Happy belated birthday Robyn! You turned 30 on the day of your show. Do you feel like the mature, responsible adult your age suggests you are?
[laughs] No, I don’t feel like I’m 30 at all. When you’re younger, you have this perception of what your life will be at 30. Although I definitely have hit some career milestones, selling with Tomorrow and being in Milan, for example, it doesn’t feel like I’m as put together as I had wanted to be at 30. But then, 30 in London years is very different to 30 anywhere else!
“As a young designer, your next collection always feels like a gamble.” – Robyn Lynch
What do you feel is still missing to be a “full adult”?
I would stay stability. As a young designer, your next collection always feels like a gamble. You invest a lot of money to put on a show and then you have to wait months to find out whether it actually performs well and sells, whether you’ll be able to survive and pay your studio rent for the next six months. I think it’s about that not knowing, that risk every season…
“It’s all well and good to sit in a library for three months and find inspiring images, but having that conversation with buyers and knowing what sold out, is equally valuable.” – Robyn Lynch
How much time do you still have for research and creative inspiration when you’re running a brand? Compared to your time at university, for example?
I definitely spent a lot more time researching and finding inspiration during my studies than I do now, but then, all that work feeds into the brand I have now. The research I did back then influences what I do now. I can turn around a collection quicker, because I have had the time to do the research in school.
It also comes down to commerciality and what actually sells. It’s all well and good to sit in a library for three months and find inspiring images, but having that conversation with buyers and knowing what sold out, is equally valuable.
“It takes time to build the relationships with the people and factories you want to work with, it takes time for them to trust you. ” – Robyn Lynch
Were there surprises those first seasons – in terms of what sold out and what didn’t?
This is my eighth season, but it honestly feels like my third. In the beginning, you make so many mistakes. Those first seasons counted as collections, but as viable products, there would be a lot of mistakes. My yarn supplier wouldn’t be the quality I wanted, for example. There would be manufacturing mistakes, like not factoring in the cost of grading, or the cost of shipping, so I had to be extremely slim on my markup, and all my profit would be gone. Now, I’m looking at my work as a viable business option and I’m delivering on time and the product is manufactured as I want it to.
It also takes time to build the relationships with the people and factories you want to work with, it takes time for them to trust you. They need to take you seriously in order to adhere to your delivery date.
That’s interesting, this need for authority.
Your reputation is very important too, and you build it up through small gestures. Sharing the Vogue Runway pictures, for example, so the people who made the clothes feel included and excited about the product. Going on location is very important as well. Last year was actually the first time I visited my factory in Romania. I realized how important it is.