5 minutes with our owner + designer Ali Lennard

We are spending five minutes with our owner + designer Ali Lennard. Now you can get an insight into your favourite Australian brand!

How long have you been with Philosophy?

I joined as Designer in August 2008, just after moving to Sydney from London. Over the years I took over running the business too, and in 2019 I became the owner, when the founders retired. I can’t believe that’s five years ago already!

What do you love the most about Philosophy?

My team, they are all fantastic. We really are a family and have been together for a long time.

I also really love that I get to design for a "tea party of ladies". Philosophy as a brand appeals to such a broad spectrum of boutiques and customers, I'm never pigeonholed in what I can create.

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I knew at a very young age I wanted to work in fashion, and I was a very determined little lady. I have a fashion design and marketing degree and my first design role was in 1995. Since then, I haven’t looked back, and it’s been clothing all the way.

What do you love about being a designer?

Everything. It's not just a job to me; I couldn't imagine being anything else. I love it when I get feedback that someone has loved something we've created; making someone feel special is priceless.

I’ve also been able to travel the world and get paid to shop, that’s got to be described as a perk!

Where does your inspiration come from?

Anywhere and everywhere, and it’s different every season. The Philosophy customer isn't dictated to by fashion trends, so it's just developing a style with a twist on what's happening and making it relevant, timeless, and beautiful, and ensuring it offers value.

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest saving ideas for colour, shape and print direction.

What is your all-time favourite Philosophy piece and which collection was it from?

Oooh I've got more than just one, so that's hard. I could give you at least ten from every collection I've ever made though. I do love our printed bengaline pants, and I grab a few new pairs every season.

What’s your design style?

I’d describe it as clean, comfortable, and effortless. Which I think reflects Australian style in general. I’m not opposed to a touch of dopamine dressing though and love pops of colour and signature prints.

Do you have a season you prefer to design for?

I know it shouldn’t be the case, as the summer season is more important here, but personally I love winter dressing. I layer all my outfits, and often wear at least two tops even in the height of summer.

In terms of design though, winter is also more fun as generally the qualities of the fabric and the details required, and the scope of the garment have more to play with.

What are the criteria you use when designing a new style or collection?

The style and therefore collection must be comfortable, easy care and wear, adaptable, fit well, be in good quality fabrication, made with impeccable quality and above all have a detail, colour, silhouette or trim that just turns a garment into a "lust/must have".

I also think about value, I want the style to have as much versatility as possible, be timeless and be a valued wardrobe piece. I find customers are more and more discerning with how they spend, and that I want them to feel good about purchasing from us.

What are you most proud of regarding the label?

Mainly that we have a culture of kindness – this is at the core of who we are, what we do and how we do it. I used the word KINDNESS as my touchstone for 2020 and since then have launched several campaigns that focus on that.

I also love that we have a loyal brand following amongst our boutiques and customers because they appreciate our dedication to striving for excellence in product and service.

What's your best memory of your time at Philosophy?

#TeamAli day – it still makes me well up! I’d announced that I would be taking over the brand, so that the family could stay intact and the brand could continue after the former owners' retirement. I’d started stressing about owning rather than running it and had just had to sell my house to fund it, so to turn up at the office and see the whole team wearing tees saying that they had my back was one of the best moments of my life, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

We've asked our boutiques as part of the Shop Local, Support Small, Buy Australian Made campaign how they would sum up Philosophy, what would you say?

Easy Wear, Easy Care, Wear anywhere! We are a lifestyle brand, that can be flexible to the taste of our customers,and who proudly shine a spotlight on local manufacture.

To me personally, it’s my heart and soul!

What word would you use to describe yourself?


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