Lou Harvey – South Africa’s original “material girl”

Bringing the outdoors in and the introverted out with Lou Harvey.

South Africa’s much-loved material girl Lou Harvey has just unveiled her new collection of designs and, if possible, they are more beguiling and vibrant than ever! From modern, multi-striped options and a range of classic vintage florals to her personal favourite, the “Leopard Rosa”—a seamless marriage of rose motifs and leopard print—Lou Harvey’s designs are an exuberant homage to nature’s brave and bold colour palette.

Bags, towels, scatter cushions, aprons, cosmetic bags, and tennis racquet covers… if it’s made from material, you’ll probably discover it reimagined in Lou Harvey’s online store. Now, with her latest offering, she brings the delicious audacity of Mother Nature into the home with her collection of wallpapers, much to the delight of design enthusiasts, fashionistas, and lovers of all things bright and beautiful.

Lou Harvey

Drawing inspiration from life’s greatest muse.

“I’m inspired by authenticity and people who show genuine kindness. And of course, my children, I learn from them every day.”

Browsing through Lou Harvey’s collections, it’s not hard to see from where the Durban-born entrepreneur and fashion designer draws her inspiration. It’s life’s greatest muse: nature (and her children)! Since Mother Nature is anything but shy with her colour palette, Lou’s delightfully ostentatious designs follow suit, celebrating botanicals, floral prints, and motifs that evoke the natural world around us, particularly the Cape’s indigenous flora. She is also inspired by the architecture and landscapes of exotic destinations like Morocco.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Unsurprisingly, Lou’s popular material ranges were born of a simple desire to fulfil her own need for valiantly vibrant interior and fashion design. This desire arose after the birth of her first daughter, Izzy, when she noticed with dismay the sore lack of fashionable, yet practical mummy-friendly accessories.

And so, with an education in design, experience designing cushions for Wetherlys and Home Fabrics, and an entrepreneurial venture into a bag-making business under her belt, Lou decided to design her own fabrics and make her own accessories, placing fun and playfulness as a priority, but with a practical edge.

From national to international escapades.

“I loved spending time in Tokyo: it’s an incredibly sophisticated city. I loved exploring, and, of course, it’s a great place to shop.”

Pretty quickly, Lou garnered an audience of people of all ages, both old and young, who were hungry for her extravagant style of bags (handbags, laptop, cosmetic, cooler, beach, overnight, yoga, school lunches, nappy bags, etc.) and other lifestyle and interior design elements. Sixteen years later, Lou Harvey’s burgeoning brand has smashed out victory after victory.

From her first store in Durban, which was followed by more stores in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Johannesburg, Lou’s distribution now extends as far afield as Australia, China, Israel, Mexico, and the United States: a market that accounts for almost half of all her sales.

Lou Harvey

Walls dressed to thrill.

In spite of her success thus far and an online business that is ramping up in today’s pandemic-stricken world, Lou Harvey isn’t resting on her laurels. Most recently, she has added a range of wallpapers to her offering, which incorporates 12 different designs featuring a blend of bold botanicals, floras, natural elements, and geometry.

“I have always had a passion for interior design,” says Harvey, whose formal education was in fashion and interior design. And now, her passion is realised with wallpapers that breathe exuberant life into spaces that lack personality, identity, and joie de vivre.

Lou Harvey

Beautifully untethered.

It takes a mind completely and beautifully untethered to boring convention to cook up the delightfully flamboyant designs that are ubiquitous to Lou Harvey’s collections. To explore her gorgeous range of bags and other accessories, go to www.louharvey.co.za.