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Designer Profile: The 400 Co.

Our stallholders are all full of surprises, many juggling full time jobs with their creative passion. This talented designer is no exception, meet Laura Chong of The 400 Co.

Laura is a full-time Lawyer who found a gap in the market for stylish online corporate women's clothing and went for it.

Tell us about how and when your label was created?

It was in the 2012 Christmas holidays when I sat down and started thinking about the year ahead.  I realised that I needed more to life than being a lawyer and fashion design had always been in my life in one way or another.  Whether it was designing clothing for the weekend during school or making gowns for my University law balls, I had always maintained it in some way or another until I started full time work.

Having a legal background, I realised that I had what it took to create a business model that was not overly present in the market – online corporate women’s clothing with an edge.

It was only 3 short months later, in March 2013, that The 400 Co. website went live.

Since starting up The 400 Co., I am now a big supporter of people who want to push the boundaries and take on more than just the typical work role.  I think it is important for people to realise that their life plan does not always have to follow a single course – you can have more if you want it and have the dedication to pursue it.

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What pieces are included within your range?

We design pieces for the savvy business woman, which include high waisted skirts, dresses that can go from work to weekend in the blink of an eye and silk pants that are oh so comfy!

What is your creative background?

I have been making clothes since I could walk – now design is more my passion.  I don’t have any formal qualifications because I think that understanding structure and the female form is just something that comes naturally.  Plus, I work full time as a lawyer!

Where is the label designed and made?

The label is designed in Australia and made by a few tailors in Vietnam.

What inspires you?

Confident women, who are not afraid to speak up, be themselves and strut their stuff.

Latest collection consists of?

Bold colours, whites and soft silks.

All our pieces are designed to transition from work to play.  We have a smoking hot red party dress that can go from office to event, a reversible floral wrap dress that goes from work to weekend and a white suit jacket that can be mixed up with a pair of dark denim jeans.

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What's on your mood board?

For the next collection, its all about edginess.  We’re looking to experiment with androgyny and the female form.  Our mood board at the moment is very black and white with pops of colour, filled with pics of Katharine Hepburn and Annie Hall.

What’s your creative space like?

Very clear and calm.  It’s undergoing a makeover but it’s going to be all white, which pops of creativity and colour in some pieces.  Like a pink chair!

What music do you listen to while designing/creating?

It varies.  Sometimes I’m in the mood for chilled out tunes – think Rip Tide by Vance Joy.

Other times, I prefer more of the female power vibe like Beyonce Run the World.

A day in the life of you consists of?

Wake up to a breakfast juice prepared by my gorgeous boyfriend.

Off to work as a lawyer 9-5 (though let’s face it, the hours are usually longer).

Home to design, prepare marketing material, new offers/campaigns, organize business finances, send a few emails etc for The 400 Co.

Usually I try to do one fun thing a day just for myself – even if it’s just to grab a cup of tea and sit for 5 mins reading Under 30 CEO (the must read blog for all entrepreneurs).

Favourite TVM stall (besides yours of course)?

I like the lady who sells those funky jars (The Spring Shop) – she is awesome and her idea is very on point at the moment for all those garden parties.

Favourite reads/blogs?

As I mentioned, I love Under 30 CEO but I also follow Cecelia (an awesome Melbourne fashion blogger) and Business Chic.

What are we likely to find you wearing on market day? Any favourite labels?

The 400 Co of course!  But maybe paired with some cute shorts from other local designers or my leather pants (if it’s not too hot!).

What can we expect from the next collection/what are your plans for 2013 and beyond?

To expand The 400 Co into an empire for savvy corporate women who demand quality but know that you don’t have to pay your week’s salary to get it.  We would like to develop our following in Melbourne and Sydney, which is growing.  Maybe one day open up a pop up shop for a while all of our own in the city.

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The 400 Co at TVM

Why TVM?

Love what it stands for – supporting young designers!

What do you love most about attending TVM?

The laid back atmosphere, great fresh juices, tunes and seeing all those talented designers.

Find The 400 Co online, here.

Visit The 400 Co on Facebook, here.

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