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5 Questions With...

Laura Rhodes, Womenswear Designer at Fred Perry

Having dreamt of being a designer since she first realised the job existed; Fred Perry's Laura Rhodes studied Fashion at Central St Martins, London, before joining us as Womenswear Designer. Laura talks us through her thoughts and inspirations behind the SS11 Women's Authentic Collection, and tells us why she was drawn to a brand like Fred Perry.

What attracted me to Fred Perry was the history of the brand, and its association with music and subculture throughout the years. It was during the Britpop scene of the 1990s that I first really became aware of the brand - so many bands I liked were wearing Fred Perry. When designing the womenswear range each season I find there is such a diverse wealth of inspiration - from the original Fred Perry tennis wear of the 50s (which was very smart and formal) to the contrasting looks of the many subcultures that have made Fred Perry their own.

For Spring/Summer '11 I wanted to introduce a pared-back, contemporary feel to the range. It's a range that mixes tomboy shapes with traditional Fred Perry styles; and uses feminine fabrics and washes to give a softer feel. I wanted it to be a very British collection - the season's inspiration came from looking back to the 1950s, where the majority of people spent their summer holidays by the seaside in Britain. For this collection I chose a Liberty 'Jack Ramble' print in two colours which reflects this seaside theme with images of waves and ships. The colours all have a slight grey tinge to them to reflect the British weather!

Liberty Shirt

Liberty Print Shirt from the SS11 Women's Authentic Collection

I don't think I can pinpoint a specific person who represents 'The Fred Perry Woman' - it has to be someone unique and individual, and the 'Tell Us Your Story' campaign on our website is perfect for inspiration. She's a girl who is very opinionated and British in her dress sense; who mixes things up in a very modern way. She's has her own style and knows what suits her, and isn't a slave to constantly changing fashion trends. The Fred Perry woman is a bit of a tomboy and wants to have fun: she goes to gigs and festivals - music from the past and present is a big part of her life, and this is reflected in her dress sense.

A favourite piece from the SS11 collection? I Have quite a few! Two favourites would have to be the gingham seersucker pinafore dress - perfect worn alone on a hot day or layered over one of our oversized t-shirts - and the fishtail parka. Made in England with shower-proof British Millerain waxed cotton, it's perfect to take to a festival this summer.

One piece of summer clothing I couldn't go without is a good oversized t-shirt. My current favourite is our oversized stripe t-shirt in a cotton/modal mix which is really soft and looks great on.

Browse the SS11 Fred Perry Women's Authentic collection HERE