I sat down to interview the ladies from Lloyd Clothing for 01 Magazine to find out more about their work, what inspires them, and what the future holds for the brand.
I met with Kathy Hamagami and Mira Campbell at their second story studio on Commercial Drive. As the tireless sounds of the city moved behind our conversation, Mira and Kathy sat at their work desks, often finishing each other’s thoughts. Across from the two sat the rack of Lloyd samples in colours that resemble landscapes — shades of the desert, deep blues of early morning skies, crisp whites and khakis that reminded me of the prairies.
Kathy and Mira have an incredible calmness to their presence and the two seem to have an unspoken understanding of exactly what Lloyd is. Designing anything that has simplicity and minimalism at its heart is in my view some of the hardest work to create. It requires an immense amount of skill and taste.
The clothing that Lloyd makes reflects exactly that: beautifully made garments of high quality fabric, cut and sewn into timeless shapes.
Interview by: Ami Sangha
Copy Editor: Tina Shabani
Article layout: Melinda Santillan
Photography by: Andrew Querner
Assistant to photographer: Jon Norton
Art Direction: Redia Soltis
Make up + Hair: Jennifer Latour
From left to right: First Row: 1-Photo at Lloyd’s studio space 2- Model Ricky wearing Lloyd 3-Photo of Mira’s arm with pins Second Row: 1-2- Model Ricky wears Lloyd 3- A portrait of in house Lloyd photographer Carson Cartier Third Row: 1-Portrait of Lloyd’s designer Mira Campbell 2- Still life photos in studio kitchen 3- Model Ricky wears Lloyd
How did the two of you come to meet? How and when was Lloyd dreamed up?
Mira: We met almost two years ago around April and it was through Theo, he’s the namesake of the company, it’s his last name. Kathy had no idea that I sewed and was at my house one day as I was starting to make a bridesmaid’s dress for myself, and so I had a mannequin she noticed. she wanted a dress remade and she had also thought up some designs and asked if I wanted to work on some projects together. We started slowly plugging away, it was really casual. Kathy would come over once a week and we would just make dinner, sometimes we’d sew, and sometimes we’d just do nothing but sit in the studio.
Kathy: Yeh, it was sewing and gossiping in good company.
Mira: It got a little bit more serious as we started working on different projects together.We ran a designer consignment clothing sale called Tunic, and we ran it out of the Dunlevy Snackbar a couple of rounds. We wanted to feel each other out in terms of having more of a working relationship. It went really well!
Kathy: Everything we did kind of happened naturally. We never really had a business plan. It was kind of a hobby and it was stuff that we were wearing. Then it slowly evolved into what it is today. I feel like the last 16 months has been a slow transitional period and things are escalating at a faster pace now. It ’s challenging, exciting, and scary all at once.
Mira, you have a diploma in fashion design and Kathy, you are currently working for Molo Architects, well known for using experimental materials. How did these experiences affect your design aesthetic?
Mira: I’ve always sewn my whole life, so school was just a natural progression in terms of learning how to draft patterns properly.
Kathy: Molo has a minimal aesthetic which I find to be aligned with my own personal aesthetic taste, and that’s why I was drawn to working for the company.Lloyd also has a very natural, organic, but also plain feel. It’s all about really clean lines and simple shapes.
Mira: We just had our best Instagram comment ever coming from someone we didn’t know and they asked, “can we have your contact information? I love your plain clothes!” We laughed about it for days. We do make plain clothes. It’s just funny to hear someone describe it as plain.
I’m curious to know how you two came to create one vision for your brand, how did you collaborate your separate aesthetic visions into one cohesive collection?
Kathy: We never really had a discussion about creative direction. It just happened organically and it so happened that we were in line with having clothing that’s really basic. We were both more focused on the fit, comfort, and offering versatility through our pieces. It’s unique that we’ve had no issues or big fights.
Mira: Although we might argue over a collar from time to time, we aim to be in total agreement on everything. We have a couple of days throughout the week that we dedicate to working together, but also have to work separately a lot as our schedules don’t really collide. So I’m not going to move forward with the design and sew all day if Kathy and I haven’t had the chance to go over everything.
From left to right: First Row: 1- Lloyd studio photo 2- Ricky wears Lloyd 3-Polaroid from the shoot Second Row: 1- Lloyd’s other half Kathy Hamagami 2-3- Model Ricky wears Lloyd Third Row: 1- One of various minimal pieces from the collection 2- Model Ricky wears Lloyd 3- Kathy Hamagami holding one of her ceramic designs
Do you do most of the sewing?
Mira: Yes, Kathy’s learning but all the design is 100% collaboration. She’ll do all the cutting in the evening and I’ll put the pieces together the next morning.
Kathy: I’m responsible for account and project management duties at Molo, so I contribute to the business side of Lloyd to balance out the work-load between Mira and I.
Lloyd’s studio is also where you (Kathy) reside. What does it feel like to share your home space with your creative space? Does the collection become influenced by sharing the space that you live in?
Kathy: Shockingly I have no problem with it at all. It’s been really nice to have everything here other than the fact that Mira can’t come by whenever she wants to. We decided to stick to using my apartment because of all the beautiful natural light it offers.
Mira: Yeh, we decided to move in temporarily about a year ago. Kathy suggested to try this for a couple of months while we looked for a permanent space. We considered sourcing a common work space with other creatives but it seemed to make more sense to just stay here.
To me your collection feels like the pieces are made to be nomadic; to travel with one’s own life story, to be well worn and well-loved. Can you tell us more about who you see wearing your clothing? What does the clothing represent to you?
Mira: We’ve purposely chosen women of many different age groups to model for us so that we don’t get pigeon-holed into being for just one type of woman. For instance, one of our models is this really beautiful 75 year old woman who has a full head of silver hair.
Kathy: It’s also good to hear you say that it travels with you over time, because part of what we wanted to do was not have clothing that was seasonal. We didn’t want you to feel like, “oh, next year I’ll have to get rid of that because it might not translate”. We want to offer pieces that you will buy and wear throughout multiple seasons.
Mira: The climate is so mild in Vancouver that it’s not necessary to store away your summer clothes in storage. We wanted to offer easy and versatile clothing that you can layer all year around, like the tank tops and some of the more summery dresses. And working with linen, it’s got such a beauty to it. The fabric has this great stiffness to it. After I wash it a couple of times, the dye fades and the fabric softens, but it all happens very gradually. It’s like your grandmother’s linen tablecloth, the drape to it changes over time.
Kathy: So you’ll have this same piece but it’s quite different a few years later. It’s different but not necessarily in a bad way, it’s worn in and slightly softer.
Are your pieces meant to be androgynous?
Mira: Yeh, although some pieces are specifically for women. Our friend Chris Smith wore some of the pieces and they looked amazing on him. There’s also a photo of our male photographer, Carson Cartier on our Instagram page.
Kathy: It’s funny because Mira and I are really in line aesthetically. We talk often about what we’re making but rarely about why we produce certain pieces. It’s interesting for us to have our first interview about our process because it’s the first time we’re trying to articulate why we do what we do. You can see our strong views through our clothing, on things being androgynous, or unisex, things being made out of certain materials.
From left to right: First Row 1- Studio photo 2- Kathy Hamagami and Mira Campell 3-Studio photo Second Row 1- A portrait of Kathy 2-3- Ricky wearing Lloyd clothing Third Row 1- Kettle boiling in Lloyd’s kitchen 2- Model Ricky wearing Lloyd 3- Snapshot on the fridge of Kathy and Mira, and Kathy’s mom
I know that you teamed up with photographer Andrew Querner for 01 Magazine to photograph your most recent collection. What was it like working with Andrew? Can you talk about your collaboration with him?
Kathy: It was very easy and effortless to work together. Andrew’s gentle and knew exactly what we wanted.
Mira: It was really natural! We see ourselves working with Andrew again.
What are you both inspired by?
Kathy: It’s hard to boil it down to one thing but I find inspiration through other designers, artists, and creative friends like Carson. And the endless colour combinations in my daily encounter with flowers, sunsets or even industrial buildings are definitely sources of inspiration.
Mira: Agreed! Hearing Carson talk about the collection is pretty amazing. We couldn’t pay an employee to talk so passionately about Lloyd. Working with him has been really positive and informative for us. I also get inspired by just going to the fabric store honestly and sourcing out new blends of materials/colours. Sometimes I have to see the fabric before I know what I’m going to make out of it.
What can we look forward to seeing from Lloyd in the upcoming seasons?
Kathy: Instead of sample teasers, we’re going to offer more varieties and quantities for sale on our upcoming website.
Mira: The website is our next big push. We have lots of designs that are getting into heavier outerwear inspired pieces. The next direction we’ll go is to do some pants and also to implement some of the painted/printed minimal patterns by Carson. We’re going to go into production within the next couple of months and we’re going to produce one piece, the tunic dress in three colorways. That will be the first piece available for sale on our website.
As I left the studio I was really touched by the optimism of Kathy and Mira. They create from the heart and make what feels right to them in the moment. Intuition seems to guide the two and they surprise even themselves with Lloyd’s continuing evolution, embracing the constant shift of ideas. The future can do nothing but hold good things for Lloyd; for when you put your spirit into creating, it always translates.
Follow hellolloyd on Instagram for updates and inspiring pictures.