Q&A: Lauren Bell, design manager at Chelsea Peers
Here we talk to Lauren Bell about her role as design manager at fast growing sleepwear and loungewear brand, Chelsea Peers.
What drew you to becoming a fashion designer and where did you study?
Becoming a fashion designer is something I’ve wanted to do since being a child, I was obsessed with drawing and art as well as clothes and dressing up, so it has always been a passion of mine. I studied Fashion Design and Marketing at Northumbria University in Newcastle which is where my career in fashion began.
Tell us about your career prior to joining Chelsea Peers?
During my time at university, I worked for WGSN, Barbour and All Saints. Before joining the Chelsea Peers team, I worked with some smaller brands within the wider business portfolio across both men’s and womenswear.
What attracted you to becoming design manager at the company?
I absolutely love how creative Chelsea Peers is as a brand, as well as its journey to becoming more sustainable and inclusive. We’ve introduced recycled yarns made from plastic bottles and certified organic cottons across all our collections, as well as recycled packaging, biodegradable poly bags and a paperless returns policy. We’re currently finalising our sustainability mission and goals for the future to ensure we are doing our bit for the planet. We are ambitious in our long term target to make Chelsea Peers one of the most sustainable brands in our sector.
We’ve incorporated fully inclusive designs into our collections with many now including sizing up to 28. Sleep and loungewear are for everyone, and we are passionate in our efforts to make sure Chelsea Peers can be worn with confidence by all of our customers.
What is a typical working day like for you?
My day-to-day varies a lot but I mainly work closely with the rest of the design team and other team members at Chelsea Peers to make sure we are creating the best collections that we know our customers are going to love. One day I could be in fit sessions with the garment technicians looking at the latest styles we are adding into the range and the next I could be brainstorming ideas for the latest collection. I love how diverse my week is and that I have the opportunity to work across different teams.
What do you most enjoy about working with Chelsea Peers?
My team. We are one big extended family here and everyone supports one and other. Chelsea Peers is relatively tight nit, so you quickly get to know everyone in the business and gain an understanding of their role. The business culture is extremely positive which creates a happy atmosphere when we’re in the office together.
The brand has recently launched a new wellbeing themed collection. How did this come about?
This idea of fostering personal wellbeing is likely to take centre stage in 2022, with brands from small independents to large corporates encouraged to champion wellbeing. In the fashion industry this translates to nurturing self-expression through clothing and Chelsea Peers’ latest capsule collection, The Wellness Project, certainly embraces this, featuring stylish sleepwear and loungewear relating to mental and physical wellbeing in sizing up to 28 and maternity.
Where does your inspiration for new collections come from?
We have a great team of creatives and designers here at Chelsea Peers who generate all the ideas for the newest collections by drawing on things in our everyday lives. This involves regular ‘inspo’ trips to galleries, shopping centres, exhibitions, and fashion shows, as well as reading around the latest trends and fashions.
How has the pandemic impacted the business?
When the pandemic started and lockdowns initially happened, there was a lot of uncertainty for the business and like all fashion brands, throughout the last two years, we have seen a rise in the cost of raw materials, shipping, manufacturing, as well as dealing with new ways of working. There has been a lot to juggle but we have worked really hard to continue doing what we do best and ensuring our customers receive a product they love from ethically sourced materials.
What will 2022 look like for Chelsea Peers in terms of new collections and other initiatives?
2022 is a really exciting year for the brand. We have so many new collections launching with new shapes and prints suitable for every lounging occasion. A continued drive on sustainability from fabrics, dyes to logistics, as well as expansions into new categories will be at the centre. We will also see the return of some of our customers favourites popping up throughout the year.
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