Michelle Lowe-Holder

...creativity comes from an indescribable need

Born in Canada, Michelle Lowe-Holder had accomplished an Honours degree from Pratt Institute in New York worked for several years in the industry before realizing the dream of attending Central Saint Martins in 1999. After finishing her MA in Knitwear, the Michelle Lowe-Holder clothing collection kick-started with an off-schedule presentation at Browns Department Store in London 2001. The British Fashion Council awarded Michelle Lowe-Holder NEWGEN sponsorship, which included presence and sales during London Fashion Week. For three seasons including one sponsored on-schedule catwalk show. Michelle’s AW10 Collection “Ribbon Reclaim” marked a big change in her direction. After 10 years of designing and producing women’s wear collections, the pieces in this collections were totally sustainable and accessories only. Ethical and sustainable concepts have always been present in every collection of hers in some form or another, however, The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion mentoring program helped Michelle to develop a more concentrated and focused collection whereby the primary craft and often antique or vintage detail (which would have been a part of the clothing design and the inspiration for the collection) has become the design or piece itself. Sustainable and ethical practises of zero waste, up-cycling by using ends of lines and “cabbage” (scraps from previous collections) with UK production is integral to the collection. The added advantage of making smaller accessory pieces allows the handwork to be the main feature and value - not the material itself. Her most recent collections all explore “ribbon art”. A kind of folding technique interlaced with crochet and hand cut bases. Her AW11 collection also added thrift shop finds with zero waste process to revive, recolour and regenerate.

Nothing inspires me like…
An old bit of cloth.

I hope…
So many, many things, it can be a little exhausting.

Cultural influences…
Help. A lot.

I got where I am…
Through absurd, blind tenacity.

Fashion can sometimes...
Every once in while make you so very, very happy.

Cake makes me...
Well, fat!

My dreams are…
When I remember, a pleasure. Every night I go to different beautiful rooms. I have been going since I was a child.

My goal…
Is quite simple; stay in business, keep working, make money to keep creating in the best possible way.

I love getting older...
Because my mind is much sharper, but it would be so much better to be rewarded with a body getting younger!

I live east…
Come from the north (Canada), dream of the south and shop in the west.

I dance like…
A white girl at a wedding...sad really. Not a good look…

Creativity comes from…
An indescribable need. Some people are just born that way.

If I could…
I would have a beautiful swimming pool in my house.

I wouldn’t want...
To stop. Ever.

NYC/London/Paris/Milan is…
It. No matter how hard the others try.

My vice is…
Collecting stuff, in particular, vintage clothing. I have loads. The first piece I bought was when I was 12 year old. I bought the most beautiful 1950’s smocked, puffed sleeve, chartreuse, tulle evening jacket, I still have it and still think it is amazing.

The earliest memory…
Of fashion was my mother making me a “beautiful” party dress. It had a real hoop in the skirt, puffed sleeves and a layer of cream embroidered organza over a mint green lining. What was she thinking? I loved it, of course.

Studios make me…
Feel focused. Even in my freezing cold, old, leaky, industrial studio. In the beginning I worked out of my bedroom with all my clothes, fabric, yarns and a massive knitting machine as my bed headboard! Never underestimate the power of a space of your own to work. It is a necessity, a pleasure and a luxury.