Friday, 25 January 2013

#FindOutFriday with LEXIE SPORT FOUNDER & DESIGNER, LILY RICE!


Last November's StartUp Fashion event introduced Yours Truly to some seriously amazing new talents and contacts that I'm still enjoying getting to know. One in particular stood out for many a reason and I could barely wait for her to finish speaking publicly before I pounced, business card in hand.

Miss Lily Rice is the Head Designer and CEO of Lexie Sport - a Womenswear Design company with a real difference - not just the tagline kind. Creating functional, yet flattering gym clothes that obliterate the lines between practical and Sexy; this is a woman who literally took fashion off the bench for comfortable exercise attire and made it the star player of the team. I really couldn't control that themed pun. It took on a life of it's own.

Methinks that's my cue to introduce you to Lily...











Welcome Lily, to the #FindOutFriday hotseat! I've been looking forward to talking to you since we met in November!

1. To kick things off, I’d love you to introduce yourself and the 'Lexie' Sport brand to my readers:


Lexie Sport CEO, Lily Rice and
BBC3's 'Be Your Own Boss' Host, Richard Reed






Thanks! I'm Lily Rice, I'm 25 and the founder and designer of 'Lexie', a trend led women's sportswear brand. 'Lexie' was born in the summer of sport 2012 and focuses on bringing fashion to the sports arena.









2. Now with every start up label I've ever come across (including Yours Truly), the need for the product stemmed from one specific moment or event. Can you take us back to the turning point when you came up with the ‘Lexie Sport’ brand – what inspired the idea?

The Lauren Tee, Veronica Short
and Gloria Hoodie


I think 'Lexie' has really evolved as an idea from never being able to find the kind of sportwear I wanted to wear; moments of being really frustrated or disappointed that the kit on offer is boring, unflattering and defiantly not fashionable.



'Lexie' as a brand was something I started working on lightly just after I graduated; building a business plan and then of course it really accelerated with 'Be Your Own Boss'!



3. What about the inspiration for the name – where did ‘Lexie’ come from?

I've always loved strong female names, 'Lexie' is the shortened version of Alexandria, which in turn is the female of Alexander. If you Google the meaning it comes up as ‘Defender of Mankind’ which is pretty cool!




4. I'm honoured to have a Central Saint Martins Alum grace the blog this week. Your designs are far from typical; what did you study there and combined with your former role at Umbro, how have you applied your training and practical experience to the ‘Lexie’ brand?




Thanks! I studied for my foundation there, which gave me a great base (no pun intended) for my education and really opened my eyes in terms of creativity. I received a distinction from CSM and then went on to Falmouth University to study Performance Sportswear Design, which is the only course of its kind in the UK.



Umbro gave me a much better knowledge of the market and how a business and brand really works, a lot goes on behind the scenes!



You presented to representatives from some of the UK's biggest High Street chains, during the 'Meet The Buyers' panel at November's event. One of the things that struck me most, was how meticulously prepared you were! I got the same e-invitation only a few days prior, so know exactly how little lead time you had! I'm going to guess that either some of your presentation materials are pre-prepared or, you've got a great team in place at 'Lexie' HQ, who club together when the pressure's on?

5. How many people are involved in your set-up and how did you go about assembling your support base?




Ha! Erm, well there’s me and erm….Me? I'm pretty much the team, but I have a really supportive group of friends and family who have helped out in different ways; for example I have a great graphic designer (Aron Jones), who designed the logo and helps out with lookbooks and my friend Francesca Milano shot the photos. Special mention also has to go to my fiancĂ© who really digs in (despite being a paramedic student, not a designer!) and listens to my pitches etc. He knows more about a fashion brand than any future husband should!





I know during the showRichard was fairly worried that I was a 'one-woman-band' but I think it has it’s upsides; I'm able to go with what I believe and make decisions quickly. It also means I can execute an idea how I envisioned it. That said, if it’s the route you're going down, make sure you surround yourself with epically, brilliant people!




6. Your first collection was featured on BBC3’s 'Be Your Own Boss'; how has the experience affected the ‘Lexie’ brand?


'Be Your Own Boss' was pretty crazy, a TV show was never something I was aiming for! It was a great experience though and gave the brand some credibility. Obviously I also got investment and Richard from it, which has been amazing!

Lily with BBC3's 'Be Your Own Boss' Host and 'Lexie' Sport Investor, Richard Reed

The downside to TV, or any exposure, is that you’re basically inviting people in to comment, both on your brand and yourself, which can be tough. The beginning of a brand or business is when you really want to take on advice and suggestions and it can be hard to filter through and stay true to what you want and where you want to take the brand.



7. In terms of colour range, the aesthetics of your collection is actually quite simplistic, but you managed to find a way to make your designs visually appealing and sexy. Can you talk about your Art Deco influences, as well as any others that inspire you?

The 'Audrey' Crew and 'Grace' Leggings


The birth of Women’s sportswear was really around the art deco period and a lot was starting to change for women in that era. I'm a big Downton Abbey fan and a huge part of that show is how the female characters change from the 1900s through to the 20s and how their wardrobes change with that. It’s a great illustration of how women were progressing.

I try to interpret that style through shape and colour, reworking it for performance. The female shape is very inspirational and I work very hard on fit and comfort. There’s no need to make things baby pink for women!





8. Judging by your response from the panel, the celebrity following and media coverage you've received so far; your idea seems to be a hit with whoever it comes into contact with! Can you talk about some of the projects you've worked on so far and what’s going on at the moment?


'Lexie' Sport kicked off 2013 with a mention in the highest
echelon of the fashion hierarchy...

I think 'Lexie' is so popular because there is a huge gap in the market and it’s a rapidly growing market. Obviously we were featured on 'Be Your Own Boss', but we are also going to be on Cherry Healey's new BBC3 show - she’s a big fan. Jacqueline Gold (of Ann Summers) also awarded us her WOW award in December and we were in the Vogue January issue!


The 'Mae' Vest





We have a few trendsetting celebs who will be wearing ('Lexie') in the coming months (we never pay celebrities) so that’s really exciting to see!









9. Your audience are buying into more than the look though - what’s the core message behind the brand that you’re building and how have you gone about it?

'Lexie' is a strong, female brand. No 'shrink it, pink it' (Bleurgh!). It’s important that we have strong female role models wearing the clothes and we’re not into slimming vids and fad diets! We're building this message through our designs, imagery and language. We will also be carefully selecting retailers to make sure the end-wearer gets the gear in the way we want!


10. You've put a heck of a lot of work in and it seems like it’s paying off. What can we expect from ‘The Icon Collection’, when will it be released and what does 2013 have in store for 'Lexie' and Lily?


'Lexie' is really going to grow in 2013, in fact we're calling it the 'Year of Lexie'!






We're looking forward to a new range, more stockists and some brilliant designs.


We've had lots of great suggestions from our fans so we will be implementing some of those and just generally moving forward.




Look out for 'Lexie'!

______________________________________

Thank you Lily! 'Look out' we will! I don't know about you Dear Readers (I would really like to though - share in the box below), but I loved learning more about the 'Lexie' brand and Lily's personality, especially! Did you relate to her as much as I did? Tell us both about it!

I've connected with Lily and the Lexie Sport Social Media catalogue, now it's your turn:

Lexie Sport Online:


As an extra special thank you for reading, I'm sharing a little something special from my new gig as MyFlashTrash Brand Ambassador...

Click to bag yourself 15% OFF some MFT Goodies!












Happy 'Lover's Day' shopping and I'll see you soon!

ES ;)