If there is anyone who understands how hectic the run up to fashion week is, it’s Lee Lapthorne. As the Founder of Doll (an event, production and promotion agency) and Director of On|Off, (a showcase of some of the best emerging design talent in the UK) Lapthorne is responsible for giving many new designers that all important platform to have their work noticed by international buyers and press.
A self confessed workaholic Lapthorne can also be found lecturing, designing and appearing on T.V shows such as Project Catwalk and Make me a Super Model. Luckily we managed to grab a few moments with the man who is arguably one of the most influential figures in the British Fashion Industry.
You have your finger in MANY pies! Of all your different projects which gives you the most enjoyment? And how do you manage such a hectic work schedule and still manage to stay sane?
I actually like being in the print room on my own making a mess. Aside from that On|Off is naturally one of the most rewarding as I get such a kick from seeing designers flourish. As for managing a hectic workload and staying sane, I’ve given up on that one. No, I am learning to get a little more work-life balance, though by nature I am a workaholic, so it’s an interesting one.
You’ve been described as one of the most important people in design. In your opinion who is the most important fashion designer today?
Sorry, I can’t name just one.
Which new designer should we keep an eye on in 2008?
Richard Sorger. He has a strong celebrity following and unique use of applique; Also Steph Aman for her individual handcrafted chiffon pieces.
What has been the most challenging aspect of running On|Off?
Keeping it going for 9 seasons against all odds including lack of funding, a fire at the Royal Academy and perpetual fashion politics.
You’re currently producing a number of bespoke scarves. What was the inspiration behind this project?
I graduated with an MA in textiles in 98 and decided it was about time I continued to produce for my own portfolio and I increasingly find my own personal struggle is to find time for my own creative outlets.
Are you a fan of fashion blogs? If so which do you read regularly?
I am a fan. I think they’re often honest reports, which is refreshing , not advertiser influenced or anything – and I am starting to be addicted to facebook, but that’s as far as it goes.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen and Madonna’s Ray of Light mash-up track that we’ll be using for our groups show, On|Off Presentsâ€¦
Whom would you credit as being inspirational force in your life?
Last movie you watched?
Pirates of The Caribbean 3; It was too long, but great special effects
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
One of my tutors, who said never get a full-time job as you’ll get too used to the money.