Interview with Lee Lapthorne, Creative Director - On/Off

on 21/1/10

Lee Lapthorne Creative Director Doll - On Off

Profile Information:

Lee Lapthorne is Creative Director of On/Off, the UK’s original, independent fashion showcase during London Fashion Week and an exhibition that uniquely bridges the gap between on and off schedule designers and is praised by international press and buyers for creating a unique platform to showcase designer’s collections, by pushing the boundaries of contemporary exhibition space.

Over the past eleven seasons, On|Off’s pioneering approach has attracted some of the most exciting talent from the UK and internationally, including: Pam Hogg, Hannah Marshall, Jasper Conran, Gareth Pugh, Peter Pilloto, Aminaka Wilmont, Gardem, Karen Walker and Sinha Stanic.

Each season, a panel of industry experts select four innovative and promising designers to showcase their works as part of a collaborative catwalk show, On|Off Presents... The event has successfully showcased designers such as Richard Sorger, Mark Fast, Steph Aman, Rizvi Millinery and helped boost their profile and sales via exposure to top UK and international press and buyers.

Lee Lapthorne answers our questions & gives us a glimpse into his world.

What are the main duties of your role? Lead and direct a creative team.

What are the best aspects about your current role? Variety and creative satisfaction.

Are there any areas that are particularly difficult or challenging? Managing clients expectations and financial constraints.

When employing a graduate what are the attributes you look for? Initiative and spark.

Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on? There is no such word as can’t – where there is a will there is a way. Also the seeds you sow today will eventually blossom.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given? Don’t do it! Also that designers are not loyal.

What do you feel are the most important trends / changes happening in the industry that you feel students should be aware of? Individuality is a key trend but with focus – ie. Commercial, wearable garments. Garments have become hand crafted and therefore more unique and individual – that cannot be copied by highstreet standards.

On Off Exhibition
On/Off organised by Doll

Quickfire Q&A:

When were you happiest?
In the print room experimenting.

What is your highest qualification?
Masters with distinction.

What is your most treasured procession?
My Beagle Erin.

Last exhibition / event that you went to see?
I don’t get to see enough.

3 words that describe yourself?
Motivated, positive, determined.

Who would you most like to meet?
The choreographer David Bentley.

Most inspirational person you have met?
Isabella Blow.

How would you save the planet?
Motivate and inspire my children.

What inspires you the most?
Peoples creativity and style.

Who do you consider to be a real pioneer?
Gareth Pugh.

What is your must-have item for next season?
A tattoo.

What is your biggest hope for the future?
To stay healthy for as long as possible.

What are you wearing today?
Jean Pierre Braganza trousers, PPQ shirt, Jasper Conran moleskin jacket, Red or Dead boots.

Person you most admire? 
Madonna for her longevity.

Your favourite book:
Gardening book – which I reference.

Your favourite film:
Man on Wire.

Your favourite music:
80’s hits – Depeche Mode.

Your favourite location:
My garden.

Your favourite label:
Jean Charles de Castelbajac.

Your favourite style icon:
Vivienne Westwood.

Your favourite artist:
Robert Frank.

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