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A neon junkie who deals in spandex

A neon junkie who deals in spandex

By: Hannah Crowder

If you’re heading to any festivals this season and need some style inspiration look no further. Made specifically for the exotic and daring, new unique independant spandex brand Tirade 13 is bringing rave wear to the street with their sparkling bomber jackets, skin tight catsuits and holographic leggings. We interviewed Charlotte Heleine, the creative behind Tirade 13 and had a chat about her brand, university and the importance of selling on social media.

If you're heading to any festivals this season and need some style inspiration look no further. Made specifically for the exotic and daring, new unique independant spandex brand Tirade 13 is bringing rave wear to the street with their sparkling bomber jackets, skin tight catsuits and holographic leggings. We interviewed Charlotte Heleine, the creative behind Tirade 13 and had a chat about her brand, university and the importance of selling on social media. 

Keep up to date with Tirade 13 on instagram @tirade13 and on Facebook with www.facebook.com/tirade13 !

 

You studied media and communication at university, how did you progress from this to designing your own spandex that ‘glitters and shimmers’?

I did actually start off doing art and textiles courses pre-university so feel that I had a creative vibe from a young age – my mum says I used to have made something before breakfast every morning! I wanted to go into fashion journalism as I also enjoyed writing so that is why I studied media and communications. Following nearly ten years after uni doing content and digital marketing for fashion brands I decided to go back to my roots – stepping away from spreadsheets and return to creating! Whipping up spandex came from going to festivals and only being able to find a very limited ranges of jumpsuits in cool prints and colours that didn’t cost the earth. One day I just thought I could make that myself! Then Tirade 13 was born.

Did you do any work placements whilst at university or afterwards? Do you think that’s an important thing to do before leaving university?

I did loads and loads of work placements whilst at college and uni. Smash Hits, Mixmag, Defected Records, you name it. I think it’s really important to do work experience. Or at least have a year out before uni and work full time. It makes you appreciate your degree more for starters! In all seriousness though it's great to understand your industry from the inside before you leave uni if only to make sure it is one you really want to get into. And to start making those valuable contacts of course.

You went to university in Leeds; do you think being outside of London when trying to get into creative industries is a hindrance?

Not in the slightest. Up north is a very creative place! I think if you want to work in certain industries like fashion or media then yes you have to be in London but there is almost more things to be inspired by outside of the capital if you’re an artist say.

Prior to Tirade 13 you were a Digital Marketing manager, do you think this has made a difference to the way you’ve started your own company?

100% – I know how to market myself plus am confident and familiar with the digital world, which a lot of designers aren’t.

You’ve used Etsy as a platform to sell your garments. Why did you go onto Etsy instead of straight away creating a website or trying to sell your items into a store?

Etsy is a ready-made platform so I felt I could test the market here without going through the costs of setting my own up site. Once I got professional photography done it just snowballed so I would be silly to walk away from all my Etsy traffic. Wholesale is tricky because the margins are smaller. I am starting to sell my label in physical stores though and my first site is now live at www.tirade13.com!

I love your tag line for Tirade 13, ‘neon junkie that deals in spandex’, is this how you would describe yourself?

Yes. I love anything colourful and the more neon the better! I’ve never been one for beige.

The images you use on your social media and Etsy look so fun! Do you spend a lot of time casting for these? Is that important to you and the brand?

People buy into a lifestyle way more than clothes and that’s why every image or post you put out there should be carefully considered. With a smaller brand and limited budget, social media is the best way of telling the story of a brand and showing the personality behind your label. These days you have to have a strong social media presence – there is no excuse not to. Plus most importantly as you said – its fun! Everything should be fun.

The fabrics you use are also so unique, how do you find/make them?

I source my fabrics from all over the globe! Wherever I am I’m always on the look out for new fabric shops and haberdasheries. This season I’m also really excited to say we’ve had some amazing digital prints of our own created by some super talented bods at a design studio called Vapour in Leeds.

Your catsuits are perfect for festival season, but you also offer custom services. How would you describe your design process? Are you designing for a particular person or event?

It can be both really! The event is usually the catalyst but then the customer will want a piece tailored to their personality. I really enjoy getting briefs that are a bit different! And I also love the process of going through ideas and references with them, then picking out swatches and finishes. I’ve done everything from a Hindu octopus to rave dinosaur!

Will you be voting in the upcoming election?

Yes definitely – I haven’t quite decided who for yet though! Anyone who is making the environment their biggest priority will get my vote – looking after our planet (or not looking after it should I say) effects everyone regardless of age, race, religion or political persuasion.

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