Maker Profile: Julia Lous, Designer and Owner of LOUS - Copenhagen
Hi Julia! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Julia Lous and I grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is also where I did my master in fashion design from The Royal Academy of Design and architecture. I am a mother of two kids - Iben and Asger, 9 & 4 years old. My studio and my home are located in Østerbro, Copenhagen.
What was your first job?
My first job was teaching at a tailoring school in Copenhagen, the same school I went to before I got into the Royal Academy. I love teaching because teaching forces me to reflect on my own method of design, so I actually find it a great way to learn new things about my own work, method and process.
What lead you to begin LOUS?
After having my youngest Asger I didn’t know what to do. I just knew I couldn’t go back to teaching full time. I think when I was on my maternity leave I saw my life from a different perspective and it made me reflect. I knew I loved teaching, but I also knew that it wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do. I always wanted to start my own company, but I felt a little overwhelmed at the thought of getting started all by myself. Instead I started a little shop and studio with one of my best friends, and this lead me to start LOUS. It made it a soft start and I think I needed that. It also made it possible for me to really have time to think and be very aware about what I wanted to create with LOUS.
Can you go a bit into your design process?
I have some elements I always use in my collections, it's like a dogma. My designs should be classic, so they transcend seasons. I always create my main details in the way the clothes are cut. Something you only really see and feel when you wear it or you look closer. And I want good quality. I am such a nerd when it comes to finish and sewing; I think it’s because of my background as a tailor. I drape my collections and this is where the creative process really kicks in. To me draping is just very intuitive and artful. I use it for ideation, as a sort of sketching technique. I always start the process with a mood board with my visual inspiration. Often my inspiration comes from art and architecture, but nature is also very much a source of inspiration.
How do you source your materials?
I have some Danish and Italian agents I work with, and I sometimes go to premiere vision (big textile fair in Paris). I get most of my buttons form this lovely Spanish company.
How do you connect with your customers and community?
I use social platforms, especially Instagram which love. I also have little events in my studio.
What are some brands/designers that you are excited about that we should know of?
Katrine Kristensen - My favorite jewelry comes from this amazing lady.
Anita Johansen - A very gifted furniture and product designer. I have my favorite trays from her, and I am wishing for her daybed!
Why do you think it’s important to shop small and support local makers?
I think by supporting them you take part in creating a better direction, by being a consumer you can influence with your choices. Also for my part, I know how much work and consideration goes into creating each product. I am not sure you get the same thoughtfulness and integrity when you buy mass produced products.
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
Hard to mention just one favorite thing about my workspace because I am so excited about it. I have a lot of space compared to Copenhagen standards. It is very close to my home in Østerbro, which is nice when I bike to pick up kids. The area is really nice, the studio is in a backyard but when I step out into the street the first thing I see is a florist. I share the space with Erik and we drink a lot of good coffee.
What role has Copenhagen played in the development of your designs?
Copenhagen plays a huge role in my designs, my esthetic is just very Danish – simple, functional and focused on quality and texture. I went to the Royal Academy of Design and Architecture in Copenhagen, which means that I am schooled in a certain way, it´s a school with deep roots in Danish design tradition.
My parents own this little antique shop, so I was raised with Danish midcentury classics and ceramics. They would always drag me to art shows, museums and flea markets around Copenhagen, and I guess that influence shows in the way I design.
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
Seeing my ideas come to life. It is fantastic when I see the samples for the first time, and at the same time I dread it because I never know if everything is going to be right. Besides that, I love many parts of the process in designing. The ideation, the draping and also meeting all these great people that I work with, for example when I go visit the factory in Bulgaria.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you faced when starting your line?
It is really hard to find a production place that will do low minimums. That was the biggest struggle in the beginning.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other?
I think it’s so important to support each other. In my experience the strong women in my life have made such a big impact on my business.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
I am going to mention two of my best friends - both mega talented, strong and beautiful women:
Casey Blond of Mr. Larkin - She is just such a super talented designer and she curates, styles and runs her shop to perfection.
Cille Vengberg - She´s a textile designer and also an artist. I love her work. She makes the most beautiful installations, knitwear, collages and illustrations. I recently invested in one of her pieces for my studio.
What have you learned from owning your business that you think can apply to any creative endeavor?
Two things really stand out to me. What I find is the most important, not just when you start your business, but in life in general, is to trust your intuition. It sounds simple but it isn’t always! I think women in general have strong intuitions. That and to ask for help and advice. Before I started my business I hated to ask anybody for help, but I have gotten really good at it. I found that people generally like to help. I have had so many amazing people help me.
What are you looking forward to in the coming months?
Designing AW18 and a trip to France with my little family for the summer holidays
How do you manage a work/life balance?
I don’t think I always manage that balance. It is getting easier now that the kids are getting bigger. And because the business is growing I have had freelancers helping me. In the beginning it was more crazy in the busy periods. I think the balance is a constant battle to get right, and I try to just do my best and not be to hard on myself when I don’t succeed.
What are some of your favorite places in Copenhagen?
Louisiana - I love taking the train to this wonderful museum just outside Copenhagen.
V1 Gallery - These guys always have interesting art.
Design Museum Denmark - I have been coming to this place all my life. It is the nicest little museum and they even have a beautiful library.
Eating out Copenhagen is really great, but expensive. I recommend going to Jægersborggade, it’s a nice little street with shops and restaurants. Go to Manfreds to eat. Nearby there is an amazing bar/eatery with natural wine and delicious food called Gaarden og gaden. And while you are already in Nørrebro, you should go do some antique shopping. Ravnsborggade is filled with nice cafés and antique shops. For good coffee I always go to Kafferiet, the décor is great and coffee there is even better!