‘If they can do it, I can’ says Ringwood-based fashion designer Caroline Lita
The Ringwood resident, who graduated from Winchester School of Art, has already seen her clothes on celebrities and catwalks.
In 2022, Verona Rose wore a piece from her graduate collection to the ITV Palooza, then in 2023 Caroline had her first showcase at London Fashion Week and contributed clothes for the Hair Pieces 2023 Catwalk at Battersea Arts Centre.
In crafting her designs, Caroline takes inspiration from the Royal Family as well as people a bit closer to home.
“When I start my research, I tend to reference the royal family,” she explained.
“I’ll look at images of the Queen, Princess Diana, paying attention to the shapes and silhouettes of their clothing. I feel like their styles were very timeless.
“I like to include a unique story within each collection of my print designs. Rather than being something you’d pick out from Primark it’s an item to be treasured.
“I’ll find unique objects to help create them. For example, in my “A Nanny’s Treasure” collection, I used jewellery I inherited from my Nan to create a bespoke jewel print design.
“I’ll look through the items and decide which I want to use, then photograph them all and individually edit them on photoshop to turn them into a unique repeating pattern.”
By creating these high-end and unique designs, Caroline hopes to make something people will want to keep and wear repeatedly – pushing back against the culture of fast fashion.
Sustainability is an important part of Caroline’s work.
She explained: “I take pride in making eco-conscious designs and reducing my carbon footprint while designing unique prints, making people feel empowered and luxurious.
“My fabric is printed in London using eco-satin, which is made of recycled fibres.”
While manufacturing in the UK means her supply chains are already shorter, Caroline hopes to one day bring this even closer to home.
“I do have the skills to manufacture everything myself, but because I’m currently working full-time alongside creating the clothing brand, I don’t have the time or space.
“I’d love to rent a space where I can do the work myself and employ one or two people to help.”
While that may be a longer term goal, Caroline has her eyes set on her next step.
“By this time next year I want to be stocked in Liberty of London or Harrod’s – or both!
“Once I’ve got those types of stockists I can reduce my days at work and spend more time on my brand.”
Fashion wasn’t always where Caroline saw herself, however, having originally studied IT when she first left school.
“I thought I’d get into web or graphic design,” she said.
“But then I went travelling for two years and lived in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Seeing fashion in all these different cultures was really inspiring.
“Just before I went to Australia I’d been thinking about changing to fashion design, so when I came back at the age of 24 I went to university as a mature student, graduating at 29.
“After graduating I was working at Flannels, and I worked as a fashion stylist with Steve Wood- Princess Diana’s photographer. I travelled to Milan, Paris and London, working backstage and assisting him with photography. I got to meet Vivienne Westwood.
“Working at Flannels and having those experiences with him I thought to myself: ‘if they can do it, I can’. That’s why I decided to set up my own brand.”
Caroline will have a stand at trade fashion buying event Pure London, which is taking place at Kensington Olympia between 11-13th February.