Setting a trend

May 1, 2019

Tired of searching the internet for vintage clothing, university graduate Louisa Rogers took matters into her own hands and set up Trendlistr, an online collection offering vintage fashion and accessories. Here, she explains her journey and reveals her pride at bringing garment manufacturing back to its North East heartland

I started Trendlistr after a Masters degree in creative entrepreneurship at Newcastle University. I was frustrated trawling through eBay for great vintage finds and wanted the best pieces in a single destination.

Trendlistr was originally a platform for vintage fashion – bringing together buyers and sellers and curating garments by trend, rather than by era. It was difficult to get this idea off the ground with limited technical knowledge and a small budget, so I decided to go back to basics. Having dealt in vintage garments throughout university, I refined my stock and began selling online. Now I’m transitioning away from selling purely vintage and designing an in-house collection that combines vintage design elements with contemporary fabrics and bold prints.

I was fresh out of university and I think that naivety was quite helpful. Having no preconceptions or expectations about what it might be like to be self-employed took a lot of the fear out of it and allowed me to just throw myself into it. I studied fashion photography and styling at the London College of Fashion before moving up North, which has its obvious advantages when it comes to creating lookbooks and marketing content.

Trendlistr is about embracing the lasting influence of vintage design without sacrificing being stylish and on-trend. I’m also very enthusiastic about promoting UK- based manufacturing, particularly in the wake of Brexit. It feels timely to take a more local approach and help to revive the garment production industry here in the North East, which was once a lot healthier than it is now.

Drawing inspiration from vintage garments is nothing new – but embracing this and telling our customers the story of how we translate designs into trend-led pieces will be something a bit different. I also think our local production will appeal to consumers looking to buy more conscious brands – the sort of people that want to move away from the high street and connect with independent retailers offering unique designs.

Our future plans are tied up with our new collection. We have released some accessories already that are made to order in England and the rest of the range will be launched around September this year. The
new collection will give us new opportunities for global sales.

I’m influenced by some of the iconic designers of the 20th century: Schiaparelli for her humour and surrealism, Sonia Delaunay for her understanding of the intersection between art and clothing, and Mugler for his theatricality. They are definitely where I go for inspiration.

I also love to go to markets and fairs and rummage through the rails. Just staying visually stimulated and having that treasure hunting experience is really important from a creative point of view. The high street has made us all lazy, displaying outfit choices side by side on the rail – where’s the joy and challenge in that?

I’m an associate lecturer in fashion communications at Northumbria University and the role has definitely forced me to keep up-to-date with what is going on. It’s easy to become so absorbed in the day-to-day of the business, and the students bring fresh perspectives to the table. I also try and buy the odd fashion magazine. Instagram will always be valuable, but heritage media is written by experts, industry professionals and tastemakers and it’s important we respect that as an industry.

I always seek out things that are unusual but slot in with current trends. At the moment, it’s a lot
of prairie dresses and dainty floral prints. For winter, I’ll be focusing on geometric motifs and jewel-toned velvets. I try and find pieces that are distinctive enough to stand out, but versatile enough to still be wearable.

Give me a 70s button down shirt and a pair of high waisted palazzo pants any day! Easy, comfortable and hopefully a little chic too.

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