Lydia Bolton: Tracksuit Queen

Image: Lydia Bolton
Lydia Bolton
Image: Lydia Bolton

Meet Lydia Bolton, the fun loving 22 year old designer who just can’t get enough of tracksuits. Raised in Cheltenham, an idyllic wee town just two hours from London, where a pug called Lulu rules the household, Lydia made the move to London to study fashion at Kingston four years ago. Having found her groove as a designer over the last year, Lydia has spent months immersed in the world of velour putting together the most incredible collection that is truly representative of her – think bows, bling and sweetheart pastels.

Exploding with endorphins after Graduate Fashion Week and dressed in her favourite Umbro track pants with poppers down the side and trainers, Lydia chats to us about her graduate collection ‘The Girl Who Wore Tracksuit To Prom’. A collection inspired by her love of tracksuits and a curiosity to see just how far she could push the athleisure trend that is taking over the world.  And how far can you go? Lydia’s answer is tracksuits that take you all the way to the last slow dance of the school prom.

The Fashion Conversation: What inspired the collection ‘The Girl Who Wore Tracksuit To Prom’? What does your design process involve? How do you create all the magical shapes and puffs?
Lydia Bolton: My collection was inspired by the fact I love tracksuits and wearing tracksuits, and I wanted to see how fun and far away from sportswear tracksuits could be pushed. Like how far they could be turned into something not worn for sport, but worn for parties, and things like that. The initial idea and concept came to me quite quickly, and then I just started playing around on stand work. I always start my design process with stand work. I already had tracksuits, and I bought some prom dresses from eBay and combined them on the stand together to see what they would look like, playing around with high collars, long sleeves, with a puff here and a bow there – that sort of thing. Stand work is a way I get loads of instant visuals and lots of ideas, and you can test pushing shape and silhouette and create more exciting things. I design from the stand work, then make toiles and for ‘The Girl Who Wore Tracksuit to Prom’ I added all the really sporty details at the end. A tracksuit is a tracksuit because of the inherent details – the embroidered panels down the side of the legs and zippers with my logo.

Lydia Bolton
Image: Lydia Bolton

TFC: What has been the most important thing you have learned during your time at Kingston?
LB: Kingston has been great and really fun. The most important thing I have learned is what my aesthetic is. During my first and second year I wasn’t 100% sure what my aesthetic was, I’m not sure whether I was trying to do things that weren’t necessarily me, but this year I focused only on doing things I really like – making things really fun and playing around with tracksuits. I’ve stayed true to my design aesthetic and haven’t really thought about trends or what other people like. I think the most exciting you can give is what you are because no one else can give that. Luckily, everything kind of came together just in time for my graduate collection.

TFC: What are your plans for the future?
LB: Working in fashion hopefully! I want to work somewhere fun. I think there is more room in fashion for more fun things, fashion sometimes gets a bit serious. You need lots of fun, if you’re doing something with all of your time you need to enjoy it. Ideally, I would love to launch my own label one day but that will be in the future-future.

TFC: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
LB: The panic that there are things to do. And wanting each day to be great, I really love doing what I am doing and I want to be the best I can be.