FP:Please tell us a little about yourself; where are you from and how did you come to be a designer/milliner?
LC:Hello. I come from Oxfordshire and being from the countryside has had a massive impact on my work. I was always interested in fashion. I worked for Burberry when I lived back at home so I think that got me interested. I wanted to study in London, I started doing menswear for a bespoke tailor I worked for. That really helped me. I applied for a Millinery course, as there aren’t any BAs in millenary, so you have to piece together your own course really.
FP:Berlin Alternative Fashion Week promotes ethically sourced, environmentally conscious fashion production. Do these ideals go hand in hand with your combined use of 3D print technology and traditional techniques? How long does each piece take to make?
LC: I was using nylon for the 3D printing so it is a plastic - but it is environmentally conscious as you can go to a printer close to you to get it printed. Ideally I would have liked to have all the pieces to be printed all in one go, so for cost and the timing – it takes a long time! The digital work took the longest to create because then it has to be 3D printed. If you don’t leave enough allowance in gaps when you get it printed it can melt together.
FP:What are the inspirations that form your ideas for a piece?
LC:Something that lasted. We all have a connection to something that makes us feel good, whether it’s a top or a bag and I wanted to make something that you’d have more self-awareness for during the time you weren’t wearing it. I see them more as fashion artefacts because it’s a cross between fashion and fine art.
FP:What drew you to become involved in Berlin Alternative Fashion Week? How are you preparing for the show?
LC: A friend told me about it then showed the organisers my film Sirens. I was interested in being involved because of the way they reacted to my work. They were the first to react so positively to my work. It’s quite difficult to get people to see your work so this should be really rewarding. I’m preparing for it by just working!
FP: Do you have a specific research process when you begin to form the idea for a new collection?
LC: I like to read. I was really interested in a writer who said, ‘the most important human act is the act of inhabiting or connecting ourselves, however temporarily, with a place on the planet’ - or something like that. It’s a much more emotional process.
FP:You’re film Sirens was a beautiful way of showcasing your designs - what inspired you to make it and have you any plans to do another?
Siren from Leo Carlton on Vimeo.
LC: I do have plans to do another. I’ve learnt a lot from doing this kind of work. I still want to do 2D pieces that connect people to what they are wearing and ideally I’d love to do more stuff for catwalk.
FP: Berlin is a hub for nurturing and supporting alternative thinking, which has made it a hub for pioneering design. Have you visited before or will this your first time?
LC: It’ll be my first time; I am excited and have heard a lot about it. I’d like to stay for longer or maybe even live there.
Check out Leo's website.