Ella book – I’m obsessed with her recipes as they’re delicious, healthy and vegan. Yum!