Apr 16, 2021
Creativity is the life force of originality. It’s also the source of inspiration behind the SS21 Barbour International Women’s collection. That’s why, to celebrate the collection, we got to know two incredible artists, designer Lois O’Hara and singer-songwriter Kara Marni, to share their experiences and offer their advice for nurturing original creativity.
How did music first enter your life in a way that you connected with it?
Kara: My dad’s got an amazing music collection and always had great music taste. My taste has definitely been influenced by growing up in a household where the great soul artists were played. Roberta Flack, Diana Ross, Minnie and Sade, and more, as well as Amy and Lauryn Hill — all their voices and songs resonate with me in different ways at different times.
When did you realise you wanted to make music?
Kara: From as early as I can remember I have always loved singing and music, and through that I knew it would take an important role in my life. There was, and is, nothing else I want to do.
What inspired you to get into design?
Lois: I grew passion and inspiration when I started to realise how many grey public spaces there were. I questioned why this was, as I see colour as such a powerful mood enhancer.
How did you discover your niche?
Lois: When I first began creating art, I was heavily into screen printing. Slowly my style started to evolve when I figured how to work at a larger scale. I realised that there were a lot of murals out there, but a lot of them consisted of straight lines and there wasn’t much focus on pattern work or curves.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Lois: I’m inspired by nature, particularly sunsets and the sea. I’m also inspired by musicians such as Drake and Tory Lanez, as they write and rap about their success and overcoming challenges. I have lots of motivation as I compete with myself.
Kara: I’m inspired by what life brings to me in pain and in happiness. Simply living!
What is your creative process?
Kara: Usually, I would start with a concept. It happens differently every time though. Sometimes I have a lyric that I've overheard in a conversation that I think is interesting, or I come up with a melody that we build chords and production around. It all depends on how I feel, which for me is super important to the creative process. The music always sounds the best when you’re your most authentic self.
Lois: When I start a project, it is important that I work organically and play around with the shapes and colour rather loosely. I then start refining the details and that’s when it all comes together. When I paint a wall, I don’t like to use tape or be confined to straight lines.
How do you keep creativity going?
Lois: I often have to go on a long walk or drive, spending some time away from my laptop. I usually get inspiration during the night so I will sometimes work late.
Kara: When I am inspired, I always write down my ideas — whether that be a lyric, a word, or a melody — so if one day I’m feeling slightly less inspired, I can remind myself and develop them.
Talk us through your styling of the new Barbour International Women’s collection.
Kara: I paired my white Durant jeans with the Roll Cage Overlayer jumper along with red lips and gold hoops to bring out the gold detail in the top, along with a pair of the Bianca black leather trainers.
Lois: I chose the light pink Pace Overlayer sweatshirt as pink is a prominent colour in my work. I love trainers and have quite a large collection, so I’m really happy to add these white Bianca Barbour International ones to it.
What do you love most about the new collection?
Lois: The overall fit of the clothes is really nice, and I love the way you can dress this collection up or down. I like to wear quite a lot of black generally as I have a lot of different colour palettes in my head, and it can get confusing. I also love the texture of the Victory Casual Jacket.
Kara: The quality, comfort and how I can dress this look up or down. I especially love the Pace Jacket. Barbour International jackets are always such a statement for me.
What does originality mean to you?
Kara: Trying to stay true to who I am in all aspects of my life. Of course, I find inspiration in other areas, but I channel that and let it come out through my eyes and what feels right for me.
Lois: Being yourself and not copying anyone else but also having the confidence to do so.
How do you try to nurture originality in your work, life and style?
Kara: Being authentically me. To think independently and creatively.
Lois: I never really look at what other people are doing, I focus solely on what I want my work to say or do. I’m very certain on where I want to take my work and every project that comes my way is just a stepping stone for me to get to that next level. The music I listen to and the clothes I wear both play a big part in my creativity and vision.
What advice would you give to a budding creative, who is struggling to take that next step into doing what they love?
Lois: I would tell them to not listen to others when they say, “the art world is too competitive”, as I was told that all the time, but I didn’t let it stop me.
Kara: Feel the fear and do it anyway! Sometimes the hardest thing is taking a leap of faith, but you just have to believe in yourself, no one is going to do that for you.