Our Editor, Tskenya-Sarah Fraser, sits down to interview a young fashion designer, Mr. Leroni, about his inspiration, choice not to study fashion and future aims.
Tskenya-Sarah Fraser: Tell me about where you get the inspiration for your style.
Mr. Leroni: The inspiration for my work comes from so many different places. It’s really hard to identify the things that inspire me as they change from day to day. I usually design things from scratch, recycling anything that I have lying around or that I find in the street. I get inspiration from the most random things sometimes, but I love finding something that to most people would just be a piece of junk and imagining what I could do with it. It’s about seeing that hidden beauty and potential in something. Even if it’s just an old broom head or a broken hanging basket or whatever it has the potential to be something fantastic. Just going for a walk around the city or through the park can inspire me. Even the music I am listening to. I find that music can be so inspiring because it can change the way I’m feeling in an instant. I love just sitting down with all the things I have collected, putting in my earphones with some music and letting my imagination do all the work.
TSF: How long does each headpiece take to make?
Mr. L: It really depends on what types of material I have found to work with. I prefer working with hard material, things like wire or metal mainly because they are more malleable and you can just be so much more unconventional with those sorts of material. Your options, for what to make, are almost limitless and you can change and reuse things much easier than if you are working with fabrics. I guess it could take up to 6 or 7 hours to get the basic concept of a headpiece together then another hour or two fixing the details. But it varies from piece to piece. I don’t usually count the time and I never do it all in one day, just as and when I feel like it.
TSF: I know you don’t study fashion, which I find amazing. Are you self-taught? How did you get into designing?
Mr. L: I guess I am self-taught. I’ve never studied any sort of fashion. I come from Paraguay and grew up there. It’s a beautiful country but most people there are quite conservative and so most people dress the same way; quite boring! Ever since I was young I just loved standing out from the crowd and being different. When I was a kid in Paraguay this was easy. I started wearing odd socks, making holes in my jeans and dying my hair; little things like that. When I moved to London it was so different; everyone had odd socks and holes in their jeans! It was like I had to try harder to stand out, but I also got inspired by the city, the people and the street style. London is so inspirational, a place where so many different things just clash and mix together. So once I was here I just started designing things for myself from different things I found and saw around the city. I guess that’s when I really got into designing.
TSF: Who are your favourite fashion designers and why?
Mr. L: My favourite fashion designers are Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and my friend Magda Durka. I love Alexander McQueen for his lack of inhibition and willingness to take risks. His work is just outstanding. You can see so much creativity and beauty in every one of his designs. For me he is the god of fashion. Philip Treacy’s headpieces are incredible. I find it amazing how he creates perfection in every single piece and gets that harmony between outlandishness and beauty just spot on every time. You can see so much passion in his work. Magda Durka was such a big influence on me when I first came to London. She taught me not to care what people thought and to feel free to express myself. I love her style and passion for colours in her designs.
TSF: Do you plan to start your own label?
Mr.L: It would be a dream come true but financially I can’t at the moment. It’s always in the back of my mind for one day in the future though. At the moment I’m just enjoying designing things for myself.
TSF: How would you describe your creativity in 3 words?
Mr. L: I would have to say escapist, experimental and fun.
If you would like to see more of Leroni’s design journey, make sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
Wirtten by Tskenya-Sarah Fraser,
photographs by Austėja Ščiavinskaitė.