Little & Lively at Vancouver Kids Fashion Week
I had the chance to do a Q & A session with Vancouver Kids Fashion Week recently and I wanted to share some of it with you!
My name is Carmen West and I'm the owner/designer of Little & Lively. This is a picture of myself and my family!
What is your favourite part of working in Fashion industry?
My favourite part of working in the fashion industry is constant innovation. I love finding creative ways to utilize new opportunities. I love sourcing and utilizing new mediums. I love evolving and improving my designs and technique season after season. I love strategizing about creative marketing, re-vamping old ideas and collaborating with other brands to create something fun, fashionable and useful.
What’s something you are most passionate about other than fashion?
I'm most passionate about my two daughters, Daphne & Wynnie. They are my muses and my greatest treasures.
Name one person who has contributed to your success?
My husband, Jordan West, plays a major role in my success. He has and extremely sharp, creative mind in the area of digital marketing and I owe all my advertising savviness to him! He also deserves all the credit for anything regarding finances and numbers. My business would literally crumble without him.
What is your go-to travel essential?
My travelling essential would be dry shampoo. Gotta have all the volume!
Favourite cafe in Abbotsford BC?
My favourite restaurant is a cafe called Oldhand Cafe & Bakery in Abbotsford. It is within walking distance from my home and owned by my super talented friends, Johannes & Kristina. Their coffee is amazing and their baking is unbelievable. I'm there so often, its
First thing you do in the morning?
Every morning I get woken up by my daughter climbing into my bed at 7am asking for food. So I get up, make a smoothie and serve the kids breakfast.
Why fashion? What made you working in this industry?
I have always been highly creative and love to express my style & current mood. I grew up with a very strong idea of what I wanted to do with my life (I planned on becoming either a fashion designer or a graphic designer). It turns out I've dabbled with both trades but I find that children's fashion suits me best at this point in my life!
Who/what are your inspirations when designing? Why?
My children are my inspiration. Their interests and obsessions are my themes and launching points for my collections. I focus on my kids personalities because my aim is to create items that are highly appealing to children while still following tasteful trends that are appealing to the parents who are buying the fashion.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style has recently become more minimalistic and timeless (because of current trends and, perhaps, feelings like I ought to dress more my age) but I've always had leanings towards colour, kitschy designs and cute all-over prints. I guess that's why
kids fashion works so well for me... I can involve more child-like designs in my life without actually wearing them myself!
Who attracts your attention in the fashion industry today? Why?
While I look around at trends and trendsetters I find myself most in awe of other small business who are doing amazingly creative things! It's not easy to stand out among the masses, but when you have a passion, it is obvious and it makes a difference!
Where are you from and how does that inspire what you create?
I'm from Abbotsford, BC. We are a suburban city burgeoning with creativity. There is a vibrant culture of young people being innovative, creative and starting new things that bring so much value to the community. I'd say this creative culture of business that are highly supportive and collaborative is the most inspiring thing about where I live!
What advice would you give to amateur designers just starting out in the industry?
I believe in the incremental approach. If you are able to start small and do most of the work yourself, you can grow at your own pace and then double down when you find your success! Then along the way, as you grow, start hiring and delegating so that you
have more time to focus on the creative stuff!
Can you give a short description your brand?
Little & Lively is an apparel company creating well-made clothing for littles! We make unique garments that coordinate effortlessly, are fashionable and will make your friends jealous (or at least as you where you got them)!
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself continuing with my Little & Lively line but expanding into 'tween' and 'ladies' markets. We've experienced so much demand that I would like to add to my lovely team and staff so that I'm able to offer more styles in more sizes.
Do you prefer trendy or classic style?
I prefer trendier styles paired with classics. I like things that stand out and catch your eye, but nothing too loud or obnoxious.
What is the best memory you have in your entire fashion career so far?
Before I made kids clothing, I had a business making custom bridal veils. I was asked to create veils for a runway show at Vancouver Eco Fashion Week featuring an Eco-concious bridal gown designer called Pure Magnolia. I was honoured an delighted to have my very first fashion show experience outside of Fashion Design School. And now I'm honoured and delighted to be having a runway show of my own!
Thanks for reading!