Fashion Talk
George Stander

George Stander

Designer
Label - Leocé

Leocé as a brand is classic and elegant and focuses on the details

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Leocé is a fashion label created by George Stander. Its main purpose is to give women a one-stop-shop for all their fashion needs. Classic, elegant and stylish, the Leocé collection uses a mix of 100 per cent natural, luxury, and blended fabrics in all its garments. Leocé works closely with artisans to create bespoke and unique prints for each collection with finishing details such as hand-painted buttons and exquisite embroidery. In an interview with Kiran Sahija, the designer talks about his journey, inspirations and top fashion trends.

Fibre2Fashion: What intrigued you about the fashion industry? How would you illustrate your journey?

George Stander:

From a young age I’ve always been interested in fashion. It’s a way for people to express their creativity and personality. I enjoyed following the latest trend and forecasts. The new trends designers showcase every year is truly inspiring. My journey was no different than most designers. I converted my garage into a studio and that is where Leocé started. We launched with a cruise collection with simple signature pieces and every year we just built on that. I wanted to create a simple, sophisticated, elegant yet trendy brand; something for the every-day young professional. The use of silk, cashmere and wool fabrics form a huge part of the brand.

Fibre2Fashion: How would you elaborate the vibe of your collection?

George Stander:

Leocé is a very versatile brand that can be dressed up for formal dinners and events or that can be dressed down for a casual lunch with a small change of blouse or an additional scarf. We focus on the details by adding hand painted buttons to some of our garments, or some lovely and exquisite embroidery. Every piece is carefully planned and designed for the desired look.

Fibre2Fashion: Please tell us a little about cultural heritage and fashion in your city and country.

George Stander:

I am from Cape Town, a city on the southern coast of South Africa. This is where Leocé was born and where we manufacture all our collections. South Africa in general is known for its vibrant colours and bold patterns when it comes to fashion. We have incredible cultures, and people love to tell stories with their fashion styles. Because Cape Town is a well-known tourist destination for European countries, our fashion style is a little more basic and trendier. Leocé as a brand is classic and elegant. Although we like to experiment with different patterns and colours, we try not to make our collections too bold and colourful.

Fibre2Fashion: Where do you get inspiration for such bespoke and elegant collections?

George Stander:

My inspiration comes from anywhere. Sometimes I get an idea from artwork while sitting in a coffee shop, or other times when I feel like I have ‘designers-block’ I just want to be in nature then I draw my inspiration from nature and my beautiful surroundings. Being able to travel and see the styles and trends from different countries and cultures is also a big part of my inspiration. I guess when you are creative and passionate about what you are doing you can find inspiration from basically anything. The talent comes in by how you incorporate your inspiration in your brands style and energy.

Fibre2Fashion: What is your take on sustainability and how do you include the same in your creations?

George Stander:

For me and the brand, sustainability in the fashion industry means creating fashion without it having a negative impact on the environment. Leocé uses natural fabrics in most of our garments. Natural fabrics are biodegradable. The wool, cashmere, and leather we use are all by-products. We make sure that all our suppliers have the relevant certifications and that they trade ethically. There is also amazing new technology in vegan leather made from cactuses which is ground-breaking for the fashion industry.

Fibre2Fashion: What distinguishes your collection as elegant and luxurious, amid a sea of emerging fashion labels?

George Stander:

A major factor that can distinguish us from other high-end brands is the fact that we trade ethically even though we use natural fabrics and fibres.

On the designing side, we are unique in the sense that all the patterns in our collections are our own. We create patterns and prints according to the latest trends and forecasts. We digitise the art and that gets printed on the fabrics. Leocé also focus on the finer details. We could have a very simple and elegant blouse, but we would add hand painted buttons just to give in that extra edge and uniqueness. We have artisans in our teams with amazing talent that we love to show to the world. We believe a brand like Leocé should also be evolving to keep customers interested and coming back for more. Every year since we have started, we tried to add an extra aspect to the brand. We started with just ready-to-wear garments and now we are doing wedding gowns, evening gowns, sleepwear, beachwear, handbags, and couture design. It is all about eventually creating a one stop brand where you can find everything you need for formal, professional, and causal occasions.

Fibre2Fashion: According to you, what are the notable changes in the fashion industry in the past two years?

George Stander:

It’s no secret that the past two years has put every industry under a great amount of pressure. Every business had to adjust and had to find new ways to trade. The fashion industry is no different. The pandemic forced designers to think outside the box; to find new ways of presenting their new collections and reaching their clients. We have seen the magnificent impact technology has on our lives. We started having online fashion shows. Clients are much more prone to buy online as the e-commerce process became a lot more user friendly and reliable. Online shops can be challenging for new and upcoming designers as you must ensure the credibility and security of each e-commerce site.

Fibre2Fashion: Suggest five trends that can have the highest influence on fashion enthusiasts.

George Stander:

  • The sustainable and eco-friendly trend. People are a lot more aware of the negative impact artificial products have on the environment and clients tend to support brands that trade in a more environment-friendly way.
  • Every year we see a lot of the older fashion trends resurfacing. Styles and garments we completely forgot about makes a new appearance. Bomber jackets are back in fashion, and we are here for it. It’s something comfortable and wearable that can be worn with basically anything.
  • Leather is making a big comeback. We are seeing a lot of leather pants, jackets, and even leather crop tops. The one aspect that is different is the fact that designers are using vegan leather which is amazing.
  • Although Leocé is a classic and elegant brand, we try to add some details to our garments. One way we are adding to a simple garment is with bold, statement sleeves. It’s trending and we love it.
  • Oversized anything. This is a huge trend. Oversized coat, oversized blazer, oversized shoes. Paired with the right accessories an oversized item can be the perfect way to round up your outfit.

Fibre2Fashion: What are the forthcoming plans for your label?

George Stander:

As a high-end fashion brand, one of the biggest challenges in the industry is to keep your clients interested. They must ‘want’ to come back. At Leocé we introduce a new division or product to our market every year. Next for Leocé will be to introduce a shoe line that will be unique to our style and energy. We would also, eventually, like to introduce a men’s range with suits, jackets, coats, etc. Every new development is extremely exciting and we are looking forward to expanding the brand every year.

What are the forthcoming plans for your label?

Published on: 27/07/2022
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