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Louise Goldin

The knitwear designer and consultant to Versace tells Marie Davies what it’s like to be backed as one of fashion’s rising stars.

You are the most recent recipient of the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward award, which provides funding for emerging British designers. What did that mean to you?

First and foremost it is a stamp of approval. The judging panel is made up of financial entrepreneurs, journalists and creatives so to win it is a great recognition. The financial support and mentoring helps me to go forward.

You decided to show a film at London Fashion Week instead of putting on a catwalk show for spring 11, but a failure to get the right team in place meant the film wasn’t shown. What impact did that have on the collection?

We ended up previewing the general collection with a presentation at Saint Martins Lane Hotel in London. This wasn’t how I envisioned it, but I only wanted to go ahead with the film if the ‘A*’ team was in place and it wasn’t. The showpieces that are yet to be seen will be shown on the film on October 19 or 20 at [online platform] Show Studio.

What is the inspiration for spring 11 and what are your key pieces?

Thai art and Thailand are the themes. There are a lot of transparent stripes, and the stripy dresses are selling particularly well. I’ve also produced some really detailed tops such as a black constructed top with a long tail and different textures of knit. It means the customer can invest in a beautiful top and wear it either with the intarsia leggings and skirts from the collection or their own jeans or trousers.

What challenges have you faced while establishing your label?

The biggest challenge is managing a [range of different] personalities. I think I’m good at spotting creative talent and recognising who will fit. I also understand the high level of cost involved in knocking things up in the studio. It has to be manufactured in a factory to get a more competitive price.

What are your ambitions for the label?

My focus now is on delivery times and price points. Knitwear is often the last thing to be delivered [by manufacturers] but I’m working with a new manufacturer, which I hope will improve delivery times and make my price point more competitive without compromising my creative integrity.

What about expansion?

I’m realistic when it comes to growth. It was never about being in 50 shops. It was about a strong creative vision.

How have you found the experience of working as knitwear consultant for Versace’s mainline?

Working with Versace and having Donatella’s support and trust is hugely honourable, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’ve been brought in to consult on the mainline knitwear as they feel there is a niche there. Donatella said I could go and do my thing and we would work from whatever I created. She welcomes freedom and believes in the people around her, which helps people do their best work.

Which are your favourite labels?

Versace or Azzedine Alaïa. Alexander McQueen was one of the first shows I went to and I also admire Jean-Paul Gaultier.

What was the last thing you bought?

Flip-flops for a holiday and MAC mascara.

Who or what inspires you?

Architecture, particularly Gaudí.

Which is your favourite city?

São Paulo in Brazil.

Louise Goldin is a knitwear designer and knitwear consultant for Versace spring 11

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