T.L.C is a unique project between Brisbane based friends Thea Blocksidge and Linda Nguyen, with an aim to create clothing with “Tender. Loving. Care.” Their work is a reaction against mass produced fashion, and is driven by the desire to create highly valuable and unique garments, through the deconstruction and reconstruction of good quality, second hand clothing and materials. Ahead of their AW15 collection, we spoke to the duo to find out more about their collaboration...
Tell us a little about T.LC. What brought you together for this project?
We met while studying Fine Arts-Fashion at QUT (Brisbane) and became really good friends after studying textiles together in India for six months in 2013.
We started T.L.C as a one off project for 'The Fleet Store' - an annual pop up store initiated by QUT students (quite funny as Thea and I were intending to have seperate labels for the store but realise we were on the exact same wavelength and decided to collaborate). The collection was unexpectedly well received - we ended up having our lookbook featured in PITCH and then we were approach by Ally of Kinobi to have our label stocked in her store. We said yes of course! Everything happened very organically - no business plan required... for now.
Can you tell us about your design process?
We didn't really start with an idea or a mood. Thea and I begin by sourcing good quality secondhand clothing, fabric remnants and upholstery fabric. We would lay it on the table and bounce ideas off each other, adding new materials into the equation when required.
I guess the main thing about T.L.C is that we really wanted to create unique and interesting garments without people realising they were repurposed from recycled materials.
For example the 'Titties' on the 'Titty Turtleneck' (from their first collection) were made from carpet swatches and the detachable sleeves from the 'Detachable Sleeve Blouse' were made from secondhand 'Churidar' Indian pants.
What are you inspired by at the moment?
Inspiration very much comes from the materials we source. We also feed a lot off each other - it's very nice to have someone who 'gets you' creatively.
You both recently graduate with amazing final collections and seem to produce a huge amount of work. How do you fit it all in? What does a typical day look like?
We 'just' manage to get by. When we were working on our graduate collections, it was an endless cycle of waking up, having coffee and then sewing well into the night. After finishing our graduate collections, it was the same thing but for T.L.C.
We make it quite fun though - we take a lot of breaks and stream movies while we work. We watched 'White Chicks' last week. The best!
Do you have any tips for aspiring designers?
Every little detail matters! Also make sure to have fun with what you're doing.
What has been the biggest challenge in launching your own label?
Everything from the design process, sourcing, sampling, pattern making, accounting and production has been completed by us. There is no precedent for what we are doing, so a lot of the time we figure it out as we go along and learn by trial and error.
What are you most proud of in your work to date?
Definitely T.L.C! Getting a bit of pocket money for doing what we love.
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
10 years seems so far away haha! Japan has always been on our radar. We're both hoping to do something there together in a couple of years or so, when we're a little older and wiser. T.L.C in Japan.. what a dream!
How do you like to spend your days off?
Linda: The Planetarium! And eating gelati!
Thea: The beach!
Thanks Linda and Thea. Images by T.L.C. View their Instagram here