I am half English and half Bajan and grew up in England, in the countryside.
As a child I always wanted to organize everything and loved making things. I built doll’s houses, tree houses, made clothes…and everything had to be tidy!
I quit university (to my father’s horror) after 9 very long days and moved to London. I had big plans to conquer the world back then! In my 20s I worked in events planning and interior design. Then I lived and worked in New York for 2 years organising events for a large venue. When I came back to the UK in 2002 I worked for a PR company before setting up my own events company called Pink Tash Events. My great friend Tash and I had great fun throwing all sorts of events for all sorts of people. One of our more memorable events was the BBC Christmas party—sadly he made one too many jokes about the boss, but it all turned out well luckily!
Last year you launched a customized military jacket collection, how did you come up with the idea?
My father was an officer and I always loved his uniforms. I would often scour vintage shops looking for amazing old, but in good condition, jackets and uniforms. Then I would re-line and customize them. I started sewing flashing wire on jackets after my first visit to Burning Man, where EVERYTHING and everyone was ‘lit up’! I am obsessed with light installations and lighting. I decided to design my own jackets for the first time last year, as didn’t have the time to keep searching through vintage shops up and down the country. This line is the perfect creative outlet for me, as it combines my love for design, for fabrics and lights, and for making costumes.
An East London factory makes my jackets, my fabrics come from a supplier in Lancashire, and my braiding and buttons all are over 50 years old and come from an old warehouse off Bethnal Green Road that specializes in haberdashery. They have a finite amount of braiding, so once that it all runs out I will have to find some more from somewhere else!
You also create bespoke pieces, how to get one of these and how long does it take to create?
To have a bespoke jacket made, you can either come to my studio or order online by contacting me. Each jacket takes approximately 3 weeks to make on order.
If you had to design a line for a famous brand or designer, which one or whom would you like it to be?
I would love to work with Nicolas Ghesquière at Balanciaga –he is amazing!
My dream has always been to have Scissors Sisters wear my jackets on stage and I would love to make a special version for Florence Welsh (of Florence and the Machine) with white lighting all over it.
You are based in London: what is your favourite place in the city?
As I have two mini Dachshunds I spend a lot of time in Hyde Park! I also love being outside so I guess Hyde Park is my definite favourite place.
A favourite restaurant?
My favourite restaurant has to be my own little pop-up place called Maison Du Chien in the attic of Bumpkin in Notting Hill—you can have dinner followed by cabaret and then dancing, every winter for 3 nights a week.
A favourite bar / club?
I collect butterflies so I love antique shops with preserved butterflies like Les Couilles Du Chien on Goldborne Road, as well as the De Gournay wallpaper shop on the Kings Road. For food shopping I always try to support local farmers markets, but sometimes I can’t help nipping into Tesco metro!
Any secret place?
I am involved in the creation of a brand new secret place in St James’s…I can’t tell you what exactly yet! Trust me, it’s going to be epic.
If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
I love las pampas, galloping on wild horses, good weather and hombres!
What’s next? Any project?
I am working on a design project, a new secret place and new pieces for my collection—trousers and tailcoats.http://www.pinkylaing.com