Hey, My name is Lauren de Lacey (@RaWrLolly) and I run an art collective called Recluse Colony (@RecluseColony). I started up this artistic group about a year ago to provide myself and other young, talented previously unknown designers with a stepping stone into the art industry. What sets us aside from most of the other creative brands out there is also what what makes us so special - we use recycled and upcycled resources where possible to make a stand against unnecessary mass production and waste - Plus, the materials we use are so popular as they’re unique!
I take pride in being quirky and using items that people wouldn’t automatically have associated with jewellery making.
Among my favourite materials to use are Scrabble tiles, Lego blocks, domino pieces, used drink cans, cassette tapes, buttons and old floppy disks
I am primarily an edgy jewellery designer but have recently branched out into more bespoke pieces and customised jackets. I think the decision to go into clothing was almost accidental for me – I couldn’t find a jacket in any high street store that really reflected my personality and so I started making my own. I think in contemporary society it’s on trend to be wearing garments made by ‘underground’ brands so my co-operative has been slowly increasing in momentum.
I take great satisfaction in taking an old, unloved jacket and making it look like it’s just been out partying at London Fashion Week, with a twist! How I make a jacket mainly depends on the individual client’s tastes and desires – they will either give me a specific colour/theme palette they would like me to run with, or will give me freedom to go wild (which is always more fun!) and I will fill out a design brief on what colours, bands and patterns they like in order to get a feel for who they are. Then I incorporate those factors with my personal aesthetic to provide a unique item of clothing!
I like to unstitch the entire garment when I receive it and replace certain panels with custom fabrics, then slowly reshape it while adding different coloured stitching and buttons to give it a fresher, more vibrant design-led look. Next I refer back to the brief and ascertain which band patches and quirkily shaped textile areas to attach and where, and I often like to stud and/or safety pin and badge up the lapels, cuffs and pockets. Although leather is one of the more durable materials I work with and therefore hardest to manipulate, it’s also one of my favourites. Acrylic paints really contrast and work well on its surface, so it’s easy to do more intricate paintwork work and lyrics, band names and so on.
As for what’s next for Recluse Colony – the plans in the pipeline are endless! I would love to recruit more members and showcase our talents by doing a tour of the University campuses around the country – it is our goal to host events in every city, where we put up indoor market stalls with independent designers exhibiting their wares, plus local, unsigned bands laying the event, with profits going to a charity. To raise interest and awareness for an organisation that I believe in would be incredible!
In the past I have suffered with crippling depression and lots of personal and professional problems were brought on as a direct result of this. I’d love to become a role model for young people suffering in similar ways. To help a deserving mental health charity raise their profile, become a positive spokesperson for a cause so close to my heart and really educate the general public that people with mental illnesses aren’t freaks, or crazy, and they can overcome anything and be anything they want to be in life, would be so fulfilling.
I was selected to be on an RSA Trust funded business mentoring and support course called the Inspiring Women’s Programme in Enfield so with any luck you’ll see me and the rest of my team at Recluse Colony invading a city near you very soon!
Contact or find lots more of Recluse Colony’s work online:
Tumblr (blog): RecluseColony
Twitter: @RecluseColony & @RawrLolly
To buy one of pieces or enquire about custom work, contact Recluse Colony directly: firstname.lastname@example.org