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Quirky, Mindful and Sustainable – Southsea D...

A woman leans against a spray-painted wall in a white t-shirt with an anchor motif

Quirky, Mindful and Sustainable – Southsea Designer Launches New Brand

Quirky, mindful and totally sustainable – South coast lifestyle start-up Tabby Firefly has launched a range of striking designs for the world as it is now.

From bold, graphic lightning bolts and a Staycay slogan, to coastal-themed icons and the 70’s inspired Roller Girl, there’s something for everyone in Lou Lea’s bright and playful clothing designs.

Lou, who lives in Southsea, started working on her collection during lockdown as an antidote to the stress of her day job as a marketing manager. “There was no social life or going out so, to relax, I turned my hand to designing wall-art for my own home,” she says.

The end result is a collection of 50 women’s t-shirts and vests, 22 men’s t-shirts plus hoodies, sweatshirts and 45 sharp graphic art prints; from the Good Vibes cassette with a hint of 80’s retro, to the instructional: You are exactly where you need to be.

Picture of a happy tattooed woman wearing a vest top standing by a window
A dark haired woman against a chequered background wears a t-shirt with the slogan Hot Mess

Inspiration for Lou’s designs come from her time spent beside the sea and 90’s music as well as ‘sunshine, wildlife and plants.’

Her clothes and prints are made to order on organic cotton or recycled paper – meaning no waste or energy is consumed by storage or excessive transport – by the innovative Isle of Wight company, Teemill. Clothing can be returned to Tabby Firefly for recycling at the end of its life, cutting down on waste and working towards a more circular economy.

Inspiration for Lou’s designs comes from her time spent beside the sea and 90s music as well as ‘sunshine, wildlife and plants’.

A relaxed man lying on the grass with headphones on, wearing a grey t-shirt with a cassette tape on

“Sustainability was vital to me but what I also liked was the idea of the printer being based on the Isle of Wight, just across the Solent,” says Lou. “I felt that working with them would be a nice affinity for a business located in Southsea.”

Lou is happy to admit: “I’m a former fast fashion person but as I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware of the importance of traceability issues too; who makes my clothes and where do they come from? People buying from Tabby Firefly can be confident that those producing the cotton are given a fair wage and, at the end of their useful life, the clothing can all be recycled once again in the circular economy.”

During lockdown it wasn’t easy to arrange in-person photo shoots, so in keeping with Tabby Firefly’s values, Lou soft-launched on Instagram earlier this year in a bid to find real women and men as natural models, promoting positive body images.

“Among others, I reached out to an over-50’s fashion blogger, an Instagrammer empowering body confidence with a disability, a local musician and a plus-sized body positivity influencer – I really want my collection to represent people with positive stories,” she says.


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