The House of Lucent showcassed their AW20 collection at the South African fashion week and walked away as the New Talent search competition 2019 winner! The 26 year old designer, Laura Ferreira, is unquestionably one South African designer to watch! We spoke to the Cape Town based winner about her brand, sustainability and her collection that contributed to her big win.
Tell us about yourself and your brand House of Lucent
I am a delusionally ambitious, hyper-positive creative dreamer with a savvy business mind.
House of Lucent has been a dream since the beginning of time. I always knew that I wanted to build something beautiful and long-lasting, all while helping as many hands as possible. Lucent is built on three pillars, namely: Modern classics, Ethical practices and Slow fashion. It is designed and created in Cape Town, South Africa. I am extremely passionate about ancient traditions, artisanal crafts, people and the planet. My hope is to mix all these lovely ingredients together to create a delicious, wholesome pot!
What inspired you to start the brand?
I was forever doodling, always drawing small human figurines with ideas of clothing, with the hope of one day wanting to own a successful clothing label. I have always had a love and appreciation for fashion, colours, fabrics and different textures.
When I was 16 years old, I received a sewing machine, not the conventional sweet 16 gift, but once I saw my visions come to life, that’s where the real fire was ignited. My biggest inspiration to take the leap and begin the entrepreneurial journey started when I worked closely with a few special ladies in the sample set machinery section at a clothing manufacturer. The sewers, steamers and cutters are the true beating heart of the fashion industry. They inspired me greatly, not only in my career, but in life. I promised them that I would shed light on the fashion industry, if they could just give me a few years to grow, I’d hire them all to revive the fashion industry in South Africa – one stitch at a time.
How would you best describe your designs?
My design aesthetic is minimal. We appreciate elegant lines, simple silhouettes and classics with contemporary twists. We offer a limited edition of transeasonal, interchangeable and carefully considered pieces to carry our women past the season.
‘To simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak’ – Hans Hofmann. This is a sentiment that we at House of Lucent hold dear.
Where do you seek motivation and inspiration?
I believe inspiration is surrounding me, always. It’s so important for me to look up, to look around, to step back and take a breath. Inspiration can be found in the most obscure places, sometimes, you don’t have to look for it, it will find you. I am a very motivated individual, I have many goals and am constantly pushing boundaries to create a better product, for a better future. I believe that having a strong mentality, a willingness to learn and a positive attitude, is the perfect recipe for living a legendary life.
Where can one purchase your product?
You can purchase our products from our website, find us at www.houseoflucent.com. If you’d prefer to feel and fit our garments, please visit MeMeMe boutique in Cape Town and Fabricate Studio Boutique in Johannesburg.
What would you say is your favourite House of Lucent design thus far?
My ultimate design for House of Lucent, would have to be my Mandarin Collar wrap coat in black and white stripe from our first capsule, known as the #JacketEdition. It was cool, chic and fresh. I enjoyed researching ancient Chinese features, why they existed and how I could make them functional, modern and appealing to the South African market.
What does sustainable fashion mean to you and your brand?
To me, sustainable means ‘leaving things better than you found it’, this includes people, processes, fabrics, designs and, of course mother Earth. Being a sustainable and ethical clothing brand is at the forefront of who we are and aspire to be. We try to be as sustainable as we can while maintaining 1. People (Human resources), 2. Planet (Minimising our environmental footprint) and 3. Profits (Financial performance).
Our people are the most important piece of this forever-evolving puzzle. Without their skilled hands, smiles and hard work ethic, Lucent would only be a dream. We solely partner with factories that genuinely care for their workers and prioritise equality.
We create small ethically produced capsules that are inspired by ever-changing themes, we aim to create two transeasonal collections a year – this sets the design team at a slower pace, allowing time to research then source sustainable fabrics and manufacturing methods, it also promotes exclusivity and minimises waste, delightfully acting against fast fashion. We do not use fur, skins or polyester. We are also making a conscious effort to reduce waste through using leftover materials to create blankets for the homeless and pencil cases for underprivileged schools.
While profits are imperative to continue the journey, we enjoy sharing. When starting House of Lucent, we never ONLY wanted to be a clothing brand, we wanted to change the world, to be a drive for social change. This Women’s’ day, we launched the #IamWomanTee campaign, where a limited amount of t-shirts are locally produced with a selected illustrative design, designed by a group of female creatives. 10% of every sale will be donated to Ihata Shelter for abused woman & children. Each design is a moving art piece that represents what being a woman means from various perspectives. This campaign is created to empower women, uplift our creative community and better the lives of the organisation selected.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your collection that showcased at SAFW AW20.
My inspiration for the latest collection, the #AllNaturalCapsule is natures authenticity and women’s uniqueness. I was inspired by a more organic colour palette, one that holds a comforting and nostalgic quality with muted mid-tones. We used colours such as spiced cinnamon, nutmeg dust, maple pecan and rooibos hue with an injection of brighter tones like terracotta clay and cranberry purple to add a contemporary and sharp look. I am always moved by fashion that is classic with contemporary twists, pieces that are not only interchangeable and functional, but also durable and stylish. Most importantly, everything in this capsule is 100% natural from the trims to the fabric.
I am always inspired by the masculine versus feminine qualities of fashion, in this collection, we have borrowed tailored elements from the boys while keeping the colour, shape and feel feminine. We believe that we have struck the ultimate balance between proportions, fit and asymmetric lines to effortlessly lead the eye across the women’s body.
How does it feel to be the winner of the SA Fashion Week New Talent Search 2019 competition?
Its feels completely surreal. I feel like I’m still dreaming, I am emotional, ecstatic and very appreciative for the opportunity that SAFW provides for young South African Designers. I believe that I can achieve so much more, knowing that I have a great platform to lean on for guidance and an unlimited pool of knowledge and expertise at any given time.
What’s next for House of Lucent?
There is so much that I’d like to do, my list of priorities will be to continue learning, mastering my craft, creating and connecting with like-minded artisans. My aim is to expand the House of Lucent range by extending my product offering into handbags and shoes. My goal is to be more accessible to the young, modern working woman by stocking various clothing stores in different cities across Africa, then the world. I’d like to dive deeper into pan-Africanism and connect with various men and women by promoting their skills and creating something exceptional and unique. Lastly, I’ll be focusing on sourcing new sustainable materials and ways of producing clothing capsules, by encouraging slow fashion, my hope is to inspire a new way of thinking about, choosing and wearing clothes to ensure they bring meaningful value and joy to everyday.
Follow House of Lucent on Instagram: @house_of_lucent