Zara; Not So Basic - An Interview with Aster + Lilou founder Zara Duffy
Moira Kennedy | On 12, Feb 2016
The Creative Issue sits down with Zara Duffy – designer, businesswoman, and all-around cool gal behind Brisbane-based online fashion boutique Aster + Lilou.
While most of us are busy planning our Schoolies arrangements at the end of high-school, Zara was busy setting in motion her own fashion label and online business. Having found herself accrued with vintage clothing, and a creative vision, she set to work to create what has now become Aster + Lilou.
Selling one off items, Aster + Lilou is an online fashion boutique (for the moment at least!), that specialises in vintage and reclaimed designs.Â While Zara is an admirer of modern fashion, she says that she likes to draw inspiration from the individual pieces rather than following trends when designing her pieces, and values giving them a second life.Â She likes to find patterns or fabrics that she likes to create newer pieces, or simply tweak them a little.Â Without any formal training (other than some study in Photography), Zara is a totally self-taught one-woman show: â€œNo, not at all, I even failed Home Ec.Â I mean, the photography is a huge help in terms of maintaining the site and aesthetic, but I like to just sit down with a piece and see what happensâ€.
Bringing modern inspiration to the fashions and styles of the hazy 1970s, Zara sees her label as something for when you want something different.Â â€œBecause theyâ€™re one of a kind pieces, youâ€™re not going to find anything else like itâ€.
With a head screwed on and a well-deserved confidence in her abilities, Zara knows that designing her pieces is only one part of it all, and that keeping up the business side of things takes work: Â “Itâ€™s necessary, and pretty hard, after all itâ€™s just me”.Â She says what has helped though has been how supportive people have been in her venture and largely how positive their attitudes are. Â Â It was especially exciting when a friend of Zara’s recommended a new online-fashion boutique that she had stumbled upon online, actually turned out to be Aster + Lilou.
While most feedback is welcome, Zara says that since beginning the label, she has had to develop a healthy emotional investment when it comes to her designs: â€œitâ€™s my brain-child, I know I love them all, but youâ€™ve got to be okay with people making comments, I know that not everyone is going to like every single piece.â€
Â Where you can find Aster + Lilou
Often making appearances at markets, you can find out which ones by following her on Facebook or Instagram. For late night fashion haunts though, take a look at Zaraâ€™s work on the Aster + Lilou website here. Â Aster + Lilou will also be making an appearance at SIGNATURE by RAW Brisbane, in early April this year.
Â Whatâ€™s next?
A believer in making your dreams happen, Zara has already got â€˜bricks and mortarâ€™ in her sights for her Aster + Lilou.Â Planning on collaborating with other designers, she sees Aster + Lilou as being a home for Brisbane and local designers like herself, so watch this space.