B meets Dora Larsen
Dora Larsen launched just last summer, a divine lingerie brand where everything is just delicious! Which really makes me think I need to re assess my failing lingerie drawer and buy everything!
Founder Georgia used to be a lingerie buyer at Topshop, so she knows her way around a bra or two. Georgia’s studio is now based in Peckham, which she absolutely loves and describes as her favourite place in the world, where you can be anyone. Pretty appealing! We met nearby at a relaxed, rustic coffee bar, which reminded me of an old school Spanish taverna with a London hipster edge - bear with me it was sunny which helped! More details from Georgia below, which you’ll want to read - no more daydreams of sunny tavernas - but this will get you dreaming of what you can do if you put your mind to it.
ON HER BRAND
It’s all about colour, and the art of putting colours together to create something new. It’s feminine, but still subtle. It’s everyday, but you always feel special wearing it. Importantly, its affordable too. In a world full of very expensive brands and cheap high street shops, there didn’t feel like there was much choice in the middle. B - You definitely get Studio B agreeing with this! We’ve curated a mix of brands who are all about the middle, premium but attainable. Let’s buy better, buy less, love more and love longer!
HONESTY ABOUT PRODUCTION - B TRANSPARENT
I sketch the designs and develop a colour palette. I then use an agent to help me with the patterns and fits to get this perfect. They also have a fantastic relationship with a China based factory, who they also use for a number of high-end lingerie labels. I get frustrated with the ‘rep’ China gets with regards to production. My factory has very high ethical standards, more so than many factories I’ve had experience with in Europe or the US. No worker is under the age of 19, and everyone gets paid at least minimum wage, often more. The quality is also fantastic, in China they really ‘get’ lingerie and it’s where the majority of big name luxury lingerie brands produce. I do struggle with margin at my ‘mid-range’ price point, but it’s important to me to keep price down as much as I can (if I produced in Italy or France I would need to charge £80-£100 a bra). B - Now you know that made in China doesn’t necessarily mean unethical, we champion transparency to tell you more about what you are buying! What does that high street label tell you?
I started working on the brand nearly two years ago, but it only launched last summer. I very much have the attitude of ‘YOLO’, I wasn’t feeling inspired working for a big corporation anymore and just wanted to be happy. Financially, it was a big struggle to leave a regular pay check, I even signed on! But I think that only made me more grounded and prepared for the challenges ahead!
ON HER HISTORY
Study wise, not at all! I don’t even have an art GCSE… but I’ve always been very creative. I started making clothes at 15, set up a fashion blog at 18 and was an avid drawer. I think it was my blog that then got me a job as an assistant buyer at Topshop, where I specialised in the lingerie department for a number of years. This introduced me to the world of underwear design and the whole process behind this!
I think lingerie is becoming more closely aligned with RTW collections, so I’m always hugely inspired by fashion, it’s important to always be looking for new ideas. I’m also hugely inspired by the colours found in nature: sunsets, flowers, leaves. Its endless!
The hardest part is taking it all so personally. You want everything to go perfectly all the time, that if it doesn’t it breaks your heart a bit. But you do get stronger and there are so many good bits! The creative freedom, the strategy, the ability to be your ‘true’ self (without any constraints of a boss). B - Yep we can vouch for a few broken-hearted moments!
ARSE AND BALLS
It’s less about confidence and more about getting off your arse and just doing it. I don’t think I had much confidence in the beginning, but you just have to do it, even though you have millions of fears and doubts. What’s the worst that can happen? You might be skint. It might fail. But no one will ever judge you for that, people will only ever think ‘good on them for having the balls’. You will also learn from it and if it does succeed then all the better!