The English brand Studio Pia announced itself in 2016. It’s debut collection won me not only for its aesthetics, color and attention to details. The founder of the brand Pia Conaghan paid great attention to the ethics of production. She managed to make luxury products conscious. In particular, from the press release, I learned about the existence of a peaceful silk, which is used in brand’s lingerie collections.
‘Bella’ tells the story of laconicism, sculpture and non-standard reading of the classic plot, paying great attention to silk and its pink flamingos shade.
‘Liana’ talks about youth and carefree. And there is a large concentration of floral embroidery, inspired by the jungle of Rousseau, in it.
‘Adria’ manages to combine both moods, subduing with its rich emerald color.
Recently I was able to ask the designer Pia Conaghan a few questions about her way, inspiration and plans for the future.
Pia, how did you realise that you want to become a fashion designer? What were your first steps in that direction?
I’ve been passionate about design for as long as I can remember and have always loved to draw. As a teenager, it baffled me that my friends didn’t know exactly what they wanted to do, because for me it was always fashion design.
I completed my Fashion Design BA at London College of Fashion in 2009, and went on to intern for womenswear and lingerie brands, before taking a position as Design Assistant at Bordelle. In 2011, I accepted a promotion to take over as Designer, a dream position, and lead my team to create 6 seasonal collections over a span of 3 years.
What problems have you faced and how have you resolved them?
The main problem has been funding. I have had to find the cheapest way of doing everything which inevitably means doing most things myself. I’m often overstretched so progress has been slow, but at the same time it has helped me to have full control over all aspects of the business and learn from each setback.
How did your studies and work influence your own brand creation? What was your most valued experience and where did you get it?
When I joined Bordelle, I didn’t know that such lingerie existed and it completely transformed the way I thought about it. As the designer I had a lot of creative freedom, but within a very specific pre-determined aesthetic. I feel like Studio Pia is purely an expression of me, built upon all that I learned during my time at Bordelle and beyond.
Do you remember the first lingerie you’ve made? Please tell us about it.
In secondary school made a silk slip dress based around the concept of destruction. I dyed the silk with tea and ripped and scorched the hem, before machine embroidering over it to restore the fabric’s strength. My school and university work was always very instinctive, I’d always have an idea very quickly upon receiving a brief. I think nowadays I put a lot more time and thought into my ideas, but I’ll always trust my gut when it comes to decision making.
Where do you get the inspiration for your creations?
I’m inspired by so many artists, photographers and couture craftspeople. The debut collection was inspired by Henri Rousseau’s Jungle paintings, which I took aspects of and worked into our distinctive embroidery. For the shoot, we were channeling the raw sexiness of Juergen Teller’s amazing work. We are currently developing a new collection inspired by the Art Nouveau movement and Gustav Klimt’s Gold phase.
Can you describe the heroine of Studio PIA, wearing PIA lingerie? What is she like?
I don’t have one particular person in mind, but my customer is self-assured, ethically aware, and looking for quality and creativity that she can feel good about showing off.
Please share with Garterblog readers ethics behind your products? Was it hard to find peaceful silk?
In recent years I’ve found myself becoming more acutely aware of the huge ethical issues surrounding the fashion industry, but at the same time noticing a demand for me to launch my own line. This lead me to begin creating a lingerie collection that was designed in a responsible way, without sacrificing the luxe factor.
The fabrics were crucial to the collection. As a lifelong veggie with a mild silk obsession, I was interested in using peace silk, an alternative to standard silk with cruelty-free production methods. After a lot of searching, I finally found my supplier who’s silk is not only cruelty-free, but also certified organic and with elastane for stretch!
Could you describe your perfect working day?
The beauty of this job is that every day can be different, and I like to mix it up by spending some days at the computer, some at the sewing machine, and some pattern cutting. My favourite days are creative ones, and I always feel most productive when I’m sewing.
Do you collecting lingerie by yourself? If yes – what are your favourite pieces and designers.
I do have a few key pieces and hope to one day build a small archive, however I’m much more interested in looking at/making beautiful lingerie, than wearing it myself. My personal style is much more about comfort!
What are you working at right now and what are your plans for future?
We’ve just shot our second collection which is a development from the debut Jungle collection – paying around with some of the styles, adding new colours, reworking the embroidery and introducing some high impact gold hardware.
We’ll be exhibiting this collection for wholesale buyers at the Dessous London showroom 11-12th Jan ’18 and we are looking to significantly increase our wholesale business.
What makes you happy?
My partner, my pets, my work, good food and discovering new places.
Pia Conaghan is the founder and designer of the Studio Pia brand. She has been working in the lingerie industry for over 7 years. She creates uncompromisingly beautiful underwear, inspired by art and puts on the cutting edge the ethics of production.
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