Lilly + Sid are an Award winning British children’s wear designer. Their beautiful coordinating applique designs and jersey cotton prints, bridge the gab between practical and stylish perfectly. Lilly + Sid are renowned for their quality childrenswear, detail is key and every stitch, every button, every zip is designed and manufactured to the highest standard.
Time for an interview with Imran & Emma, the founders of Lilly + Sid.
Tell us a little about your background? How did you come to be a children’s fashion designer?
My wife Emma and I have worked in retail for many years, heading up the design and buying funcitons for leading international retailers. Having worked across mens, womens , kids and footwear, it is kidswear we always enjoyed the most as it is less serious and more fun! After the birth of our own children, we were found wanting for clothes that were of great quality, fun designs with a contemporary outlook and so decided to utilise our knowledge and create our own brand , Lilly + Sid named after our children.
What inspires your work, and what do you want to inspire in others though your work?
Lilly + Sid is a unique mix of vintage treasures and street trends. We are greatly inspired by heirloom pieces which have stood the test of time, and love to re invent them for todays contemporary parents and children. Our skater dresses for example are based around the pattern cutting of 80’s ballgowns , with godet inserts and ruffle sections, but the prints and stripes fabrications used are inspired by a Damien Hirst art exhibition at Tate modern art gallery- a real mix of old and new! Other pieces have been inspired by graffiti art, but in classic silhouettes to ensure longevity rather than high fashion garments.
We are also greatly inspired by children. All our garments are tested on children to ensure they would want to wear them, and we focus on every day wear, easy care garments. We love to see children enjoying our clothes and often include an element of dress-up into the designs, like feature hoods, character ears, integral masks etc. Our design team create easy dressing solutions, pick and mix outfitting for older children and ready to wear sets for babies- less time to be spent searching for outfits and more time for playing! We strongly believe that children should be dressed like children and hope to inspire others to celebrate this precious time window too.
The Lilly + Sid customer has an appreciation of design and quality. We like to inspire them to try out new ideas and approaches and highlight the ‘ L+S twist’ that little added something to create a ‘ reason to buy’ and stand out from the crowd. with our focus on quality and style longevity, our customers can pass our products on to smaller friends and family and we love to see photos of ‘ vintage’ Lilly + Sid being reloved years later.
What is your favorite piece from the collection?
Baby Girls- Butterfly dress and bloomer set- a classic L+S best selling style, reworked in a butterfly print our designers were inspired by the butterfly room ‘ in and out of love’ by Damien Hirst
Baby Boys- Seagull Ted woven shorts set- Cute character, easy outfitting, bold prints – unmistakably Lilly + Sid!
Unisex Baby- Seaside Print Romper and Hat set- a striking print featuring motifs found on a traditional British Seaside, a heritage print really. Also a great price point.
Older girls- the skater dresses are stand-out this season, and a particular favourite is the ruffle sleeve skater dress. Inspired by vintage pattern cutting techniques, the new nautical palette with sorbet trims gives a contemporary twist.
Older boys- we have had great fun designing the motif tops this season and a favourite has to be the Prize Bulldog- Brilliantly British!
Do you have children? How does that influence your work?
We have three children who greatly influence our work. Initially inspiring the concept of Lilly + Sid, trend led clothing which is funky and fun, we always remind ourselves of the starting point and develop into this. As parents, we are also always looking for ‘ easy outfitting’ and ‘ easy care’ solutions ensuring that all items are machine washable, high quality and comfortable to wear. From a young age, our children have chosen their own clothes and we get feedback from children and parents at many stages of the development process to ensure our products appeal to both children and parents too and are age appropriate. Day to day, our children inspire us to enjoy the journey, remember what’s most important and to have fun- ultimately this reflects in the designs we create too.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of your job?
The most rewarding aspect by far is seeing Lilly + Sid being worn and enjoyed by our customers. We have won many awards over the years which is amazing, but nothing beats positive customer feedback. We strongly believe that there is an acceptable price limit for all clothing, particularly childrens clothes and keep our prices within this acceptable limit, with most items retailing under £30. Our lower margins have balanced off with higher volumes which reflects the wide range of customers who can buy into Lilly + Sid, we want to be an accessible brand. It is therefore very rewarding to be named as a best selling kidswear brand ( i.e. in Drapers, CWB etc), alongside many much more established brands – this is a good indication that we are heading in the right direction!
With a growing business, one of the most challenging aspects is managing time. As a husband and wife team, we are parents first and foremost and many of our team are also parents. It is really important to us that we never miss a sports day, school assembly or performance and do need to constantly remind ourselves that certain things can wait. Managing your own business you have to be strict with yourself on ‘time out’
As our business grows, the challenge is to remain product focussed. Ultimately we are a design led brand and product development has to be where our resources are spent.
Complete this sentence “Lilly + Sid is …”
A unique mix of vintage treasures and street trends, funky and fun with a brilliantly British twist.
If one of our readers is only in London for 24 hours what one thing would you recommend they do?
Definitely visit the fantastic art galleries and museums we have in the city. Personal favourites are Tate Modern, V+A and Natural History Museum. These are a constant source of inspiration for us.
You can shop Lilly + Sid here