From loud colours to funky designs and accessories, you definitely wouldn’t miss an Alice Lily outfit in a crowd!
After igniting her experimental creativity whilst completing an A-level course in textiles, designer Alice Beresford set up her festival clothing brand in August 2019. Whilst studying Creative and Professional Writing at UWE Bristol, she sells her unique one-of-a-kind pieces for festivals and events. I talk with Alice on sustainability and her future with fashion.
What does fashion mean to you?
As cheesy as it sounds, I think fashion can be whatever you want it to be. I definitely don’t think it should be solely defined by what’s in the main high street stores or what’s trending on Instagram, it’s your own style, what makes an individual happy.
How did you get in to fashion and why do you like making your own clothes?
I’ve always enjoyed textiles, fashion and sewing. We had a lot of creative freedom in A-level Textiles and that’s when I started to experiment with ideas outside of ‘traditional’ fashion trends. At the time, I also worked in a fabric shop on the weekend so I was constantly around fabrics and creative individuals. I find satisfaction in creating something from scratch. Having that initial idea, working with it, designing it, making it, and then holding something physical in your hands. It’s very rewarding. I have tried making clothes from commercial patterns before but always found them so clunky and hard to follow. I now make my own patterns and try them out through trial and error, nothing ever goes to waste, everything is experience and helps me with my next project.
Why festival clothing?
I love the outrageousness of it all! With festival clothing, nothing is off-limits. It allows people to be creative, a bit silly, and not take ‘fashion rules’ too seriously. I can design and make without any restrictions. I’ve always loved loud patterns, bright colours, and clashing fabrics which fits perfectly with festival fashion. I love how empowering people find it and it makes me happy and proud to be a part of it.
What are your favourite pieces to make?
That’s a tough one! There’s a certain pink and blue glittery ombre fabric I have which is very nice to work with, it feels like wet-suit fabric so is perfect for festival wear and is also really shiny when the sun hits it. I enjoy making bras, especially my sustainable ones, and bodysuits as they can be shaped and styled in unique ways. I really do enjoy making everything, I guess I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t.
What inspires your creations?
I usually get inspiration whilst making other garments. I’ll be sewing and think ‘what if I created a cut-out here’ or ‘ maybe this could be strapless’. A lot of inspiration hits walking around fabric shops too! Sometimes, coming up with new ideas takes time and I’m very careful not to copy designs so I always check if a design hasn’t already been done by another festival fashion designer.
You have recently released some sustainable bras made out of 100% scrap fabric from Bristol businesses. Is sustainability important to you when you are making your outfits?
I’m very aware that festival fashion contributes to the fast fashion industry. Many people buy an outfit for one day at a festival and then never wear it again. I feel we all have the responsibility, businesses big and small. The scrap fabric I collect is usually too small for larger clothing companies to use, but the perfect size for me to make bras out of.
I get a variety of fabrics from doing this too, which means lots of my pieces are one-of-a-kind, which I really love! In my last scrap fabric haul, I found some 3M reflective fabric! I don’t produce much scrap myself, but the amount I do have at the end of a project I send across to another company who make scrunchies. It’s not hard to be a little bit more sustainable and I have an idea that I’m working on that may allow customers to send back their old Alice Lily outfits in exchange for a voucher, so that the fabric can be recycled.
For now, I’ll continue carrying huge bin bags full of scrap fabric around Bristol, which can be quite a challenge without a car but keeps me fit!
What is the most exciting thing about creating your own pieces?
The freedom to be as creative as I want! I have created some pieces which I know are a little out there (a big fluffy pink bow to pin onto the back of pants/shorts) but that’s okay. There’s nothing more exciting than coming up with new ideas which I know may challenge me a bit further.
Describe Alice Lily Festival Clothes in three words.
Colourful. Inclusive. Fun.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Such a huge role. Styles of clothing no longer just trend on websites, but trend over social media as well. It’s an explosive platform that allows people to share their style, creative visions, and individuality. I love seeing some of the incredible creations people post, and how expressive fashion has become. Of course, there are downsides to social media and how it can enforce unrealistic body types, looks and stereotypes on to us every day, but I think that is slowly changing and I’ve seen some great accounts that are turning what it may be considered to be the ‘perfect body’ upside down. Social media can also put a lot of pressure on people to have that perfect wardrobe, to always be up to date on the latest trends and styles, which is practically impossible. If it makes anyone feel better, whenever I am sewing anything for Alice Lily I am in my pyjamas and fluffy socks with my hair in a wild messy bun!
How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want people to feel the best versions of themselves. Everyone has the right to feel confident and beautiful, and I hope I create items that allow people to feel that. When you’re at a festival, the last thing you want to feel is uncomfortable, so my main goal with Alice Lily is to allow people to enjoy whatever event they’re at without any negative thoughts of their self-confidence. As someone who has struggled with body confidence, I know how hard that can be, so I try and be as inclusive as possible with my ‘standard sizing’ – I’m 6’1″, so I understand how hard finding clothes that fit properly can be! Alice offers sizes from XS-L, and even makes custom sizes for people upon request!
What was your first photo shoot like? How did it make you feel?
When my friend El suggested we collaborated on a photoshoot I was so excited, but as the day drew closer I got very nervous. Two friends agreed to help out modelling and I thought I would give it a go too. I really didn’t know what to expect but when I entered the studio I was amazed. It was quite intimidating but also exciting as I never thought Alice Lily would come this far so quickly. I was used to taking photos in my bathroom mirror and laying flat my garments for Insta photos, so having professional photos taken was amazing. The shoot went so well and El was great at putting us at ease. She allowed me to carry out my creative vision while also giving ideas on where/how to stand. My two friends were fantastic and we had such a good time together. The outfits looked great and I can’t wait to get the final shots back!
Tell me about your first fashion show!
The fashion show was great, it was part of a larger awards evening organised by UWE Bristol and overall fantastic evening. All my models were brilliant and looked so great in the outfits, it was so nice that they all put their own individual twists on the outfits to bring out their style and personality. I felt very privileged to have had the opportunity to showcase my work, especially with such great support from my friends and from my university.
When will your next photoshoot/fashion show be?
As well as working on Alice Lily I am also in my final year of university, so balancing the two equally is something I want to continue doing. For now, I don’t have any more photoshoots or fashion shows lined up, but I do have a collaboration in the works for a shoot post-graduation!
What would you like to see happen in the next five years with Alice Lily Festival Clothes?
I think about this so much! I’ve only been doing Alice Lily properly for six months and, already, I’ve grown more than I thought I would.
Within the next year, I will definitely be working on a website and overall becoming more established as a professional business. I would love to work on some collaborations, especially with growing talent as Bristol is full of it! I hope in five years I will be selling worldwide, but I don’t like to plan too far ahead. For now, I hope Alice Lily’s future will bring me just as much joy as it does now. I hope I still have my amazing group of friends and family, as none of this would have been possible without their support. The future is exciting and I can’t wait to see where it takes me and Alice Lily.
Follow Alice’s Instagram to see more and to help you get festival ready for the summer!
Featured photo courtesy Alice Lily