Leo Carlton On Where They Get Inspiration ￼
Written by Carmen Bellot
London Fashion Week has had a few hurdles over the last few years, with imminent lockdowns and a pandemic interrupting the show schedule. But this season, it was the Queen’s passing that influenced the weekend’s timetable, leaving what would have been the penultimate day empty as a mark of respect for Her Majesty’s funeral. Despite having a whole day’s worth of shows and presentations cancelled, morale was still high as a multitude of young designers and established brands took to the runway to showcase their SS23 collections.
Leo Carlton was one of them. Showing under NEWGEN, they debuted their first on-schedule presentation last Friday showing fantastical headwear, starting the process by designing it as a VR sculpture to then 3D printing it using biomaterials. Having worked with fashion heavyweights like Charles Jeffrey, Dilara Findikoglu and Richard Quinn, Leo is venturing on their own two feet to show that the collision of technology and design will only make the industry more inclusive and sustainable. Yet, it’s the personal impact of their work that influenced them to start designing in this way. “My creative work has always been my therapy and release,” they share. “I never thought it would be put out there for others to see, so this is my first step in creating for myself in whatever way that looks like.”
As a young designer, there can be invisible pressure to constantly keep creating. But for Leo, there are natural boundaries that they abide to to avoid burnout; they view those obstacles in a positive, rather than negative light. “I work using virtual reality, which makes me feel sick after about 30 minutes. Using this as a limitation is helpful, as it makes me approach my work as a daily ritual,” they explain. “Creating without too much pressure other than a timeframe has opened up many more possibilities for me when I am in a creative rut. Timing myself also helps, even one minute of sketching or work will help push me through it.” After all, sometimes you just need to start and let the ideas follow.
What’s Leo’s advice for finding authentic inspiration? “Primary research is the most important thing. Taking your own photos and feeling what inspires you, something that isn’t just a screenshot from Instagram. To create a ‘unique’ result, you should really come from a different space of inspiration. It has taken me years to find my own personal style and creative voice; spend time cultivating that and hopefully the rest can start to fall into place as you endeavour to find what makes you different from others.”