Born in 2004 and inspired by a vibrant street in east London, Leonard St is the brainchild (amidst her real children) of Amanda McCarthy. She worked in retail, buying, visual merchandising, film wardrobe departments and styling, before trying her own hand at design and finally launching her own label. Her colourful, handmade designs come to life on beautiful fabrics with work ethics, fair trade and sustainability in mind.
Now, Adelaide has its own little taste of London, with Amanda opening a store in Ebenezer Place, in October last year. We talked to designer and founder Amanda McCarthy.
TEO: What does Leonard St offer to lovers of boutique fashion?
McCarthy: We offer customers a unique designer style of signature quirky print and clashing colour. Leonard St duds are just right for all the picnics and whimsical adventures ahead.
How has your designs changed in its 12 years of operation?
The range has developed a lot since I started out. It’s a much more distinctive look. I’ve really developed my own Leonard St style and we now offer a Little Leonard St kids wear line and broader accessory base.
How has Adelaide responded to the opening of your store late last year?
It’s been great to open in Adelaide. People are discovering us, we are slowly building a repeat clientele base and Leonard St prints are being spotted all over town!
Why is Leonard St inspired by London?
I left London and headed back home about 11 or so years ago. I loved the crazy approach to fashion there and how people loved being over the top with their outfits. I really missed that when I got back on Aussie soil. So when I started Leonard St as just doodles and daydreams, it was based on the strong style of the expressive East Londoner.
What else influences your designs?
Life, colour, happiness and art – they all go in hand-in-hand.
What is your favourite piece right now? Why?
My new Beetle and Protea print for Autumn as well as the new long line coats for winter in lush deep green – yum!
Tell us about Little Leonard St kids wear line…
Little Leonard St is in its second or third year; it’s a small collection of kids leggings, tees and dresses in all my colourful prints! Kids love wearing the animal prints and something bright and special.
Fair trade, work ethics and sustainability are paramount to Leonard St, why is this so important to your business?
It’s important to have a solid relationship with your manufacturers and suppliers. When running your own business you quickly discover it’s your choice to deal with people who you get along with. We have been lucky enough to find some beautiful manufacturers who have become like family over the years. I wouldn’t want to support any negative employment situations – that would be bad karma.
What’s in store for Leonard St this year?
Work-life balance, improving design and honing our processes. Hopefully solidifying the Adelaide store and thinking about the next place that needs a Leonard St store.
You can nab the Autumn 2016 collection, debuting this month online or in store in Adelaide or Melbourne.