Meet the Designer: Dora Larsen
"I grew tired of working for a big corporation as a lingerie buyer, and felt there was a big gap in the market for a lingerie brand that focused on colour combinations. I also felt that everything in the market was either bland and basic, or super sexy. I wanted something I felt special wearing, but wasn’t “bedroom lingerie”!
When you are designing a collection, where do you look for inspiration?
I don’t look too hard, as I want the colours to come to me more naturally (rather than getting too much inspiration from other people’s ideas!). I just lay lots of snippets of different coloured fabrics and Pantone swatches in front of me, and play around with which combinations I like when I place them together. When it comes to shapes, I take a lot of my own experience, and my friend's experience (and frustrations!) with their underwear drawers when deciding on the next shape. Dora Larsen is all about finding shapes that fill a need in your lingerie drawer for something you don’t already have - something that feels comfortable, as well as gives a nice shape under clothes.
Where are you hoping to take the brand in the future?
I’d love to eventually set up our own shop in London! I’d also love to launch a swimwear range. I’ve just had a baby, so the thought of a project like this is a bit daunting right now, but I think either or both are definitely on the cards for the future.
What is does a typical day hold for you at Dora Larsen?
Juggling mum and work life, with the help of my husband, who also runs the business with me. I usually get up early in the morning and head to our Peckham office to do some work, then I pick up our baby Cleo from my husband and take her for the afternoon. Usually, that involves going to a meeting, so I don’t get much time to meet up with other mums! Cleo seems to like coming along to the meetings though, so I can’t complain too much :)
Do you have a particular career highlight since launching?
Probably beginning our working relationship with Nordstrom in the US. They really committed to our brand and distributed Dora Larsen across 15 Nordstrom stores across the country. It was an amazing feeling securing such an incredible contract like that!
What is one thing you wish you knew before you started?
That just when you think disaster has struck, things always sort themselves out and it’s never that bad in the end!
When you’re not running the show, how do you like to relax?
Trips to Crystal Palace Park, with the best coffee and lunch at the local cafe there “Four Boroughs”.
Final question, if you could tell your younger self one thing what would it be?
You won’t believe it, but one day you’ll be married, with a baby, and you won’t drink, smoke or go to parties (I would have found this almost unbelievable in my early twenties...!!)