Laura Hughes is a London-based artist, fashion designer, and photographer who recently completed her final year collection at Central Saint Martin's. Lara discusses her final year project which was inspired by punk and rockabilly subcultures and why she was drawn to the iconic creeper shoe for her runway debut.

First question, tell us about yourself?
Yeah, of course. So, my name is Laura Hughes. I am an artist, fashion designer and photographer who's currently based in London. I grew up in England. I just finished my final year collection at Central Saint Martin’s where I studied fashion design.

What was the inspiration behind your final year project?
My work specifically centres arounds pockets of subcultures that I find really fascinating and was introduced to by my family growing up. So, it's inspired from my background. It all started when my dad took me to a psycho billy gig in December because he was a psycho billy when he was younger. So, it’s a of combination of punk and rockabilly. The energy just really inspired me, it was this kind of explosion of life. They're all doing wrecking dancing and hitting each other ha-ha. I had a fun time so that initially inspired me and then it progressed from thereI wanted to try and capture this through my work, which then led me to banger racing because of the collisions. So, I kind of combined the two. I pulled garment references from the 50s side of rockabilly fashion and then the energy of car racing.
That's amazing. Were you able to reference family photos from your dad?
Yeah, I did completely. Its hilarious, his house has a wall just full of crash helmets that he's painted himself in his garage. It was great to be able to reference and use the things around me.

Why did you feel it was important to collaborate with T.U.K.?
I first became aware of the brand when I was about 12. I think when I was kind of figuring out my identity and at that point in time T.U.K. was very associated, at least in my head, with the Tumblr aesthetic. So, it's kind of been in my life since then. The creeper is such an iconic shoe. It feels as if they are a constant part of fashion, so it became very clear to me that T.U.K. creepers were the perfect shoe to use for my collection.

Why did you decide to customise the shoes at the way you did?
So, throughout my collection I was working with one of my friends who's called Bo Son. He's an artist and he was helping me with the accessories. He and I came up with this idea of using 3D print to create a mould with a tyre track design. We used silicone to repeat it as many times as I wanted and then I attached these to the shoes, so it almost looked like they'd been run over by cars. I experimented with different elements such as fabric made from a knitwear factory specialising in garments finishings. I tied these over the shoes to resemble speed stripes. I also made a leather rosette using some scrap leather I had, and you can just pin it to the laces.

What would you say currently fuels your creativity?
I'm still kind of running off the whole final collection, so all of that's underpinning most of it. Right now, because I've got a lot of free time and leftover stuff from the project, Im just really enjoying making customised little tops and bags from all the scraps. it feels quite sustainable because none of the stuff is going to waste!

Now youve graduated, what advice would you give to other students in the arts?
I would say there's a couple of things. First, most importantly is to have fun with it. I mean taking it seriously is important, but it's like, take it seriously AND have fun. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how big or small, they will guide you to the right path and that's OKDon't beat yourself up about it because there's such a narrative of students being so self-critical to their detriment, and I think it's important to keep that energy to keep the creativity flowing. I also think it's important to remember to step back and look at what you're making in the process. Think about it. Is what you’re creating communicating what you want? Sometimes it's helpful to take a picture, print it out and then look at it, and then you can be like, OK, is this what I want to do? I’ve learnt to always take a step back.

And lastly, maybe the hardest question of them all. Whats your favourite T.U.K shoe?!
I would say mine would be the StratoCreeper. I was just obsessed with them in my collection, I had the classic viva highs but there’s just something about the height of the StratoCreeper that worked so well.

You can keep up with Lara's incredible work through her Instagram @larasugarhughes

September 19, 2023