Episode 7 : Meet the Founder of FUUD Unisex Apparel
Meet fashion designer Louise Halswell, founder of FUUD, a unisex, slow fashion brand working with organic and upcycled fabrics. Known for her ever playful designs using geometric, 80s inspired patterns, FUUD is all about comfort through loose fit, tailored apparel. Having run FUUD for almost a decade, Lou opened her own shop in Margate a few years ago, thriving amongst the creative community she found there.
Alongside FUUD, Lou also runs her own costume company, Stume Studios, creating bespoke pieces for performers. With a background in festivals, Lou's costume designs are heavily influenced by Vikings and Gods/Goddesses, bringing together warrior vibes and cosmic trippy colour palettes. Tune into the episode to hear Lou discuss the duality of her creative avenues and the common thread of slow-fashion that guides her design decisions today.
Shout out to our Sassy host and fellow slow fashion designer, Cyd Eva, for bringing this interview onto The Sassy Show. Cyd and Lou first connected over their shared love for colourful, unisex clothing. Tune in to hear them discuss the importance of changing consumer mindsets and how we can support independent designers ethically.
Having grown up wanting to be a showjumper, Lou's journey into fashion all started while she was studying art at Bristol University. Having taught herself how to sew, and finding herself surrounded by people who loved dressing up, Lou turned her attention to creating festival wear such as furry hoods and PVC harnesses. With seemingly limitless imagination, Lou started to develop a style she describes as "Roman gladiator on acid in a multicolored outfit, out of space - that's kind of the vibe!"
From there, Lou began working on bigger collections, constantly developing both her costumes and street/loungewear. Over the decade, Lou tells us how sustainability was always at the core of what she did. However, the way she created transformed in 2018 when she decided to break away from the festival scene, and in one big move, ban faux fur, sequins, feathers and PVC, in search of new organic sustainable fabrics. "We definitely lost a huge part of our income in that first year but it felt GOOD." This started a new, exciting part of Lou's journey; with orders and briefs in mind, she looks at what materials she has around her and channels geometric patterns and warrior vibes.
Forever growing her skills, Lou has continually moved between the two areas of her fashion design - running Fuud and Stume Studio. From lines of eclectic playful trackies, Lou also builds costumes from upcycled and recycled material. This type of creativity and continually playing how items can be reworked is something that led Lou to create the pullover swimfuuds and the sleeping bag jackets (below)
It all runs on a theme of geometric colour blocking, 80s patterns, and a bit of warrior power dressing. This is my core. But how each collection changes is about whose around me, what's available, and who my market is
In 2019, FUUD launched their first, organic cotton, 99% plastic free, sustainable apparel : FUUD Reborn collection (below). In doing so, Lou shares her mission to educate others about the full impact of our clothes on the environment; where the raw materials are grown, who is sewing the designs, where our clothes and fabric waste ends up when we throw them out, the carbon footprint of each garment. Her Sassy advice to us is "look at your labels, go thrifting, don't ever, ever shop at Shein, and have fun with your clothes!"
Look at your labels, go thrifting, don't ever, ever shop at Shein, and have fun with your clothes!
Something that stands out in this episode is Lou's love of menswear and how it led her to make traditionally masculine styles accessible to people of all genders. This neutrality is something that we see impacting the versatility of Lou's work, shaping a new approach to fashion. Her next dream is to create a skiwear line and start speaking more publically about the need for slow fashion and sustainability. With many ideas in the pipeline, we look forward to seeing the colourful creations Lou brings into our life, from street, to stage and everywhere in between.
Lou's Quickfire Round
When do you feel most confident?
When I'm sewing
Name a key experience that shaped you postiively?
The first time I made a commissioned costume jacket. I'd never done it before and [the client] thought it was so good, she went out and bought me a bottle of champagne. It made me realise, maybe I had a bit of talent.
One dream you want to come true?
Designing a skiwear collection
One cause you're passionate about?
[Stoppinig] animal cruelty
Best thing about being you?
Laughing... a lot!