#WCW: Chloe Wilson
As many of you know, I studied a bit in London last summer. After a week acclimating to the environment and fully recovering from the terrible jetlag, I went out on an excursion. I met up with a family friend for afternoon tea. Wow- I actually just used that phrase. Anyway, afternoon tea turned into a bottle of champagne to celebrate her legal age in the United Kingdom. Because being a teenie-bopper in the States will prevent you from doing alcohol related things. After tea, she invited me to join her in checking out this speakeasy/bar thing. It was pouring rain (so surprising), and she took me on this double-decker bus. Right to the very top. Which is a HUGE no-no in my book, seeing I am deathly afraid of busses and all.
Thankfully, we arrived at the venue in one piece. Pretty sure we needed some sort of password to even enter. Although, I could be making that up. Anyways, the hostess sat us next to a lovely group of females. Right away, my friend was mingling. The next thing you know, Chloe is telling me who she is studying lingerie design and just got back from a placement year.
HOW FUCKING COOL?!
So random. I just love when the universe directs you to people along a similar path. But I have been following Chloe's journey for a year now as she just finished her final year at Uni. Let me tell you this girl is talented and going to make the lingerie industry a better place. Excited to see where life takes her talents!
And here we go...
Why lingerie? Was there a specific event or brand that inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?
If I was to choose a brand it would have to be Lucile & Co. that inspired me to pursue a career in the lingerie industry. I became fascinated with the idea that garments held so many memories - particularly lingerie - all those secrets hidden within the threads. Lucile & Co’s founder designed and manufactured undergarments for women who were on the Titanic and that fascinated me in itself. However, I went on to find out that when her business first began; buying lingerie was sworn to secrecy, each garment was wrapped in brown paper and disguised. With female empowerment on the rise I wanted to be part of making lingerie to be seen, giving women that confidence to think ‘f*ck yeah, I look, and feel amazing!’. It was always so important to me to express my feelings, whether happy or sad through artwork, I used it as a type of therapy and I honestly think good lingerie can have that same effect on a person.
Tell me ALL about your collection, what inspired you?
My final collection - Memoirs in Bloom - is a hybrid of contemporary and retro swimwear styles. The initial inspiration stemmed from 4 generations of family history, owning a garden nursery. 3 textile printing techniques were used, including: flocking, foiling, and vinyl cutting - all combined to form a minimalistic, monochrome collection with a 60s space age vibe.
I had a very love/ hate relationship with my final collection. I’d always dreamed of it being a sentimental ode to my Great Nan after she passed away whilst I was on my placement year in China. She passed a suitcase on to my Grandad; full of family photos, deeds and documents dating right back to the early 1800s - which I love, I wanted to include everything! I’d looked at encapsulating real pressed flowers within plastic - to really portray that I was trying to preserve my family history. I’d designed a floral print which was a combination of my hand drawings, as well as images I’d taken of flowers both around my hometown, as well as in China. The colour scheme was set to be a tonal lilac palette - a little ode to my Grandma Heather. Until I hit a wall... the tutors didn’t love it, I didn’t love it.! In the end, I washed away all the colour, maybe these family memories were only meant to be seen by my family- like black and white photos. The silver element to my collection showing a constant reflection on the past.
It took time, but I did learn to love my collection and although I’d like to have improved on some areas, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Be brutally honest, how stressful was school? Any tips for students entering their first year?
I won’t lie, it’s the most stressful thing I’ve ever done! Every project has multiple elements but you get used to the process. I’d say to the first years, go and have the wildest freshers week you could have ever imagined! You’ll need it before the going gets tough! Put your all in, get as many placements as possible and if you get the chance to do a placement year - don’t even think twice - it’s the best thing I ever did!
Do you have a favorite piece of lingerie? What is it, who is it by, and why is it so special to you?
Funnily enough, I haven’t really indulged in any really fancy lingerie- when you get into the industry and see how soul-destroyingly cheap even the most expensive pieces are to manufacture - you’ll be happy with a £1 Primark thong (which are surprisingly as comfy as VS’s 5 for £25 thongs)!
The most recent bra I bought was the Bluebella Marina bra and although the cups run a bit small, I found out my friend Lou had designed it and I fell in love with it all over again - that was my graduation bra!
Where do you see yourself over the years? Do you have any future goals in place?
I love my job now so I’d like to stay at Tutti Rouge/ Starkers LTD for a few years before I spread my wings. My boyfriend and I always dream of living the American Dream so maybe we’ll venture there one day, we’ll have to see what the future holds. But for now, I’m happy.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
Pretty lingerie for every size! I’m tall and find it so hard to find briefs that sit on my hips or nice bodies that are long enough!
What brand do you believe is doing something “right?”
Savage X Fenty - A lthough bias because I love Rihanna - her newsletters, social media, the names, the pop ups, the models, the brand image - everything... looks insane! She’s done it right! Like Fenty Beauty, she’s ensured there’s something for everyone at a reasonable price point. One thing I would say is I wish she did a much larger size range, not for myself but for fuller busted ladies - it’s hard for small brands to venture into a huge size range due to costings and minimums, but she’s Rihanna - if anyone can do it, she can!
If you could give ONE piece of advice to a girl who is buying lingerie for the very first time, what would it be?
If it’s her first basic bra, get yourself measured and make sure you get one that’s the right fit and right shape for you. If it’s lingerie, go wild, it’ll give you confidence you didn’t know you had!