Designer Lillie Toogood creates silk scarves that seamlessly fuse her passion for photography, textiles, design and travel. Each timeless GOOD&CO scarf is individually inspired by a photograph from one of her extensive travels.
Before founding GOOD&CO in 2011, Toogood worked for some of the biggest names in the local fashion industry — Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper, Camilla and Marc. We caught up with the talented designer to talk about her inspiration and design process, being eco-aware and her exciting new jewellery line.
You started GOOD&CO back in 2011. How has the brand evolved in this time?
Gosh, it has been a few years since launching! I’m a solo business owner and it took a while to find my feet with my brand and the idea of running my own business. I started GOOD&CO while working full time so it was a part-time project for a few years. Once I went full time I was able to really find my niche in terms of what stockists to approach and how to market my brand.
My product line had developed from a range of about five silk scarves, two seasons a year, to around 20 each collection, with injection ranges alongside my two main seasons. I introduced a line of cocktail rings last year which have been a huge hit, so am working on adding more to the jewellery side. Production and supply problems, cash flow, stockists going into liquidation, moving countries, having a baby: all things that make you take two steps back after one step forward.
But at the end of the day I have a good product I’m proud of, and loyal customers who support my creations which is pretty humbling.
You have a background in graphic design. How does this contribute to your design process?
I am definitely drawn to patterns and graphic shapes in the environments I photograph for my scarves. I’m inspired by textiles and patterns, photography and graphics which I try to translate into my own creations. I am also able to do all my own graphic design, look books and any other collateral needed which is beneficial and keeps my brand being consistent. I think more like a graphic designer than a fashion designer, which keeps things interesting and gives me more of a reason to think outside the box.
What made you become a fashion designer?
Love of textiles, creating, and the buzz when someone buys one of your products. The design part is so small compared to the ins-and-outs of daily business operations. I don’t consider myself a fashion designer, more like a creative business owner designing textiles and accessories.
Where do you go for inspiration when working on a new collection?
Everywhere I can. My husband and I travelled extensively before we had our daughter. He’s German and we visited Europe every year and had many side trips to new places. I also love roaming side streets and back alleys around urban areas.
Each GOOD&CO piece is based on a photograph you’ve taken on your travels. How did this unique concept become your aesthetic?
Because of my interest in patterns and shapes, I’ve always had a slightly off-beat/quirky style of photography. I’ve also always been a scarf and accessories person. Once I was able to find a means to transform my images to textiles the scarf range was an organic next step.
Your latest collection, Hunter Gatherer, includes your first ever unisex capsule collection alongside the mainline women’s range. What was your reason for the unisex collection?
I wanted to offer a line of practical scarves that men could wear as I’m often asked which of my scarves would be suitable for a man. The unisex element means that those women who are interested in the more neutral pattern and colour palette can shop the range as well. They are key timeless pieces for a winter wardrobe.
How has it been received?
So well! I’m so excited to see more of the unisex range hit the streets. Many stockists have already sold out and we have a new production run underway due to demand.
Can we expect to see more androgynous items from you in the future?
Do you have a career highlight?
Being stocked in cult store Colette Paris.
Do you have any design heroes?
So many… Celine, Valentino, Paul Smith, Gorman, vintage Chanel jewellery, Dries Van Noten and many photographers and graphic designers.
How important are natural materials in your work?
How important is sustainability to you in the current eco-conscious climate?
Very. We do everything we can in-house to be as conscious as possible and are working with our makers to do the same.
What don’t you leave the house without?
GOOD&CO scarf, cocktail ring, Pared sunglasses, nude leather-tote bag-turned-nappy-bag.
Shop the Hunter Gatherer collection now at wearegoodandco.com.
Images courtesy of Good&Co.