Label Lira Leirner: Deciding to go public

Making dresses had been, for the most part, compulsory as nothing fit me or looked like I wanted it to be.

However, during my granddad's exhibition at the House Konstruktiv in Zurich I had an epiphany, which was a combination of the following.



1. I had a conversation with an investment banker, one of my granddad's closest friends and also one of the main sponsors on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which owns the collection now. The conversation was about "interests" and he told me that he was also on the board of the Houston Ballet. Although this might make him sound like a cultural elitist, he is not at all. He isn't interested in any other, often considered "high culture" (for example classic music or opera etc) and comes from a simple background.

That's when I noted that he takes what he is truly interested in and gets actively involved beyond minimum and simple consumption. While others would have just visited a lot of exhibitions and maybe, maybe gotten on a mailing list to be invited to vernissages, he is on the actual board in order to support art and actively be involved and influence it. Rather than just visiting performances, he supports the Ballet Center. Rather than passively consuming, he actively contributes.

Together with the other points it made me realise that I was still in a middle stage. Rather than just consuming fashion, I was creating it. BUT as I was doing this privately and only for myself I still had another step to do. This conversation made me see that I was still not quite pulling my whole weight within the fields that interest me.

2. I had found an H&M dress to wear at one of the vernissages that was just like one of the paintings of the collection. H&M not really being much of a shopping point for me since my skater days at age ca. 17, made this a surprising find and was meant to be a fun outfit "pun". It worked really well, but it made me realise that I had started seeing some of the pieces of painting and sculptures as dresses... the images in my head wouldn't go away! I wanted to do a Leeroy on it and just make them! Obviously too much family politics were involved so I decided to paint and draw sketches for approval before spending heaps on perfect fabric (I'd want to do it justice!).

3. During a shower I was mulling over some comments that had been made regarding me "shoulding" have studied fashion, working in fashion, doing fashion... and other verbs all along these lines. I don't exactly remember my train of thought but it snapped in my head and I realised that if my family still owned the clothing factory "Bona", that I would, if it had stayed within family, been the only one really suitable to take over from all cousins and siblings of my generation due to both business aptitude (referring to my day job, too) and fashion interest. I am probably wrong, but that was my thought. Just then I thought to myself "Why does it have to be family related? I should just start my own company."

4. My day job involves creating companies and doing their taxes. I know it's not a scary thing and easily managed, so when I came back to England I set up everything within a week. I created the website brief on the first day I came back from Switzerland and talked to Russel, who I know does web-hosting and is a good web-designer and Stuart's mate from Uni, and he started on it within the week. I created and discussed a business proposition with Steve Bliss, a photographer I knew had done fashion shoots before and who I knew from a photo shoot he'd done of our team at my day job. He was on board. I talked to my best friend and asked her if she could be my first model, payment would be a dress. Most definitely on board. I asked Stuart to create my logo. Also on board. Received a cheeky list of essential production contacts from a friend who is a production coordinator: pattern cutter, sample machinist, small collection machinists, label creators, graders... the lot. I talked to them and got a quote in. Last of all, I incorporated my company. And the next step towards active contribution away from consumption was done.