Originally written for Kid’s Wear Magazine Vol.49

The German-based label Liilu creates fresh dreamy muslin garments with a strong presence and the softest of touches – timeless, sustainable children’s wear simple and pure. Just as ‘childhood should be’ so says Sibylle.

interview with Sibylle Pal of Liilu
Sibylle Pal, designer and founder Liilu.

An interview with Liilu founder Sibylle Pal about childhood and fashion

What is the first memory you have? There are lots of really nice ones of a simple, pure and happy childhood but I’ll share one which is related to me as a person, and also as a designer. I remember my mother sending me with her sister’s family to a field trip on their motorcycle. I had to sit in the side carriage which I loved, however I had to put on an orange scarf. This made me really angry and sad because I did not like either the colour nor the material. I complained all the way… I took it off even if I felt cold without it.

It’s funny, at a very young age I’ve always known what I wanted and what I didn’t. Orange is still a colour I will never ever like. (Some) things change with time and some don’t.
Knowing exactly what I want and don’t want has been good for me, even through hard times, it’s something that’s been with me since the beginning.

Were you good at sharing? Are you good at sharing now? To be honest I don’t remember because I was a single child. Maybe I never had a conflict with this theme in childhood. I like to share and to be in the company of others. Sharing food for example on a big table with family and friends. I love good food even if I don’t like to cook. Watching the sunset is a moment I like to share. I love to explore things with others and not alone. I always want to share my feelings, my fears, my beliefs, spreading the word can be so healing. It’s what it’s all about… we are all connected to each other.

I am, however really bad on sharing sushi!!! My husband always orders better food so he needs to share with me but never the other way around. Does this sounds familiar? ;-)

Liilu muslin clothing

Did you have a favourite piece of clothing? It was a pink overall …with lots of functional zippers. The overall had the option of changing to short arms or short legs, or it could be worn as a jacket by unzipping the upper part… a true 80’s relict!

For the modern day… I like it simple and easy, a dress for girls and an overall for boys, ready in minutes and no need to fuss.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a designer? I studied economics. I’ve always worked in the adult fashion industry but not as a designer. Only after being at home with my children the passion for designing was born. I never found what I wanted or what was in my mind. So, I bought tops which were some sizes bigger, then dressed my daughter with it as a dress. It’s how I created an oversized dress without having my own brand at that time.

To create my very first Liilu piece. I cut a white bed sheet without any pattern, then sewed it together with my mother in law. The garment satisfied all my goals. The child can grow in the piece, then wear it later as a blouse. Plenty of room and flexibility in the garment allowing the child to do as they want without restriction.

How did you dress as a child? I was born in Romania, we had to wear uniforms at school, which to be honest I liked a lot. I remember my little kindergarten uniform the white/ blue vichy dress and the dark blue apron with a little red scarf.

I like the nostalgia of uniform, our kids go to an international school because we moved to Portugal and they too wear a uniform. I find it relaxing because you don’t have to discuss everyday clothing.

Sibylle Pal childhood pure and simple

In these technologically driven times, how do we keep childhood pure and simple? We did it for our kids by creating a second home away from Germany. We embarked on an experience and moved to the countryside of Portugal near to the beach. This is the best we could do for them to get them more connected with nature which is so important nowadays. Being all day outside, playing with plants or sticks, climbing in the trees, searching for shells or burying their feet in the warm sand. Less is so much more…. I already experienced this in my own childhood.

Liilu uses muslin as the base material to the collection, explain why this is such a great fabric for you? We started with this fabric because I loved the fact that not many brands worked with Muslin at the time, it was something ‘new’. We always use our own muslin in basic colours which changes every season to more summery or wintery colours. Next season we will also have a flower print and a vichy (pattern) on board.

I love the fact that muslin is so simple and pure and on the other hand very soft and cosy. It provides a feeling of lightness, a soft touch on your skin. It’s very important for kid’s clothes to feel as comfortable as possible. We also created a scent to hit all senses.

If you could simplify one process in children’s fashion what would it be? Yes, we have to go one step back…make more that lasts longer out of natural fibres and that kids can grow into and pass over to next generations.

More basic and timeless products which are sustainable and not fast, cheap fashion.
Also, launching the collection later to sell right in the season will help against the big sale campaigns….I don’t want to buy bikinis in winter and ski overalls in summer.

What inspires you? I’m inspired by images of my everyday life now here in Portugal. All is so simple and pure over here. The colours of nature are just beautiful and change every day and they give me so much calmness and peace.

Another big inspiration is my childhood and my memories which are a big part of it. Also, all my travels abroad are big pictures in my mind and inspire me a lot.
Some weeks ago I finished the SS20 collection which is for example completely inspired by the colours of the painter, photographer and mum Stella Maria Baer. Her beautiful work was the mood board for my work.

Can we learn from our own children? Oh yes we can learn a lot. They know so much better than we do. We forgot about this inner knowing, intuition, instincts. To be happy and carefree, to live life fully, to love unconditionally and to give with an open heart, to forgive and always speak your truth.

To use more of your imagination and to believe in yourself, dream big and do not worry too much about tomorrow!!!

Finally amongst all your favourite treasures, keepsakes and possessions if you could only keep one what would it be, and why? It would be a picture of me when I was a child. As it always reminds me about my inner child, to be as I always wanted to be; independent, open-minded and free as a bird.

liilu muslin garments

liilu muslin clothes

liilu muslin garments for children

liilu SS220 collection


Editors Notes: My interview with wonderful designer Sibylle Pal is originally for Kid’s wear magazine print Vol.49 available now.

The Liilu AW/FW19 collection is available from September.