Lucy Tranter-Wissemann and I have known each other for nearly a decade. I've watched her Brisbane-based label, I found Lucy. blossom from its conception in 2011, into a cult-followed label now featured in international magazines.
I found Lucy. is a label with an artistic heart and unswayable ethos, and incredibly, Lucy is a self-taught designer and dressmaker too. She channels her childhood love of all things arts and craft into her label, and she's not shy about the kind of woman she's designing for - I found Lucy. is a brand for the unapologetically feminine.
Lucy has never strayed from her values even after a decade up against fast fashion, and every range remains Australian designed and made, sustainable, ethical and vegan.
Lucy stepped away from the whimsical wonderland that is her studio, to share a little more about her creative mind and her ethical fashion journey...
Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
I consider myself to be primarily an artist before a businesswoman, and along the way, I have spent many hours on each garment I have made. It's led me to have a strong understanding of what really does go into a singular piece of clothing - the time, energy and care to make even the simplest of styles. From my own experience, I have so much more respect for clothing and know what I feel comfortable purchasing myself.
Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
I see fashion as a place where beautiful things can be made to make us feel fabulous and inspire us, but so many labels don't make great choices when it comes to production. I find it very contradictory. Why pay for something beautiful when it has been made by the hands of someone in horrid conditions? How could I get dressed in a fabulous frock and go out for a nice dinner knowing someone made it in a cramped, hot room without fresh air and an aching back with a teeny wage? I'm not perfect, but I mostly buy vintage or wear my own pieces.
Why do you do what you do?
I love designing clothing because I believe in magic. I think we are surrounded by things that have no other real explanation to me - then magic. Things like the twinkle of the stars in the darkest of skies, the white glow of the moon, the steady rock of the ocean, and the wildness of the waves. I try to capture strength along with extreme fragility and whimsy and put them together into the character of a girl who sees these things. And I am a swoony romantic too.
What are you committed to changing about the industry and why?
I adore celebrating women and their beauty and strength, so I am hoping to continue charitably doing this in the near future. I think everything is about making shifts and taking steps, no matter how small, in a positive direction. Making better decisions on where I source my fabrics and pairing that with the continued use of ethical manufacturing. I found Lucy. is mostly in-house or local. I believe in putting an emphasises of the talented craftsmanship that can guide and help me be aware and deliberate in my decisions and the impact I have on the garment and fashion industry.
How does I found Lucy. ensure its processes are sustainable and ethical?
I found Lucy.'s garments are all currently handmade locally and in-house. I personally sketch, drape, draft, and sample all of the designs. I have made use of local manufacturers and seamstresses to help balance out my time to focus on the marketing side of things. All the people I have had work for me are paid well and I have always been to their studios and workplaces. It is all a giant learning experience that I don't expect will ever stop. I love learning new tricks and gaining knowledge on designing things better and how to construct them not only more efficiently but also so they last longer. It's a constant journey.
What have you learnt about fashion after nearly a decade running your label?
Some conclusions I have come to after being involved in fashion for this amount of time is that it takes a lot to re-learn deep-rooted beliefs. I was raised in a more alternative environment and with alternative education, and yet as I reach my 27th year as a woman, I find myself only starting to really shake off some of the core ideals I have had about women’s beauty and bodies. I have made a huge shift and am carefully following and listening to what I uncover as to what defines ‘normal’ when it comes to body size and shape and really acknowledging that despite being somewhat sheltered from a lot of mainstream society’s influences, I was still trained to believe in the flawed and contradictory ideals of how women should look, dress and present themselves to the world.
What are you working on at the moment?
My newfound active disconnection from these core beliefs have opened up a new area of interest for me and I am very excited to be taking steps to make some new ideas happen. I am excited to really build up the custom and bespoke side of my business and broaden my market to dress more women, while still keeping the brand’s signature aesthetic and charisma. I am bringing out some simpler cuts focusing on the fit and practicality but with equally as bright and whimsical enthusiasm, of course. I will be focusing on a ‘direct to consumer’ model online this year and I’m super excited to see where it leads!
Follow Lucy's fashion journey and shop the I found Lucy. range here.
The Fashion Advocate x
Photography: The Studio Melbourne.