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Catching up with Ali the Loaf in her home studio.

We were lucky enough to catch up with photographer, designer and stylist Ali the Loaf from her home studio in Nottingham where we spoke Tokyo Fashion, Noel Fielding and advice for fellow creatives.

Hey Ali the Loaf! Start us off, what’s your name and what brought you to Nottingham?

I am Ali Eatough, otherwise known as Ali the Loaf! I’m 23 years old and I’m a designer, stylist and photographer from Nottingham. I grew up way out in the countryside nearer Lincoln but moved to the city for university 5 years ago now. I have stuck around since graduating because I think Nottingham has a really wonderful creative scene for art/music/fashion especially for up-and-coming creatives, there’s such a nice buzz here!

We love your nickname, where did you get it?

The name ‘Ali the Loaf’ actually came from somewhere a little odd, I met my best friend at university and in the art building there was a wee cafe. We went for lunch one day and there was a cake for sale called a ‘Love Loaf’ and I turned to her and said ‘you’re my love loaf’ and so from then on we called each other that as a little nickname! When I came to start this business I was stuck for a name and she jokingly said ‘call it love loaf’, I didn’t want to call it that because that’s so special to us as best friends but I just LOVE the word loaf, so Ali the loaf was born! That’s so cute, I can’t cope. Where did your love for creating start? Are you self-taught?

My love for creating is rooted soo deep in my personal make up! I was always the weird artsy kid; I just never grew out of it! I was told a lot growing up that it was a waste of time to pursue but I wasn’t happy unless I was creating.

I ended up swapping uni course last minute from architecture to fine art and that was the best thing I have ever done, to trust myself! You’re encouraged to study contemporary art more than anything else on that that particular course so I focused more on photography but all of my research was heavy with fashion references and soft sculpture too.

It wasn’t until after university that I really took up sewing and physically creating clothing so that side of it all is definitely self-taught! I learnt a lot about my own aesthetic and grew so much as an artist on that course, it’s just a little different how I’ve chosen to channel it since leaving uni.

I have to say, your work rules soo hard. When you’re channeling your creativity, what does that mean to you?

Working on a project for me is electric! If I have an idea in mind I can’t sleep, I can’t do anything else but work on whatever I have planned. It’s definitely a blessing and a curse because I find it so hard to switch off sometimes but that excitement and determination is unrivalled! Some days I work 7am-midnight and it sounds crazy but it doesn’t even feel like work!

Could you tell us about your studio and and how you work in your space?

My current studio is in my home, I’ve recently moved here and made sure I had a nice big room for my work! It’s definitely bright and colourful for sure, with just the right amount of weird! I’m wanting to paint the walls soon for the ultimate experience but I haven’t decided a colour yet! I love to surround myself with work from other artists that inspire me, I have so many frames on my walls and prints stuck everywhere! I also have a tonne of books so if I’m having a slow day, I can top up my reference brain and have a flick through them.

I definitely needed a decent space for cutting out all my patterns and the amount of fabric I own ahhhh! I have to work in a tidy space! Before I start anything, I make sure everything is where it needs to be so I can start from scratch and of course I drink a cup of tea before starting ANYTHING. During my work I like background noise so either a programme I’ve seen 4657 times (Brooklyn 99/Drag Race/Louis Theroux) or of course music! I also make sure my day so split up with different jobs so I never get bored/frustrated at something I need to do!

You talk about surrounding yourself with inspirational work, what inspires you?

I have SO many inspirations I don’t even know where to start. My work definitely goes beyond just making clothes, the idea of all my pieces being unique and one of a kind is so important to me because it’s the idea of creating wearable art and I just love that. This means I draw inspiration from everywhere, everything in daily life inspires me to some degree, textures and colours I see all the time I store away for using at some point! I HAVE to make sure my work is at least a little rad too, whether this be with some kind of weapon drawn or stitched into it, or some devil horns somewhere! In terms of fashion, I love Fruits magazine, Tokyo fashion, alternative/gothic wear, mall goth type fashion, the 90s, anything low rise and ANYTHING PINK.

When you’re not creating, what do you get up to?

I’ll be honest I don’t have much free time, everything I love doing is Ali the Loaf! But when I’m trying to give myself a break, I still love to pursue contemporary photography, I want to eventually marry this with making clothing. I play a lot of animal crossing too of COURSE, and try to bake cakes but I’ll be honest I’m not very good!

I work at a vegan cafe @feedmefullyloaded in Nottingham once a week. The owners are INCREDIBLE and really love what they do, Jo also has a Disney themed vegan treats business and the amount of love and hard work she puts into that is incredible! It’s such a lovely environment to work in around the best food and with the loveliest people. During UK lockdown it’s been so nice to have somewhere to get out the house!

Where would you like to see Ali the Loaf go in the future?

Ahh, the future of Ali the Loaf! My main goal currently is improving my sewing/tailoring skills so that I can hand sew everything I sell and create my own patterns and designs with more ease. I’d love to see Ali the Loaf as an entire clothing brand with a huge range of pieces AND sizes! My current mission is denim miniskirts.

My two BIGGEST wishes for one day are working with my favourite brand ever, Lazy Oaf, and for Noel Fielding to own one of my pieces because, why not?

Thanks for sharing your journey with us, do you have any advice that may help someone looking to start a business?

My advice is, just don’t give up, it doesn’t always go your way and it’s tough, but if you really want it, it’s so rewarding and can be the most fun! Start small and don’t get too disheartened if sales are slow, every piece of art has its home somewhere! You yourself have to believe in yourself and your brand to convince other people to, just go for it!

Share some local recommendations with us would you? Do you have any fave indie spots in Nottingham?

Fave places in Notts, gosh that’s hard while we’re in lockdown! I’ve recently tried 13th element vegan takeaway and it was to die for! Big love to the V spot in Sherwood, Feed Me in Beeston and any charity shop ever.

You can find Ali's cool treasures on her website

and on instagram @alitheloaf

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