FFG interviews Alice Stone, founder of Lily and Lionel

This year we have become completely obsessed with Lily & Lionel scarves. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Each scarf is a piece of art that you actually question whether it’s right to wrap around your neck. Yet when we do, dozens of women in London stop us asking where they can find one! So we had to find out more about the brand. We went straight to the source and interviewed Alice Stone, the founder – who is not only absolutely gorgeous but also 100% inspiring!

FFG: What made you get into the world of scarves as opposed to any other are of fashion?

Alice: I realised there was a gap in the market for unique printed scarves made from luxury fabrics that were not in an intimidating price range. We started out with a resortwear collection as well as accessories and quickly realised that the demand was far greater for the scarves.

FFG: Where does the Lily and Lionel name come from and how do you feel it accurately reflects the brand’s ethos?

Alice: The name comes from my late Grandparents who both worked in fashion, and were the inspiration for the label. Lily was the creative soul who produced patterns and made clothing and accessories using her sewing machine. In contrast, Lionel oversaw manufacturing for John Lewis and had a meticulous eye for detail. The mix of creativity and attention to detail are two clear values that have been carried over in the brand’s philosophy.

FFG: Can you walk us through the creative process of designing a scarf?

Alice: We start out by working on inspiration for the prints, together with colour boards. We then begin working on the CAD’s which get tweaked several times until the design and layout is perfect.

FFG: If you could have any man or woman wear your scarves, alive or passed, who would he/she be?

Alice: Without a shadow of a doubt it would be Princess Diana- I couldn’t think of a more elegant and naturally stylish woman..

FFG:  Do you have one scarf you wear constantly, a current favourite?
Alice: Yes, the Coral Ballet scarf is a current favourite, although I am rather fickle since there’s often a flavour of the month!
FFG Note – This is our favourites too! It is gorgeous! 

FFG: What was the first scarf you designed?

Alice: The ‘Italian Job’ which was inspired by a famous temple in India- it’s now become a signature print and is still a bestseller which is encouraging!

FFG: What advice would you give to a young designer starting out, reading this and wondering how she’s going to make her own way in the fashion world?
  Alice: Speak to as many people as possible, be it in the fashion industry or anyone who has also set up their own business in general. What you want is to hear their own experiences- the good as well as the bad. You will also be surprised at how many contacts you have in your extended network who can help you out getting started.


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