I’ve loved Urban Bird ever since she started her lingerie business adventure and I was lucky enough to collaborate with her two years ago for a lingerie shoot inspired by Moonrise Kingdom – I remember it was mid December, absolutely freezing and our model was amazing, you couldn’t even tell she was shivering her little bones off! So when Molly approached me to shoot with her again for a summer shoot, I jumped at the chance.
I interviewed the beautiful talent behind the brand for this shoot so we could get to know the person behind the brand and her inspirations as a designer. All images in this interview are from our collaboration, and feature model Florence Andrea and MUA Linda Wong with some styling from Festival Fashion.
VICKY: Why did you decide to become a lingerie designer and was there a moment of epiphany when deciding this path?
MOLLY: Not exactly! It was more of a gradual realisation. I started off by making clothes, but I’d always been fascinated by lingerie, I always wanted to give it a try. It seemed impossible at first, it’s such fiddly and delicate work, but that just makes it all the more rewarding when you finally get it right. When I first started playing around with lingerie designs, it was more of a hobby, I was mainly testing myself, seeing if I could do it. I didn’t actually believe that I could achieve a standard that I would be happy to sell, to make a business from, but somewhere along the way it started to seem possible.
VICKY: Where do you find your inspiration when designing?
MOLLY: I’m a lover of all forms of art, and so I find inspiration in everything; literature, art, music, film. I once went to a garden centre and saw a fish with the most amazing colours, and from that the Belle set was born! Most of the time inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. Shapes, colours, textures that are around us in every day life, in both natural and man-made environments.
VICKY: You have an incredible eye for colour combinations, you even predicted the pantone colours of the year with your Belle set! How do you figure out what colours and patterns you want to work with for each collection?
MOLLY: It is crazy how much the Pantone colours of the year resemble the Belle set! I’ve always been an artistic person, I’ve just finished my degree in film and photography, and have always studied art previously to that, and so I guess I’ve always relied heavily on my eye for colour. For my past collections, I’ve always tried to keep an open mind, and just explore any colour combinations that come to mind. However, for my next collection, I’m trying to limit myself to a select few colours that compliment each other beautifully, so that customers can easily layer my designs, and mix and match between sets!
VICKY: For our photoshoot collaboration, you had a very vivid idea of what you wanted. Can you explain what this was and how you wanted these images to come across to potential customers?
MOLLY: As I mentioned, I started off by making clothing. Mainly kimonos, crop tops and short sets, all with a very ‘boho’ feel to them. I was always inspired by the festival style, and even though I no longer make clothes I think these inspirations can still be seen in some of my lingerie styles, specifically my longline bralettes, which can be worn as outerwear. So for this shoot, Vicky and I discussed ideas about a very ‘hippie’ styled shoot. We wanted it to be light, summery, care free. I also wanted to show how my lingerie can be incorporated into outfits, hence why the bralettes are styled with outerwear! We wanted potential customers to realise that these bralettes would be the perfect addition to their summer wardrobe, not just their underwear drawer!
VICKY: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since starting Urban Bird?
MOLLY: To not compare yourself to others, ever! It is absolutely vital to remember this, both in your personal and professional lives. I have a huge amount of admiration for my fellow independent lingerie designers, and until very recently I would give myself a really hard time about not being at the same level as them, despite the fact that I’m very new to this. Accepting that I’m on my own path, and realising that it can’t be compared fairly to anyone else’s has really helped me to overcome this self doubt.
VICKY: What’s your favourite set from all past Urban Bird designs?
MOLLY: That’s a tough one! I’m torn between the Belle set, and the Indigo Keyhole set! I love the bold and daring look of the Indigo set, it really is an empowering set to wear. But on the other hand, I really miss the delicate, romantic look of the Belle set! I think it’s safe to say you should expect more of this style in the next collection!
VICKY: What kind of mood should we expect from your next collection?
MOLLY: Cool colours, delicate and luxurious fabrics, and classic, timeless cuts. If all goes to plan, this will be the most challenging, yet exciting collection yet!
VICKY: And a fun section! Finish these sentences:
Sometimes I forget that….. I’m an ‘adult’ now. Turns out being an adult is basically just putting on a brave face whilst winging everything!
One day I wish…. To travel. I know, I know, that’s everyone’s dream. But I can’t really think of anything I wish for more than to experience the world.
The most important thing my family taught me….. There are far too many things to count, my family have taught me so many valuable lessons! But one thing my dad has always says, that’s always stuck with me is that money doesn’t matter. He always says ‘youth is wasted on the young,’ and so encourages me to go out and experience everything, and to not worry about savings for things like a house or anything so soon. Money might make certain things easier, but it alone will not bring happiness or satisfaction with life!
It’s good to…. Treat yourself! I put most of my money back into the business, but sometimes you just have to splash out and treat yourself to something you’ve been lusting after! You kick ass everyday, you deserve it!
When I want to feel inspired, I…. Go to the beach! There is literally nothing that a trip to the beach can’t help.
I hope that this year brings….. Adventure!