FK talks to Lauren, from Geelong based label Okt-ober Dee a recent stallholder at our Sydney Finders Keepers Markets.
Tell us about Okt-ober Dee and the concept behind it.
I have had the label ‘okt-ober dee’ for around 5-6 years. However, it has evolved in weird and wonderful ways beyond my first ideas. Basically I have a passion for textures and materials, that I put to use by creating some lovely things to share with people. The name itself is made up of my birth month, and ‘dee’ is short for design.
What is your background and how does it show in your work?
I have a degree in Industrial Design. I believe it is quite evident in my work, however it by no means dominates the aesthetic or organic nature of my designs. Basically some of the methods I use to manufacture my ideas come from the Industrial Design background. However, my interest in materials and contrasting textures is certainly a more identifiable thread.
Who and what inspires you and your label?
Perhaps if anyone it is the people who appreciate and love my products. I am often simply inspired by the materials at hand, a passion for vintage and all things old-world. I adore all things Scandinavian and Dutch, so shapes and patterns can sometimes house that flavour.
What do you find the most challenging thing about running your own business?
The most difficult part has been, and continues to be a balance of creating/designing and then making it a commercially viable and profitable business. I only recently was able to leave other jobs to focus on the label, it took years to get to that stage.
Tell us about your creative surroundings and working space.
Golly gosh…. what a mess! Piles of fabric, leather, buttons, buckles, tapestries, timbers, pretty much like anyone’s creative space. I have a little studio with a teeny weency shop front adjoining. I do have a wall on which I put mementos and things that make me smile. Amidst the chaos, I am quite relaxed knowing all the things I need and love are nearby.
What are you working on now and what can we expect to discover at Finders Keepers Sydney?
Well, some super exciting stuff actually, looking forward into the chilly winter months. I will be focussing on my neckwear and handbags for the Finders Keepers. I have been busy making some one-off Tweedlechiefs and Neckerchiefs. I have also made a special ‘Kimi Scarf’ especially to bring to Sydney, the shape of which is inspired by Kimono. As well as this I will have some of my brand new handbags, which have only just gone into stores, and one of which was featured in the current Frankie mag.