Looking sharp with menswear from the Plumfield Shop
South Western Virginia based designer Lauren Perkin is the girl behind the Plumfield Shop, which produces an array of quirky bow ties, pocket squares, fabric accessories and leather goods. She studied Interior Design at Virginia Tech where she learnt many of the skills that led her down the retail route, a journey that began with her Plumfield brand in 2010.
What was the inspiration behind the brand name?
Plumfield is the name of the house in “Little Women”, my favourite childhood book, and the house was supposed to be Jo March’s “big challenge”, so I borrowed the name for my business.
What made you start to create these bold bow ties and pocket squares?
My husband and I realized there was a need in the market for men’s accessories that was not being met and felt that we could do a good job meeting that need. I set out to create bow ties and pocket squares that a 30 year old or a 60 year old could wear. Men today are wearing bow ties to more than just church and weddings and I wanted to create items that were casual enough for everyday wear, while still being stylish.
What is your favourite era for design and why?
I have always loved the 1920s because of the stark contrast to previous years and the freedom that was introduced to fashion at that time.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The 2012 holiday season was an amazing one for my business. I had the opportunity to sell through multiple channels and be featured on some high profile blogs. The response was overwhelming.
Which of your current designs is your favourite?
I am especially partial to my new boy’s bow tie design, as I think it is different than anything else on the market currently. I created a slim, arrowhead tie pattern that works well with smaller frames and am looking forward to expanding this pattern into my men’s collection as well.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
My favourite fabric designer is Anna Maria Horner and I would love to work with her on a pattern to showcase some of her amazing textiles.
What are a few of your likes and dislikes in terms of design and style aesthetic?
I really like understated looks and classic fabrics – oxford, chambray, wool suiting. I dislike anything too matchy, as well as anything that looks forced or staged.
Would you say your work is directed at a particular trend or group of people?
I think that my work can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people, but right now is probably most appealing to professional men who want to stand out a bit without looking overly trendy.
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
Our brand is definitely a family business. 99% of the work is done by my husband and I, but we often rope our 2 year old into a photo shoot on occasion.
Please tell me about the creative process that went into your current collection. What techniques were used?
Each of my collections comes about after lots of research and trial and error. For my spring/summer 2013 collection, I was inspired by several popular colours and wanted to incorporate lightweight fabrics that still looked masculine.
Do you prefer a man to dress quirkily, considering your designs?
I prefer a man to dress in a classic style. I appreciate styles that would look equally at home 50 years ago as they would now – good design doesn’t change a whole lot throughout the years.
How do you feel fashion can affect an individual’s image and/or self-esteem?
What we wear each day plays a huge part in how we feel about ourselves! Sometimes, I will change outfits in the middle of a bad day, as a “restart” of sorts.
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
My plans for the future include expanding to the point that I can hire my husband to work with me full time. In five years, I hope to have several retail/wholesale channels set up, so that I can spend less time on promotion and advertising and more time designing. My new fall collection is set to debut on September 23rd– we are busy photographing everything right now!
For More Information: please visit Lauren’s Etsy site, Plumfield Shop.