Georgina Johnson 24 London
Categories: Art Director, Curator, Designer, Fashion

Posted: 4th August 2017

Georgina Johnson is crafting clothes for women who don’t adhere to the rules. According to the 24-year old founder of emerging contemporary label Laundry Service, that’s anyone from Bjork and Solange, to her mum.

An LCF grad who’s done a stint at Viktor & Rolf in Amsterdam and spent time with acclaimed stylist Jane How in London, Georgina has learnt from the best. For her, “process is king” as is attention to detail. Whilst her debut collection Yellow Undertones took inspiration from her research books – their stitching, binding and layering – her Rust and Ruin collection was born from her fascination with the very “rust and ruin” that surrounded her growing up in Croydon. Narratives are spun between hemlines and full skirts. The stories we tell are a pivotal part of design for Georgia.

But it’s not just her technical ability to design clothes that sets Georgina apart from the crowd, it’s her desire to use her brand as a platform to better represent black women in the fashion industry. As a black woman working in an industry that’s traditionally been dominated by white people, Georgina is no stranger to the disparities of representation. Women of colour, when included in editorial campaigns, fall risk to tokenising practices, face being misrepresented, or shown in an overly sexualised light. By placing women of colour at the forefront of her campaigns Georgina is lifting the lid on some of the stories and voices that have long been overlooked.

Hit follow on the @LaundryService Instagram and you’ll find photographs of Georgina’s family sat alongside shots of her latest line – a highly personal album rife with memory and nostalgia. Georgina is no stranger to curation. In fact, Memories is the title of Laundry Service's transition into contemporary art. Cue: The Laundry, Laundry Service’s newborn sister. An arts collaboration programme by and for women and BAME creatives, coming together to gain the recognition they deserve. With the knowledge that women and BAME people are severely underrepresented in the art world too, Georgina has made it her mission to subvert the norm by carving out a safe collaborative space.

Memories is the exhibition launch of the project running from 4th – 9th August at East London’s Protein Studios, for which Georgina has called on a unique roster of artists, poets, photographers and visual, light and sound artists worldwide to submit multimedia stories that represent their earliest memories, exploring how they impact us today. Memories also includes a closing party on August 9th featuring DJs MARTHA, Eldon Somers and Larry B, along with a talk on 6th August aptly titled People, Power, and Collectivism.

Brooke Mccord

Tell us about yourself and what you do:I'm the founder of contemporary womenswear brand, Laundry Service and it's sister movement , The Laundry; An arts programme by and for women and BAME creatives.How would you summarise your approach to design?It's very extensive. I'm really interested in little things. For instance my inspiration for the Laundry Service debut collection 'Yellow Undertones' came about while I was researching and reading books. The books themselves actually became my references, the stitching and binding and layering. I think there is definitely something to be said with just paying attention, indulging just really sinking into process. Process is king for me. Who would be your ideal person to be seen wearing Laundry Service?Well Laundry Service is for the eclectic woman. The woman that doesn't follow rules. So anyone from Bjork to Solange to my mum. What is the ethos behind Laundry Service?I think it's interesting that we have so much choice these day's but a majority still choose the status quo. I mean how mad is that, that we choose to remain in the confines of trend and season. Laundry Service as a brand, understands that people that really invest in style and individuality, shop cross season, cross style and cross segment, and it is fine to do so. It's more than fine. That's how you mould your identity. That's why are collections are named. I personally don't care how old my clothes are, I have Kickers from when I was in year 8 that I still wear, they have a story. If something is good and it still speaks to the person you are right now you're going to wear it. That's why it's important that this brand represents a core value of slow fashion and not just churning out designs after designs after designs. It's reductive. We value stories. Laundry Service is an opportunity for me to finally see myself in a brand, for me to see my community and emulate other women like me. That is not to say it's a brand exclusively focused on black women, but I am a black woman so my experience will always come into it. It's not something i'll ever shy away from either. But I want people to appreciate the brand for what it values. Do you feel that the fashion industry is becoming a more inclusive space?I'm not sure. I feel as though a lot of things that are happening are very superficial and not actually planted into the identity of the companies pursuing them. We love hype so we follow it. I think though, that brands understand that a lot of us have social amnesia, so they churn out tons of new content etc without truly considering it's value and impact. If you are going to be inclusive you have to play that card from the bottom up. Not just on your campaigns. Inclusivity is not having a whole ad with just black folk - for what ? Inclusivity is having a black person shoot that thing, A brown person edit it, starring POC in general not just for one marketing campaign and not being so damn contrived. What has been your career highlight to date?I feel like it's too early for me to know lol.How would your friends describe you in a sentence?Erm I can do four words ish. Funny, straight to the point, Ambitious and outgoing.What's the first thing you do when you get up?Pray.When are you happiest?When I'm watching Grey's Anatomy or with my family or friends. I like to be out and around people. Who do you admire?My mum.What's your current obsession?3 for £1 corner shop sweets.What's your best advice?Love and be easy on yourself.What could you not live without?Food.Best party you've ever been to?Probably my 23rd.Time you laughed the hardest?I think every week.What's your signature dish?Oooo either curry goat, macaroni cheese or jerk pork.What words or phrases do you most overuse?I use 'Like' and 'I'm Dead' a lot.Biggest lie you were told/that you told as a kid?Loool my aunty told me if I kept biting my nails I could die. Savage, man.What's your pet hate?People yawning without covering their mouth.What's next?Well I'm launching the sister movement of Laundry Service, The Laundry- An arts curation and collaboration programme by and for women and BAME creatives. We'll be launching work from it's first project 'memories' in August with a week long exhibition, so looking forward to that. I'm excited to see how both Laundry Service and The Laundry grow. I think they are really important and really necessary so yeah, all I can say is I know I'll need all the good energy and support available. AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Giulia Tomasello
Why: Because she is actively working to impact and educate women about their genital health. She's a Bio-hacker to challenge our ideals about our bodies. So super important.
Contact Georgina Johnson