Lilt designer Profile

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I recently learned of Jane Heng, through a serendipitous meeting facilitated by the lovely Cheryl of Business Chic.

Designer Jane Heng and Cheryl, were working away on some photography for Jane’s newest products, and I so happened to be meeting with Cheryl later that evening, so dropped by to take a sneaky peek at their photo-shoot.

Through this chance meeting, not only did I get to learn that Jane is a wonderfully sweet person, but also became quite enamoured with her delicate fine jewellery and artisan ceramics.

Later on when I looked up Jane Heng, I fell deeper in love with the conscience and concept of this beautiful brand.

Designer Jane Heng has been splitting her time between her home town of Melbourne and her country of heritage Cambodia since her mid teens.

It has been a long time dream of Jane’s to use her design skills to foster job creation in Cambodia. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fashion Design at RMIT, Jane packed her bags to live in Cambodia for 18 months to learn about traditional Cambodian handicraft techniques.

Travelling to various provinces around Cambodia, Jane now works hand in hand with artisans and selected fair trade partner workshops to create thoughtfully designed products.

Read a very inspiring interview with Jane Heng below.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your business came about?


In school my favourite subject was art so it was natural for me to choose a creative degree in uni. I studied fashion design at RMIT and it was after a couple of years working within the fashion industry that I decided to pack up and move to Cambodia.

It wasn’t my first time in Cambodia, I had been a few times in my teens visiting family but the move was the first time I would be there on my own. My plan was to teach English in a local school for 3 months but I soon found that the skills I gained in fashion were valuable. I started working for fair trade handicraft co-ops and 3 months turned into 18 months! I learnt so much from the talented makers, their skill and their processes but sadly they never had enough work to be employed full time and with fair wages.

 I’ve been travelling between Cambodia and Melbourne ever since and as a result of my work in developing products and promoting the work of the Cambodian artisans, I now work for the International Trade Centre, an agency under the United Nations where I link silk artisans to the Australian market and I get to pursue my dream of designing product for my own label, using my design skills to foster job creation for the artisans I have befriended and now work closely with.

What inspires your design and creative decisions?

 I believe in slow products. Pieces that have been made with care and quality and that can be loved for a long time. I try to design pieces that are simple, functional and unique.

We know that one of the key elements of your brand is the importance of sustainable and fair-trade design and manufacturing. Can you explain to us why this is so important to you?

 Sadly ‘ethical’ or ‘fair trade’ is considered a niche market but it really should be the norm. It’s about valuing people. Producers should be given the chance to live a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle because they can afford to through fair wages.

Can you tell us about your work with Cambodian makers?

 I’m very lucky that I can speak the Khmer language. I spend a lot of time in Cambodia getting to know the makers and their families. I tend to ask a lot of questions about their process, the materials that are available in Cambodia and if it’s a co-op or workshop then I ask a lot about their company structure. How they pay their makers, working hours and spend time within the work place to make sure it’s in a healthy environment. Once I understand all those elements, I then spend a few weeks sketching and working closely with the makers to turn my designs into reality.

How would you describe your personal style?

 Mood dependant. Comfortable. Layered.

What are 5 essentials in your wardrobe?

 At the moment the pieces that are on high rotation are an oversized wool coat, hand-woven Cambodian tees, platform brogues, red lipstick and fine jewellery of course ;)

Tell us about some of the people who inspire you and why?

 Ah so many! Friends, artists and other designers.

I try and visit an art exhibition at least once a week but sometimes with my crazy work schedule I’m lucky if I can go once a month.

I recently visited the James Turrell exhibition in Canberra and whoa, that blew my mind. Turrell’s artworks may look deceptively simple but his pieces represent years of research and for the viewer it’s truly an amazing experience.

 I’m influenced by designers who are storytellers, value ethical production and have a strong design voice.

Designer Jodie Fried & Sally Pottharst of Armadillo&Co, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi of AAKS, Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson of Ace & Jig just to name a few.

I’m lucky to be based in such a creative and diverse city. Melbourne is a hotbed of crazy talented artists, makers and designers. My friends who are doing amazing things in all different fields inspire me to keep discovering and learning.

If you could design a product for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you design?

 I already do! I design for my customers who appreciate the designs, story and philosophy. Seeing my designs being worn or used in people’s homes always make my day.

What are the top 3 resources, which you turn to for inspiration?

 The artisans I work with inspire me to continually learn more about their process and about Cambodian culture, galleries, museums and of course the internet! Instagram, pinterest and design blogs are sooo addictive.

What is next for the label? Where do you see the brand going in the future?

 I’m hoping to work with more artisans, not just in Cambodia but in other countries as well! There may be a collaboration in the works but I can’t say more than that.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start his or her own business in fashion and/or home accessories?

 Surround yourself with people who believe in your idea. Working for yourself can be the best and worse thing, sometimes I spend a little too much time second guessing my decisions but I’m so thankful that I have some amazing friends that I can always turn to for advice.

Balenciaga Paris 01

If you even read this blog a little bit you probably know I kind of never shut up about how much I love summer.

This year I felt a little cheated by the summer that never really came, but over the past few years I’ve gained a real appreciation for autumn and so I’m looking forward to welcoming the cooler weather.

Autumn to me also means a change of scent. My usual fresh and floral bouquet feels much too strong,

For the cooler weather I prefer something more moody, a little more subtle to welcome in the crisp mornings ahead and I’ve fallen hard for Balenciaga Paris

 

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Boyfriend jeans, are something that took me quite a while to get into when they first came into fashion a few years ago, but once I bought a pair I was unable to simply go back to skinny jeans for everyday wear.

A boyfriend jean  should be 2 things… Relaxed & comfortable to wear.

The beauty of this style is that seeing as they are super comfortable, they a perfect companion for the weekend, but they are also a sneaky way to cheat a “smarter” look if you’re wanting to dress up a little more…but not too much.

In my opinion boyfriend jeans looks best when slightly cuffed and rolled up to expose a bit of ankle, especially when worn with heels.

Today I’ve gone for a more relaxed approach and teamed my boyfriend jeans with my day-to-night top and a warm wool knit I purchased on sale to welcome in the autumn weather.

However there are so many ways to style the boyfriend jean and you can check out some inspiration on my Boyfriend Jeans Pinterest board.

The ones I’m wearing are old friends from Cameo the Label, and sadly sold out, but you can find similar HERE, HERE or HERE.

 Outfit details: Jeans: Cameo the Label / Top:  Scanlan & Theodore (similar here) / Knit: Bul (similar here) / Shoes: Lauren Marinis / Bag: The Bag Department 

Lilt Artists Profile

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 We haven’t had an Artist Profile on LiLT Blog for quite a while now, so I am so excited to feature the work of Merci Perci as our first artist for 2015.

The woman behind the colourful and inspiring Merci Perci artworks is Claire Jackett, who after being made redundant from her job in the fashion industry over a year ago decided to take some time off to start creating art whilst in between jobs.

What began as a fascination with the patterns and costumes worn by tribes in different cultures from around the world, led Claire to create beautiful interpretation’s of tribal headpieces in a kaleidoscope of bright colours and bold, graphic patterns.

No two artworks are the same as they are all individually hand painted and constructed by Claire, who creates them using a mixture of painting, drawing and collage.

The Merci Perci brand, which is named after Claire’s bunny rabbit Percival, is a wonderful example of how a passionate career can begin from an otherwise unfortunate event, and this optimism is clearly evident in Claire’s artworks , which scream vibrant creativity & playfulness.

Check out more of Claire’s work on the Merci Perci website, and my interview with the lady herself below.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you into creating Merci Perci?

I didn’t necessarily ever intend on Merci Perci to be my full time job…  I have always been crafty and have made and painted things for fun as long as I can remember. I used to use the name Merci Perci for some freelance graphic design jobs that I would do on the side of working full-time in the fashion industry.  After losing my job just before christmas a year ago, knowing that no one would be hiring till Jan, I took some time off and decided to focus on making again.  My friend loved what I had created and without me knowing, She sent pics of my artwork to Julia Green from Greenhouse interiors.  Julia loved what I had made and told my friend to tell me to contact her right away, the next day I met her and then the day after that I had my very first stockist which was the incredible Fenton & Fenton.  It was just all meant to be.

How would you describe your work?  

Colourful, Fun and Playful.

Can you give us some insight into your process?  

I have a huge roll of water-colour paper that I start with, I usually free hand draw in pencil the shapes I will be using first, then get my paints out and start painting in the shapes I have created.  Then I cut everything out and then stick and mount it all together. After that I sign and stamp all my works with my Merci Perci stamp.

What mediums do you like to use and why?

I use acrylics, water colours, gouache, pen, inks and sharpie pens on water-colour paper.  I like all these different mediums because I like to have options.  I don’t think I could ever just stick to the one medium.  All the mediums I use have a specific purpose and different outcome/ effect to get the result I am after at the time.

Do you plan each artwork or do you work more intuitively?  

Since this has now become a business, when people place orders for specific colours and shapes, i do need to have a bit of a plan.  I love when I have the time to start something new without restrictions because its much more intuitive and I can just go for it.

What inspires your paintings and artworks? 

First and foremost it would have to be my interest in textile design and pattern.  I love the simplicity of tribal art, and how haphazard or imperfect it can sometimes be. I’m also often inspired by a colour and wonder what else I could work in with it.

What are some of your favourite online resources which you look to for inspiration? 

I am completely obsessed with googling anything and everything.  If I ever have a random thought (yesterday it was why do we have different blood types), I can usually find the answer I am looking for on google.  I’m also addicted to good old Pinterest.

Tell us about some of the people who inspire you and why?  

I adore Mara Hoffman, her use of colour and pattern is right up my alley,  Miranda Skoczek, her colour combos and textures she creates in her works are heaven.  I’m inspired by talented people all the time, its hard to narrow it down.

If you could create an artwork for anyone in the world, who would it be?  

That’s a tough one.  Maybe Baby Blue Ivy carter.

What would your dream project be?  

Maybe a collaboration of some kind.  I’d love to do something with Gorman, I think anything fashion based would be fun.

Your favourite place in the Mornington Peninsula?  

I moved to Flinders 12 months ago and have completely fallen in love with the area.  For this reason, I’m going to say my favourite places (always revolve around food) but it would have to be the very beautiful little Polperro winery in Red hill or Johnny Ripe bakery in Main Ridge.

TREND SPOTTING THE 70'S

70’s silhouettes are back in a big way and I’m looking to try out this trend invest in a nice pair of wide leg pants.  These gorgeous Zimmermann pants are a perfect and subtle way to play with the 70’s trend. Paired with a simple shirt and finished with a few accessories to keep it modern.

Lack of Colour “The Prism” hat / Country Road silk shirt / Mimco “Hybridica Trio” necklace / Bailey Nelson “Elodie” sunglasses / Zimmermann silk cotton wide leg pant / Wittner “Laken” boots / Mimco Tribalicious cuff

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Inspired by my new love of monochromatic dressing I’ve also been dreaming of crisp white interiors, made homely by a mix of textures.  Textiles, ceramics, wood and pops of green foliage for a tiny bit of colour.

Just a little inspiration for Friday, but come back next week for the continuation of #liltblogbacktobasics.

x Luciana

Images via Pinterest

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Having watched the documentary “Premiere: Ellery in Paris” just last night, my head is swimming with the dream world of Australian designer, Kym Ellery.

Her new collection which just showed at Paris Fashion Week is no exception to her usually beautiful and enchanting shows.  With a penchant for strong silhouettes, there is no denying that there is something magical in the shapes of an Ellery garment. Somewhat classic, but at the same time very fashion forward, dramatic and demanding of attention.

The documentary itself, with a peek into the world of Kym Ellery and her vivacious and creative character is enough to make you fall in love with her collections over and over again. I now want to wear Ellery everyday of my life!

Images via Style.com

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 On Monday night I was lucky enough to sit front row at the VAMFF runway show presented by Frankie Magazine.

Such a welcome coincidence that many of my favourite Australian Designers were brought together in the one show. Kuwaii, Alpha 60, Kloke, Búl, Limedrop, and Gorman made for an eclectic and incredibly fun showcase!

Below are some of my favourite looks form the night.  You’ll have to excuse my grainy images, as I did not have a professional photographer following me around ( which I was lucky enough to have last year at VAMFF)

None the less the view was spectacular and the collections full of inspiration for the up and coming winter months .

To see all the looks and  shop the runway visit the VAMFF website 


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ALPHA 60


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LILT BLOG BACK TO BASICS 02Neutral Top 01


Last week I wore the A-line skirt  featured in today’s post much more casually, but this week I was wanting to create a dressier outfit that I could wear out during the evening.

Enter the Day-to-Night Top … It’s pretty straight forward, the kind of tops that I put under this category are tops that can be worn during the day, like to a work meeting, but also dressed up for night-time events, such as dinners or parties.

The secret to a good Day-to-Night Top is in the cut and the fabric. The silhouette should be modest but interesting, and the fabric should be dressy enough for night-time but not too glitzy, so it is still suitable for daytime. When picking fabrics think wovens in viscose, silk, or heavier linens, rather than cotton or knits.

The beauty of this style of top is that it is a super versatile item. Team it up with a pencil skirt or trousers for work, or a ball style skirt for an evening event. If you want to make it more casual, jeans and boots will suit perfectly.

So,  I’m still waiting for you guys to play along on Instagram or comment below!!!

I’d love for you to take a quick snap of your favourite “Day-to-Night top” and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #liltblogbacktobasics , that way l can follow along. I’ll be doing the same so make sure you follow me on Instagram HERE for all my back to basics outfits!

And if you don’t have Instagram, why don’t you leave a comment below and let me know, What is your favourite way to style this versatile garment?

x Luciana


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Outfit Details – Top: Scanlan & Theodore (similar here) / Skirt: Gorman / Shoes: Lauren Marinis / Bag: gift (similar here) / Necklace: Lovisa / Bracelet: Rock Finders Keepers

Want to see the full LiLT Blog Dream Wardrobe Checklist? Click HERE