Ten Questions with Gemma Shiel of Lazy Oaf

There is no doubt that if you purchase a piece of Lazy Oaf clothing, it will soon become one of the most memorable items hanging in your wardrobe. Founded in 2001, the brand began as a market stall in East London – a decade on and Lazy Oaf has over 150 stockists around the world, plus a London shop. Products range from hot-dog print scarves to cropped Watermelon print T-shirts; golden tooth pendant necklaces to polka dot creepers. If you don’t already own something from here, now is the time to make sure you do. We threw ten questions at Gemma Shiel, founder and designer of the brand. Here is what she said…

Smiling hamburgers and magenta-coloured leopards are just some of the characters to feature in Lazy Oaf items. What sorts of things inspire your designs?

Fast food, chats at bus stops and the good old days of WWF. I use a lot of childhood nostalgia. I grew up in the 80s/early 90s.

How would you describe Lazy Oaf in three words only?
Graphic, witty, pop.

Do you have a favourite ever Lazy Oaf design?

This changes day to day. At the moment it’s a cheeseburger locket, not released yet!

Lazy Oaf was born in East London. What is your favourite thing about the city?

I love the creativity of London and being able to while away an afternoon sketching in the British Museum. London also gave me the chance to start my business from a market stall.       

A little bird tells us that you began by screen-printing t-shirts. Do you ever make screen-prints anymore?

No, I really miss it! I need to find some space and time to get back into it. I loved getting messy.

When you were little, what television programmes did you watch?

I watched Byker Grove, Spatz, Why Don’t You?, The A-Team and a lot of Stars In Their Eyes.

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

I admire a lot of people’s work; Quentin Blake was my very first favourite.

Felt-tips or paint?

Felt tips for outline, paint for the filler.

Glitter-glue or sequins?
Errr… sequins.

What can we look forward to next from Lazy Oaf?

If you can keep a secret! I’m working on a sock project and maybe some more shoes!

How do you take your tea?

Milk with 1 and a half sugars, not too weak and piping hot!

Order Lazy Oaf online, or visit the Lazy Oaf store at 19 Fouberts Place in Soho, London.