We talk to product designer, model and style icon, Céline Loh about the beginnings of her brand, and the relationship and anger that spurred her on to develop Loh. Watch part 1 of the interview here!
BA: Hi! Tell me more about Loh. How did it all get started?
Loh: So Loh started when I was completing my final year of uni in 2018, and I was feeling so itchy to start my own line. I knew I didn't want to be one of those people who decided to wait for all this experience to build up, and then to do my own thing. I knew I wanted to start as soon as possible just so I can make the most of the short time that I have. It was supposed to be a collaboration with my ex-boyfriend. It was like 'oh yeah, we are going to make this amazing thing together', I really wanted him to be involved, but I think we had huge creative differences. It got to a point where he took my designs to Japan and then started creating them in different colours without me knowing. Then he got back to me and was like 'look, I've done all this stuff, and got this huge influencer involved - you can thank me now'. But then didn't credit me for any of it. I was like 'wait, why are you doing this? I didn't even ask for this.' He literally said to me that the designs had nothing to do with me because he changed the colour, and that's what made it a different design. Which is absolutely ridiculous, right? That was my final red flag!
BA: Is he still going with the products?
Loh: No, no, luckily not. I made it very clear that this is not OK, and that I wanted to end things. That gave me a lot of fire, a lot of anger and energy to think to myself I really, really want to make this happen. This is just the next push for me to create this, despite everything that is going on - like having a job and doing internships etc. I really want to just make this my own thing, and keep it my own platform to create whatever I want, regardless of what anyone else is saying or telling me to do in the main 9 to 5.
BA: Do you think that experience actually helped you then, and spurred you on?
Loh: 100%, yeah. I think anger is a really good thing to have. I know it's like a negative connotation when you think 'oh I'm angry', but actually when you are angry about something it means you want something to change and want something to get better. You know, right? You know when you have that fire to do something about it.
BA: So what did you do at uni then? Is that how you got started?
Loh: Kind of. So I studied Product Design, but Loh was more about the wearable side of stuff. I think now it has definitely turned into accessories at the moment, most of what I produce is accessories. In Product Design at CSM (Central Saint Martins), we are encouraged to just do whatever we want, so if you want to do furniture you can do furniture, etc. I don't know how well it caters to everybody because it is so broad, but I really loved that they encouraged us to just try whatever, because I have taken that mentality into everything I do.
BA: So if you make accessories you must be very interested in fashion?
Loh: I think everyone who first sees me thinks I work in fashion. I'm interested in fashion, I appreciate fashion but I would still always say that I am a product designer at heart.
Stay tuned for part 2 where we talk about her inspiration, and process behind her products!