As my online life is steadily turning into my real life, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting – and becoming friends with – the gorgeous and talented Lira Leirner. A fellow blogger and fashion writer, it was hard not to fall in love with Lira: not only has she got the best shoe collection I’ve ever seen, but she wears the most adorable dresses ever. At 5″1, she’s even shorter than myself and found it hard to find clothing that fit her correctly, an issue every petite girl deals with every day. Tired of having all her clothes tailored or having ill-fitting dresses, she just started making her own, and that’s how it all got started. All her dresses have a certain theme, like the Royal Mail Postbox Dress (made from real post bags) or the Crossword Puzzle Dress or the Antique Map Dress. They are so well made it is hard to believe she only started doing this back in January! All of them are unique and for sale in her online shop. She also eats chips with chocolate ice cream. Time to meet the girl who’s been making me laugh for the past few weeks!
Alex: Hello there, who are you?
Lira: Nice talking to you again! Well, people call me Lira; I am a fashion designer, academic and writer.
A: You have no actual design training, how did you teach yourself?
L: Well, I cheat a bit. Instead of going through the laborious process of creating a pattern from scratch, for which I have no patience, I find already existing patterns, often vintage (as they are more classic), and combine and alter them. I am a big believer in the concept of “learning whilst doing” and creating things the way they work for you personally, not the way it is “supposed” to be done. I guess that’s a trap I avoided by not being formally trained, eh?
A: Right now you’re making pieces, not seasonal collections, is that something you’d like to do one day?
L: Yes, definitely. The pieces so far were more “play and learn” where I followed my instincts (and my budget), but I have been researching and experimenting for two collections that will have six pieces each and explore a common concept, which I will create once I can actually afford it. One of them is called Complementary Opposites, where I explore double-sided block colours (name is self explanatory) and the other Couture Concreta where I create dresses based on a few selected art pieces from a very particular collection. I could go on and say more about them in detail but if I did, this interview would be a few pages long. You’ll have to wait and see!
A: In 5 years time, where will I find Lira Leirner?
L: Talking about myself as a person, hopefully writing articles for fabulous magazines and broadsheet newspapers I share my views with, seeing a lot more white-collar criminals arrested, and still happily living in London. Talking about the fashion line, hopefully being stocked and sold in personal and quirky boutiques around the world, worn by elegant, sweet, confident and naturally beautiful ladies.
A: Tell me about your favourite item in your own wardrobe.
L: After a long thinking session, including phases of wanting to refuse having to decide between any of my lovelies, I’ll have to say probably my big brown wide-rimmed hat. It makes me instantly elegant, no matter what I am wearing. I had a black one, too, but I lost it after a film screening at the Tate Modern. :(
A: You’ve recently also become a blogger, what are your personal favourite blogs?
L: Well, yours is actually one of my favourites because it’s fun and personal – your posts make me laugh. (Oh you flatter!) There’s also Fashion Foie Gras, who is my essential catch up read on fashion every day. I love the Clothes Whisperer because her writing is captivating and intelligent. I’ve learned a lot about blogging on copyblogger.com and bigstarcontent.co.uk. Probably a bit of an obvious one, but I enjoy reading Tavi of the style rookie blog, too. She writes about more than just fashion somehow, and I always feel like I’m actually learning something new. Yes, I pretty much read only fashion and blogging blogs. For everything else, there are books.
A: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
L: To be honest with you, I am still getting used to the fact that there are people out there who are not only interested in the same fields as me but actually like what I do! Once I’ve gotten over that shock, ask me again.
A: Last question… to clog or not to clog?
L: Not to clog. Heels are meant to be elegant, I don’t want to look like a horse on hind legs nor like a made over Amish person whose shoes were glued on and couldn’t be removed. No offence to clog lovers, and some can pull it off, but I, my dears, cannot.