TPM: What’s been going on since we last caught up with you guys?
Luke & Mandy: Well, it’s been quite a crazy time. We found out we were pregnant about a year ago now, which we always knew was going to alter the direction of our creative journey. We were always prepared for the change, as much as you could be. The main thing that had to change was our big fashion shoots. Of course it isn’t safe enough to travel a lot and go to abandoned places, up heights etc. whilst pregnant. the last proper fashion shoot we did was just after we found out we were pregnant and was in Italy, but it didn’t exactly go to plan. Unfortunately we had all of our stuff stolen, including everyone’s camera gear. This happened on the first night so obviously it completely ruined our trip. We improvised massively as there was one camera left, but we didn’t get to do what we wanted to do at all, so it’s been a year since we shot something couture or in an abandoned location. Creatively though, the pregnancy was a good time for us. We took a step back and created more simple portraiture which is the area of our work that I love most. We also took time two to plan our next moves with our brand. We released our first book ‘2.5’ which is a collection of our favorite imagery from the first two and a half years of shooting together. We are really happy with the success of it so far and it’s currently in select stores throughout the UK. It has been our plan from day one to release a book every two and a half years. The other exciting thing we have been planning is our couture collection. I say collection, but it’s more going to be releasing one-off garments as and when we feel appropriate. We are so excited to release our photoshoot images of our first garment with Trend Prive. We wanted to use a platform that was personal to us and it felt right as we have had a relationship with trend Prive from day one. At the time of writing, our baby boy, Milo Rane is 11 weeks old. Healthy, happy and has been a complete joy to our lives so far. I find parenthood so much easier than pregnancy! So yeah, there’s been some crazy things happening in the Luke and Mandy universe and we are more excited than ever about our future in every aspect of our lives.
TPM: What inspired you to release couture garments?
Luke & Mandy: One of the things that attracted Luke to fashion photography was big couture garments. He loved that you could do so much with them due to their size and extravagance. After starting our Luke and Mandy brand and building confidence in more and more areas of our art, we both realized that we could turn our hand to designing. To be completely honest some of the garments we have shot over the years look great in photographs, but were actually put together quite badly in reality. We know that in time, with experience we can produce some incredible pieces. Of course it makes it extra special when shooting hour images if we have designed the garments and they are our own. We are also very lucky to have a good team with us that handle the production side of the pieces.
TPM: Who does the designing? You, Luke or both?
Luke & Mandy: It’s both of us. What we have done so far, so we don’t get a mixed vision, is we have taken it in turns to design a piece each. So we will always talk about everything with each other, but I
designed the first dress, Luke has designed the second one which has just been finished, I’m now working on the 3rd and then Luke will work on the 4th. We would never have a garment made that the other person didn’t like, but we honestly prefer our own dresses. We respect that although we share the same vision for our brand overall, we are both still individuals and have individual taste. Another thing that inspired us to create and release couture garments is because we want the Luke and Mandy brand to be a strong as possible in every way and this ads a completely new element to what we do and what we’re known for. It separates us further apart from other creative teams.
TPM: What’s the long term plan with the couture side of the Luke & Mandy brand?
Luke & Mandy: At this stage we are just letting everything evolve naturally without deciding on a definitive plan. One thing we have learnt is to let the brand evolve rather than trying to force momentum in a certain direction. Once we have designed a good number of garments we intend to showcase them, in a way that we will keep secret for now, but it’s very exciting. We also want to make it clear that we’re inviting stylists to be able to use our pieces in fashion shoots with other creatives. It’s exciting for us to see what other people choose to do with our creations.
TPM: Is it just couture you are venturing into or do you plan on selling other fashion items?
Luke & Mandy: We always have loads of ideas up our sleeve, but we try to focus on one thing at a time as much as possible. Once we feel like the couture side of things gets to a certain stage, there are definitely other areas that we are looking into and keen to work on, but you’ll have to wait and see!
TPM: How do you plan on integrating the couture into your Luke & Mandy brand?
Luke & Mandy: At the moment people see us primarily as a photographer and model team, so we’re still working on getting people to understand that the whole creative process is done mostly just by us on a 50/50 basis. Sometimes I will come up with the concept and sometimes I’ll edit the images, sometimes the concept is Luke’s and he edits the images, but it’s all 50/50, intertwined between the both of our minds. Now we have to get people to see that we are designers too. It’s all just a process, but I believe that as time goes on and the journey unfolds it will only become clearer. We are just one entity. It’s our own creative ecosystem!