Interviews / Stories
Interview: Fashion Designer Laura (Chicago)
Could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background that lead you to fashion designing?
For anyone that doesn’t know me yet, my name is Laura, I’m 22 years old and I was born and raised in a nice little town outside Cologne, Germany, but I have lived in the UK for under a year now. I started designing in late summer of 2015, at that time I was in hospital for quite a while and needed to do something creative, as I had to give up photography whilst I was bed-bound. Since then designing and crafting has become one of my passions and led me to create Good Night Medusa.
Describe your designs for anyone who doesn’t know your work yet.
All of my designs that I publish under “Good Night Medusa” are based either on harness-fashion, chokers or body jewellery, although I am planning to do proper lingerie, but this will probably take me a few months’ time. Anyway, harness-fashion is originally found in the bondage area, although I really don’t identify my own creations with that topic. I am working with beautiful lace, handmade, and my designs are definitely more fragile, elegant and more about the female body than about bondage itself.
What is your favourite material to work with?
To answer this question, I would actually like to introduce my newest collection “New Cork” where I have started working with cork leather. I love this material, especially when it comes to dyeing it. It’s so interesting and just so impressive. I saw that documentary about a vegan leather jacket made of cork a few years ago and from that day I said to myself, that I will definitely work with this material one day – even though I saw that documentary before I had started designing.
Which item of all your collections/designs is your favourite and most significant for you?
That’s a hard question! I wore one of my cork chokers myself, even though I don’t usually wear my own designs, so for me it must be one of my non-fringy choker designs; probably my red and black cork choker.
If you take a look at the editorial “Drunk’n Love” with Kim Witkowski, there is a picture with the red and blue colour-gels and Kim has her arms crossed – I think the piece she is wearing on that photo has to be my favourite piece itself as a designer.
Anyway, my favourite collection is definitely one which combines lace and chains, as these harnesses are just so prominent and work on their own very well.
How do you want wearers to feel when they put on your clothes?
Definitely self-confident and not naked! I love when people like my designs that much that they just feel really pretty and like their own body even more. Imagine wearing one of my designs and you feel so proud of your own body that you wouldn’t hesitate to show anyone, as you are so comfortable in your own body. This is how I would like the women to feel when they put on my lingerie.
In your opinion, why is lingerie so important to the modern woman?
Isn’t it all about self-confidence and how you want yourself to make you feel? I mean, there are so many quotes about women wearing make-up to feel better and feel prettier, rather than to look better for the other gender. Lingerie can give you comfort, support or sexiness; even it is not always visible in the first way.
The Wonderbra was invented by a lady: Louise Poirier, who literally just wanted to boost her own confidence. It wasn’t invented by a man who wanted to make women look sexier.
That’s the way it should be: for women, for comfort, for confidence and in turn men end up with the huge benefit of having a sexy, confident woman afterwards.
What is your most productive working time/style?
My most productive working time is definitely when the sun is shining! I love to just sit on the carpet of our living room, my mannequin in front of me and just working with the sun shining on my back. This gives me the perfect opportunity to take some nice photos of the process as well, therefore I can just quickly show one of my best friends my newest piece, receive the feedback and give myself another push. Positive feedback definitely helps drive me, and I’m most productive when I feel comfy and when I’m in the middle of my little mess of different materials.
What makes you passionate about your brand?
There are two things which make me really passionate about Good Night Medusa, and both of them are related to the feedback I receive.
One of them is the actual feedback and the requests I get from all over Europe, models or photographers who work with my stuff, even wardrobe stylists who love to combine my harnesses, even if wardrobe stylists wouldn’t usually think so much about harness-fashion usually.
Secondly would be the photos and publications themselves. Nowadays I am working with so many great photographers that I admired when I was taking photos as a photographer myself. Imagine working with one of your idols and you will notice how much love and fun it spreads, seriously, there are a few people I worked with, who know that I was passionate about photography as well. And there is this one photographer, Celia Wagner (look at the editorial “In Wonderland”) who knows that I miss taking photos sometimes. Last time, she gave me her camera, fully trusted me and let me take some photos as well! Moments like that will put a huge smile on my face and create great memories, especially when you see your teams results one day published in a magazine. It’s a shame that I can’t show you the results of our second collaboration yet, but I am sure, they will pop up somewhere in future!
Tell me about a time when a client didn’t like your work.
I can’t remember if there ever was a client who actually didn’t like my work. Sometimes I will request a photographer who states they wouldn’t like to photograph nudes at all. As long as it’s not an off-sharing project, I will just combine my harnesses with other designers to create an end result that isn’t nude at all. I’ve previously had an experience where the photographer or model imagined the harnesses would be a little different, which isn’t a problem as I always have a backup of clothes from other designers with me whilst I’m on tour, as I do wardrobe styling too.
What was one of your favourite shoots or projects that you worked on recently?
During my last tour I had a chance to work with Ophelia Overdose, an awesome model, designer, artist and well... she nearly does everything creative you could ever imagine! I wasn’t involved as a designer or wardrobe stylist, I was only assisting, but it was still a really, really great day! There were three other models, which are kind of her best friends and the photographer Sarah Bieling. I worked with two of the other models, as well as the photographer during my tour before and one of them two models is one of my best friends as well. So it was quite a relaxing and partyish day, as we had loud music on, had some drinks (I don’t drink myself, but the rest enjoyed some glasses of wine) and it was more about party-feeling on the photos than actual posing. Anyway, it was such a great pleasure to meet Ophelia and work with her, as I admire her designs and she always has been a great muse for my own designs as well!
Do you have a supporting team/staff or do you work solo?
A bit of both – I count Nicole Kau as my team member. I’ve known her for about two years now, she is my main hair & make-up artist when I am on tour (you might find her in quite a few credits), I often crash around hers when I am in Cologne and I had her organising my German shipping for me, during the time that I was moving over to the UK. There is Gesche Amelie Ringer as well, who is my favourite retoucher and good friend as well. She has retouched a lot of my projects and I always appreciate her work. There are also a few photographers who I always work with again and again, but in general Good Night Medusa is more of a solo thing, with a lot of great support from the outside!
What has been the most rewarding moment of your career, so far?
Just this April I got two magazine covers on the same day from completely different magazines. Also, Saal-Digital, a German print service, are now sponsoring my gallery prints of them magazine covers, to put up around my home - they should be arriving this week. It’s just a simple thing, but holding prints in my own hands is something really special to me.
Where do you see your brand in the next ten years?
I am always joking with my boyfriend that Good Night Medusa will become the next “Victoria’s Secret” and we will become rich and famous, but I’m obviously just kidding. I kind of like the idea of making a franchise of my own brand in the distant future, you never know, maybe it will happen in ten years, maybe it won’t. As long as Good Night Medusa or another form of my own brand lives on, then everything is all good.
What do you like outside fashion?
As you might guess; travel and photography! I also love my roller skates too, although I need to use them more often just like my longboards which are gathering dust since I’ve moved to the UK. I’m just really bad with navigation and always get lost, there aren’t any really convincing paths close to our apartment here either. On top of that, I enjoy trampolining about once a week and often visit the lovely English countryside with my boyfriend.
How comfortable are you working hands with models and other designers?
I love it! What kind of designer or wardrobe stylist doesn’t like to be part of a great team, I definitely made so many friends during my design career. I love to combine my own stuff with others and learn even more from others. This summer for example, I have the great chance to learn how to work with latex from Ophelia, who I mentioned before. In general I really appreciate all input and knowledge I get from others.
Do you always do fittings?
Not really, but I can work under all different conditions. There is not always the possibility to do fittings, but I have a really good feeling about what works together and I’ve never had a problem. Sometimes I don’t even have the time for fittings, just like during tours when it is more about the quantity of shoots and our time management is pretty tough. It’s quite common for me that I do collaborations with design students and I see their stuff on set for the very first time as well. I always find a way to combine my own things with others and it always end up really well. Just a note: I’m only talking about free projects right now, so all parties are always alright with that situation!
Being a wardrobe stylist as well, do you have a favourite fashion era?
I really like the 90s, as I love to wear all that vintage stuff myself and if I could, my wardrobe would probably look like the one from “Clarissa explains it all”, maybe not that colourful, but definitely in that style. But to be honest, I am pretty happy about the current time, as there are just so many different options out there and vintage fashion has even become modern again – the perfect timing for creating your own style. And I really appreciate the vegan and eco fashion nowadays too.
Being a fashion designer and wardrobe stylist, what kind of clothes do you like to wear yourself?
Right now I am wearing one of them baggy hippie trousers and just a basic black top. I definitely have a lot of basics and just flannels or shirts to wear on top of it, I have a few “vintagy” things, which I love to wear in summer, but as I am always freezing in winter, you will barely see me in something else other than jeans and hoodies. I am really simple with my stuff, wearing the same pair of shoes in five different colour ways, and if I just have a “home-day”, I definitely prefer living in my onesie than typical blogger or fashionista outfits.
How would you describe your signature look as a wardrobe stylist?
Normally, when I am requested as a wardrobe stylist, my clients know my harnesses already and would love to work with them, but just not too nude. Therefore, most of my wardrobe styles always include one of my Good Night Medusa pieces, even if it is only a choker. There are hundreds of different ways how to combine, but this might be the “signature part” of the whole outfit.
Your worst work experience as a wardbrobe stylist?
During my last tour I planned a collaboration with an online shop which sells many different well-known brands. As the photo-shoot was planned for the day after my flight, I asked if it would be alright to send the stuff to the photographer, who is also a good friend of mine. All parties were fine with that and the stuff should have been arriving about ten days before the actual shoot. It didn’t, it just didn’t arrive and I was there, at the shooting, without clothes to combine with my harnesses. Happily all team members were alright with spontaneously changing our fashion project to a nude/beauty/portrait one with my harnesses and two headpieces from another designer.
Oh yeah and the parcel arrived the next day.
If there ever comes a day in which you’re given a choice of being a wardrobe designer or a fashion stylist for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
When I first saw this question, I thought it would be really simple – wardrobe stylist! You just have so many different opportunities to create new outfits and work with designs, that you would never be capable of creating on your own, but the more I think about it, the more I realise that I really enjoy creating my own things and like to hold an actual finished product in my hands. As a designer you can work more for yourself, you have more creative freedom and it is definitely easier to travel and organise tours, compared to being a wardrobe stylist, where you would be travelling with tons of luggage.
What’s next for you? What can we expect from your next collection?
Right now I am working on some white lace with gold chain combinations, which is more of a gap filler than a new collection. On top of that, I bought some thick twisted satin cords a few weeks ago to start working more in the way of actual bondage fashion – going back to the roots of harness-fashion, but I still struggle a bit with the material and have to research myself on bondage techniques a little bit more, but it might be the main material for my next collection!
To come to an end, where can our readers follow you and your work, any social media platforms?
I am working on my website right now (www.goodnightmedusa.com), if it is still not finished (sorry!) then you can find my stuff on Instagram (@goodnightmedusa) and Facebook (fb.com/goodnightmedusa), behind the scenes and newest updates would probably mostly be found on my personal Instagram (@laura_viktualia). Anyway, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, I am always looking for collaborations!