The designer is equally loyal to both locales.READ MORE
Launching her own line was pretty much Louisa Parris’s destiny. “My mom [a fashion illustrator] used to say, ‘When you graduate college, the first thing you’ll want to do is start your label,’” she recounts. “First, I studied at Kingston, but I struggled quite a lot with the course. We would spend a semester just doing a tailored jacket, and, at that time, I wanted to be freer and do crazier things. So I switched to Central Saint Martins. Instead of doing straight womenswear, I did fashion design with marketing—that entailed a year working in the industry, which I thought was brilliant. I worked for costume designers, did stuff in theatre and film, and worked at Mulberry and Donna Karan for three months—it was amazing.” Oh, and: She won the school’s coveted womenswear collection award.
Soon after, the born-and-bred Londonite made a big move: In 2005, she packed her bags for San Francisco with her boyfriend, who she married a
year later. Wanting to improve her pattern-making skills, she enrolled in classes at the Academy of Art, but she quickly took on a new role there. “I ended up teaching BFA and MFA design students. It helped with my confidence, talking to all those students,” she explains. So did winning the Gen Art Styles International Design Award for eveningwear in 2008.
Eventually, she gave up teaching to focus on her label—which started as a sort of nights-and-weekends-and-days-off thing. She also added a collection of bold scarves and hats to her arsenal of gowns this year. “I love a really graphic scarf—something that feels really luxurious and doesn’t date,” she explains. “Making them is much more manageable than a ten-piece collection that has 25 patterns and requires three dressmakers.” —erica