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LOFO is a trans-seasonal unisex clothing brand founded in 2017 by Ana Grigoriu and Stelian Dobrescu and focused on speculation about the future of fashion, while regularly testing social and commercial outcomes of their product. Their graphic design background generated this systematic approach to fashion.
LOFO is a collection of built garments and Ana and Stelian see themselves as builders rather than fashion designers. LOFO is a clothing brand, but it’s also an experiment to see how the clothing production and selling model can change and adapt to the current cultural landscape.
Tell us about your brand
LOFO produces ‘principled’ ready-to-wear and is one of the few brands worldwide that practices this kind of cost transparency and lists all the production costs on every product page. We work with small family-owned workshops where we can have a clear overview on every process. Our products are developed on a trans-seasonal basis that means we don’t change the clothing patterns each season, but instead improve and experiment with staple pieces. Each week we release new products that are bought on a pre-order basis, seeking to minimise waste by overproduction. Those are the things that describe LOFO best. Our aesthetic is generated according to that ethos.
What does the move to Poplar Works mean to you?
London is a great place to be a creative business and Poplar Works stands up to such a testimony. The team at LCF, who has been working for years to put the vision into practice have developed an ideal space for young people and their plans to thrive. They have given us the opportunity to make a dent in the fashion industry and now it’s our turn to work together and make sure that dent is as significant and meaningful as possible. Frankly it’s been a great surprise, one for which we’ve tried to prepare as best as we can. Right now, we think that it’s just what the industry needs and we’re thrilled and motivated.
For some businesses, the move to Poplar Works will mean being to expand production or their team. What are the specific ways it will benefit you?
A space for development is vital in allowing us to put our vision for LOFO into place – to build a fashion-forward, sustainable, efficient and inclusive brand for the future. CFE and LCF have been a tremendous help in guiding our efforts towards that goal and we hope to continue to develop our ideas and a place to build our team as well as building a fashion workroom where we can experiment with nano-scale production and various innovations in the field of garments. This opportunity allows us to test many of the things we’ve been incubating like transparent pricing and labour traceability, transseasonality, unisex clothing patterns, and generally an alternative model to fashion.
We’ll utilise the space by putting in place a knowledge sharing scheme and a series of events that will augment both it's cultural value and our business reach.
Where were you based before moving to Poplar Works?
Our original workspace where we designed clothing, put together shipments and handled all aspects of our business was in Romania. Much of our stock and work equipment is still there, but we’ve been trying to find a space suitable to build our own sampling studio in London.
How will you help grow the creative community at Poplar Works?
We will help share and grow the business community in the following ways.
Firstly, we will welcome students to come in and learn about the production line, and welcome
graduates to enrol in apprenticeships and work on hands-on projects. We will also offer to go to
neighbouring schools to teach about sustainability from various points of view.
We will also endeavour to work together with the businesses in the Poplar Works community in order to develop new garments, new processes and cross-pollinate using our slim production and sampling line.
Thirdly, we will run events that will range from educational to entertainment-driven. Through them, we aim to involve and share possibilities with the community, bring attention to the Poplar Works spaces and raise awareness towards LOFO and its ethos.
If we were able to build a team to facilitate this, it would bring both financial and emotional value to the spaces.
LCF at Poplar Works is committed to giving back to the local community through the creative talent housed there. Can you talk a bit about your plans for giving back?
One event that we’re very keen to put in place is the Poplar Morning Rituals. It takes us back to our experience of organising Creative Mornings, a Friday morning event that originated in New York, that brought on a speaker each month. We hosted 24 editions with more than 1,500 total attendees.
This event would be open to all members of the community and advertised locally and online. A sponsor would cover speaker fees, breakfast and refreshments. The event typically involves 45 minutes for guests to drink their coffee and relax, then a 45 minute talk followed by questions.