We first met Leila (founder of Waking Grey) last summer at Wilderness Festival. I instantly fell in love with Leila's style and branding for Waking Grey. The stall looked amazing, really really amazing.
It's hard to make a stall look good at a festival. You're faced with seriously uneven ground and possible mud. Traders are given a small empty space to display their goods and you have to come up with something functional and aesthetically pleasing sometimes in as little as half a day. Leila styled the space with white rails, a statement rug and homely details such as a chair and a few green plants.
Fast forward 5 months on and Leila and I have worked together for the first time. Hand picking a unique and beautiful collection of Vintage Clothing for Little Deer.
We spoke to Leila about where Waking Grey all began:
'I started WG just over 2 years ago after returning from a year long trip traveling around Asia. My background was Marketing & Retail but I was really keen to start something of my own using previous skills & experience and at the same time doing something that I really enjoy. I've worn second hand / vintage clothing from a young age, some of my earliest memories as a child are roaming around markets and car boot sales at weekends with my parents picking up treasures (some of which I still have now). I also HATE waste, we have become such a throw away nation, and in the Uk alone I think around 1.7 million tonnes of material go to waste every year, which is a crazy amount. WG gives me the creativity to curate collections of clothing, sometimes reworking items to give them an updated fresh look, and at the same time, in my own way, helping the environment a little.'
One thing that stands out for me is that collection after collection each piece is so special. Leila doesn't create a collection with a couple of 'statement' pieces and then just a ton of fillers - each and every garment is hand picked and sits well next to the one before. We asked Leila how she gets inspired to curate the perfect collections:
The way I curate WG doesn't always mean the items are pure vintage, in fact its probably a 50/50 mix most of the time, I like the combination of old & new together and I tend to gravitate mostly towards 70's, 80's & 90's pieces. I generally base the collections more on current trends and inspiration I gain from stock buying trips around Europe and the USA. Usually I'll pick up one key piece or see something interesting that influences me early in the buying season and without knowing it this will shape the whole collection, for example last spring I spent a week in Palm Springs staying at this gorgeous hotel called The Monkey Tree, designed in the 60's by the famous architect Albert Frey. The pool loungers are a cool lemon yellow colour which must of stuck with me as I spent the rest of the trip buying mostly yellow pieces of vintage clothing!
I love pulling collections together, I'm always hunting for stock, everywhere I go, even when I'm on 'holiday' it will usually involve finding the local markets and second hand shops to look for stock. It's so exciting finding key pieces or that one 'star' piece that might shape a whole season, I get a real buzz from it!
Finally we were keen to know what Leila's favourite piece from the Waking Grey collection at The Little Deer was:
The mustard silk shirt, it's so simple but a really great transitional item, delicate enough to wear on its own, or great layered up over a simple tee with some boyfriend jeans for a more casual look.
You can shop Waking Grey at Little Deer online and at in our Brighton Shop (First Floor, Open Market, Marshalls Row, Brighton, BN1 4JU)