Meet the maker: Laura Queening
AURA QUE was founded by Laura Queening in 2008 after graduating from London College of Fashion. Each AURA QUE design is brought to life in a Nepalese factory that employs local people, according to fair trade principles. Laura’s design studio is based in Peckham.

What course did you study at UAL?

BA Fashion Product – graduating in 2007

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

Running down Oxford Street, passing all the shoppers, late for a lecture. And my great classmates who are all doing a range of creative jobs around the world.

How did your company come about?

I was interested in a more ‘hands on’ making approach to fashion products. I had been to Nepal before university, so based my final year collection on a leather and knit range and research into fair trade producers in Nepal; which started the beginning of my business ethos.

Left: Two people standing in a mountain range. Right: 5 women and 2 men posing for a photo.

Who or what inspires you?

All the producers I work with in Nepal are incredible people – they are so resilient, kind and hospitable. The Nepal Leprosy Trust I work with employs people who have had leprosy or someone in their family who has, which helps to give them work opportunities. I’ve seen their kids grow up over the last ten years and my favourite part of the season is to visit them for a catch up and a giant plate of Dahl Bhat!

Left: A hand picking up a spool of wool from a loom. Right: A loom making weaving fabric.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

My last trekking adventure, in the Annapurna area of the Himalayas in Nepal.  The landscape is extremely varied as you go up to 5000m and the Himalayan panorama is truly beautiful. I then drew the panorama for a geometric screen print onto cotton products and handmade notebooks. The colour range is based on the bead jewellery colours of the Nepalese women in the mountains – lapis, coral and turquoise.

Left: Kaffe Fassett and Aura Que. Right: Medium and Small bags with bright flower print design.

What purchase have you currently got your eye on?

A flight to Mexico, where I can spend a few weeks exploring textiles and crafts around Oaxaca!

Where is your most inspiring place in London?

I have recently worked on a collaboration range with Kaffe Fassett, who has been making textiles and crafts for over 50 years, based in Northwest London. His home studio is incredibly exciting with archives of pattern, textiles and collectibles from his travels.

Female model wearing wool scarf and wrist warmers

What advice would you give current students hoping to start their own business?

Try everything, learn through work experience in all areas – starting your own business is not just about design. You will have to turn your hand to sourcing, sales, accounts, marketing and so on, so you need motivation and initiative!

What’s next for your brand?

I’ve recently launched a collaboration range with Kaffe Fassett using his textiles with my ethical producer groups, I will be adding more products to the range in the next year. I am also looking at opportunities for a ‘Made in UK’ recycled range, in the very early stages!