Designer Amy Lautogo at the Pacific Fusion Fashion Show 2019. Image by Raymond Sagapolutele.
Amy Lautogo is the designer and founder of Infamy Apparel which she created after noticing a gap in the market for beautiful, unapologetic clothing for plus size people. Proudly based in Manurewa, South Auckland, Amy showed on the runway at the Pacific Fusion Fashion Show 2019 where her label got noticed for her colourful, sexy designs. Her work has appeared in the likes of Fashion Quarterly and she’s made stunning custom designs for singer Lavina Williams. Amy sees Infamy Apparel as more than just a fashion label with the designer using her voice in support of people of colour and in particular fat activism.
We caught up with Amy to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Our latest collection is titled Summer of the Witch. The background of this is centred in Infamy Apparel’s main principle of Decolonising your Body. This ethos is based around breaking down the lessons taught through the process of colonisation and violent assimilation and prioritising our pre-colonial identities. Trying to pave a way for these identities to flourish.
The clothing and accompanying editorial were a chance to channel our ancestral magic. To reflect upon the popular witch aesthetic and counter it with one that centres fat brown bodies. This collection included mainly sheer maxi skirts and dresses with alot of full volume and blown out proportions. So, it is a very romantic collection but also one that is empowering to the wearer.
What made you become a designer?
I wasn’t satisfied with the options available for fat fashionistas. Growing up strapped for cash, when something important came up I would either make it myself or pay my friends mum to sew up my design. I’ve always been a bit extra and never really saw a place for myself within mainstream fashion. As fat (fast) fashion starts to catch on as a massive industry I do think that there needs to be a space forged for fat folx who like to live that extra life. The longer I am in this industry the more I realise how important it is to be prioritising fat brown bodies. Fashion is political for us. Fat people have been so used to living in the ‘other’ space or the fringes of this industry. I wasn’t always able to articulate these concepts, especially when I first started out but it’s always been my goal to elevate my community who are in the margins.
What inspires you?
I’m motivated primarily by mood and my senses. Whether it is a specific feeling I get from reading a book or a colour palette when I am driving around South Auckland or even a painting. The emotional response I have to this really dictates where a collection is going. This also applies to my closest of friends and family too. The strength and beauty of the fat women in my life is absolute and I am constantly inspired by them and that drives my desire to clothe them the way they deserve.
Outfit by Infamy Apparel.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRA! I like all the bells and whistles and the shiny stuff however it doesn’t tend to influence my design process much. I always start with the mood, the aesthetic and the feel and use that to sketch my craziest silhouette or idea. I’m then able to decant the ideas from there and I have a great team who help rein me in when neccessary.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
I love my Chloe cross body bag in Mustard from Velvet Heartbeat. So worth the investment.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
A statement coat or jacket. This can obviously be to your own taste but I’m living for the Autumn Infamy Apparel sample of our tinsel jacket. It is LIFE! and is such a beautiful thing to wear. Having one insane piece can elevate any look.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Wear what makes you happy. At all times. Regardless of what anyone may say or think. Life is far too short to be worrying about other people.
Outfit by Infamy Apparel.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
SO MANY! Opening the FAT exhibition at Otahuhu based gallery Vunilagi Vou with a solo runway was an amazing experience. I’ll always be crazy proud of FAFSWAG creator Elyssia Wilson-Heti wearing Infamy’s exploded teal coat in Fashion Quarterly. Any time Diva Lavina Williams steps onto a stage in one of my pieces is an absolute joy.
What can’t you live without?
A crazy hair colour.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Jeans – cant do, won’t do. No shade, just not for me.