Luisa Loveday launched her boudoir lingerie brand, Loveday London, just 10 months ago, yet the label is proving to be more popular with retailers, consumers and the press than many more established labels in the field. Sarah Blackman talks to the designer about how she has developed such credibility.
New luxury label, Loveday London, is described as a hardcore romance brand due to its juxtaposition between fashion and sex, and love and romance.
But upon meeting founder Luisa Loveday at Mode City, Paris this season, and then again at the Lingerie Edit in London, I discovered that there may be more than one meaning to this tagline – it seems that Loveday is enjoying her own hardcore romance with her brand.
She’s truly devoted to her business, so much so that she launched to trade when she was seven months pregnant and, since giving birth in May, she’s continued to juggle being a new mum with exhibiting at trade shows, designing collections and getting her e-commerce site up and running – a lifestyle many independent designers couldn’t even contemplate.
“You might say that the timing couldn’t have been worse,” Loveday says, laughing. “I mean, it is a huge pressure on time; I sit and work until 12 o’clock at night some nights, and then I go to bed and get woken up at 1.30am. And then 4am. And then 7am. It’s just endless.
“But actually, in a way, I’m glad that I’m doing it this way because a lot of my friends who are designers, and are maybe five years in with their brands, can’t understand how they could possibly ever fit a baby in with their lifestyle. Whereas, with this, I don’t really know any different, and the baby doesn’t know any different.
“My day isn’t a nine to five day; my day is a 24-hour day, but I do a bit here and a bit there. Having emails on your mobile phone is an amazing thing.”
And it seems that her dedication to the cause has paid off. Since launching in January, Loveday London has entered prestigious UK stockists including Selfridges London, Dolci Follie and Odyssey Boutique.
Overseas retailers, Alla Prima in the US, Cazar in Germany and Burlesque in Bahrain, have also chosen to stock the brand’s seductive lingerie lines this season. And Loveday London is now in talks with Netherlands boutique Pleasurements, and Full Disclosure, a
UK-based e-tailer targeting the Saudi Arabian market, to take on its AW14 and SS15 collections.
“It has been great success because it’s sort of been accepted as a credible brand even though we’re in our first season,” says Loveday.
“I think it helps that I know people from my past roles [Loveday previously worked for Coco de Mer and Fleur of England] so I recognise faces at the trade shows, but also, because we’ve got so many products for our first season, we seem more established than we are, so that’s really been reflected in the response from buyers and the press.
“That’s how I really wanted to start – with a comprehensive range. That’s really only the tip of the iceberg of what I want to be doing, but I wanted to start with a good range and really put a powerful brand message out there right from the beginning, so we’ve done that and, as a result, it has been received in a more serious way than I probably expected it to be.”
And Loveday London isn’t only popular with retailers – consumers and the press are also showing keen interest in the brand. In July, it was crowned the Best Brand by members of the press who attended the Lingerie Edit.
The label received the most votes from editors, freelancers and bloggers in an anonymous ballot at the trade show.
But, with a name like Luisa Loveday, it may be that the designer was destined for success.
“I’ve always wanted my own brand. For as long as I’ve been able to use a computer I’ve been putting my name into logos. I remember ripping off Lulu Guinness’ logo once and writing Lulu Loveday in the square using Microsoft Paint and I had it stuck above my bed when I was a little girl,” says Loveday, giggling.
Loveday went on to graduate with a 1st class degree in Design Management for Fashion Retailing from the University of Manchester in 2009, before being snapped up by renowned players in the industry.
“As part of my course I did my internship year with Fleur of England, which was known as Fleur’T back then. I loved it and I’d always loved lingerie anyway, so I was applying for fashion placements as well as lingerie placements, but once I got into lingerie and started finding out more and more about the industry, there was no way I would go back to fashion,” explains Loveday.
“Fleur offered me the opportunity to join her team on a full-time basis, so I did that straight after university for a further two and a half, maybe three years.”
Loveday then moved on to Coco de Mer. “I started doing their marketing and then, after three months, their designer went on maternity leave and they needed someone to fill the role. The buyer was like, ‘obviously Luisa has to do it’ so I was like ‘oh my god, ok!’,” she exclaims.
“I designed for three seasons for Coco and they were all sell-out ranges, so I thought, right, I’m on to something here.”
Loveday says her work experience helped her find her own style and design handwriting, which led her to create a unique line of products.
“So rather than trying to create something that’s totally new, I’ve just gone with what is me. So the style of everything, the branding, the product, it’s all me,”
“Nothing is designed to be, like, out there. I say that, but I was speaking to one of my NCT mums and she was like, ‘I was looking at some of the underwear and some of it’s quite scary but I was quite excited about it!’,” Loveday explains in a high-pitched voice, before laughing hysterically.
“In a way, the brand is like a hybrid between Fleur of England and Coco de Mer because I love the romance of Fleur’s brand, but then I love the erotica, fashion, sex side of Coco de Mer,” she says.
“I’ve never really been into the bondage-chic kind of things – like the strappy, plain black elastics – they’re not really very me, so I guess that’s where the beautiful laces come in, but the leather is the hardcore side of it I guess.
“Someone once asked me what it was I was designing and hardcore romance was a phrase that came out and that was it. It resonates throughout the website, the products, the imagery – everything can be described as hardcore romance.”
Following on from the release of her popular Seduction, Superstition and Attraction collections for AW14, Loveday London has three new themes for SS15: Temptation, Devotion and Obsession.
“So Temptation is made in molten-silver leather and we’ve got a corded Italian lace made with silver. We have a lovely gown in that and a demi-cup bra, so keeping the shapes very familiar from autumn/winter, because obviously we are still building a foundation of products,” Loveday discloses.
“Then there’s Devotion, which is our Valentine’s collection, and that’s like a baby pink leather featuring almost like a sports luxe mesh, but it’s still very, very feminine. The silhouettes are perhaps a bit more risqué in that collection because the cups just have two straps.
“And then the third collection is Obsession, which is an oriental-inspired group using black leather, black corded lace and hand-cut beaded flowers. The accent colour is a sunset kind of colour. So although it’s essentially a black collection, it has spring/summer details to it.
“What we found for autumn/winter is that everybody identified very strongly with their own favourite collection. It identifies with different personalities.”
Loveday has presented her collection to trade and is now concentrating on gaining more stockists and driving traffic to her website, which was launched in August, just months after giving birth.
“Crazily, I started building the website in May, so just after I had my baby,” she says. “But I knew what the basic design was going to be when we launched the company in January. It’s been a quick process, but it’s always been clear in my mind what I wanted.”
“The traffic to the site increases every week and the sales are reflecting this too, which we are thrilled about. We’re really excited about the website so we hope, by showing our brand presence, it will generate a lot more traffic, particularly towards Christmas.”