One to Watch: Kelly Love

Kelly Love - SongBird Coat, Blossoms of the Cherry Blouse & Whisphering Ghost Trousers

The name behind one of the hottest fashion labels on the style barometer, Kelly Love tells of her sartorial journey from early days in Japan to crafting fairy-tale couture and the challenges of running her own label…

MF: What first got you excited about fashion to take you down that career path?
KL: When I lived in Osaka, Japan and worked for a fashion designer. I’d always been quite creative and loved to write more than anything but also loved the aspect of creating something from a concept through to a finished piece. I also worked for a couture house which made me really appreciate how much can go into creating a garment and how many different routes you can take in terms of fabrics, prints and finishings.

MF: What was the first piece of clothing you ever designed?
KL: I designed and made five couture dresses using the concept of the “Mad Hatters Tea Party”. They were very detailed and quirky using fabrics so extortionately priced that I would have never been able to sell them. I still have them now and love them!

MF: How do you go about researching your collections?
KL: I always write some kind of story almost from the point of view of the character who I am designing for. It’s quite loosely based on this, however, as the label is quite commercial and needs to appeal to a wider audience than one particular type of customer. I like to have an element of romanticism to each collection which is often reflected in these words. A lot of the research I do is through fabrics and printing techniques as this is the signature of my label.

MF: Who is the ‘Kelly Love woman’?
KL: She is feminine and elegant but wears the clothes styled in her own way. She likes to wear something to stand out from the crowd but in a subtle rather than obvious way.

MF: What are the concepts that most interest you?
KL: Fabric and printing techniques, as the possibilities are endless!

MF: How does the fashion scene in Australia compare with London?
KL: Neither can be stereotyped so that’s quite a difficult question. There is just so much to both places and so many amazing designers to come out of both the UK and Australia. I think Australian designers are often a little more casual and relaxed but this probably just comes down to our warmer climate and what the customer is looking for.

MF: What have you found is the most challenging aspect of running your own label? What do you hope to achieve in the coming seasons?
KL: The juggling act of it all! There is just so much that goes into it from designing, pattern cutting, production, fabric sourcing, printing, press, sales, accounts, photo-shoots! The list is endless! It’s an amazing job though and I think if you can find something that you love to do, you are luckier than most!

I just hope for the label to grow and be successful!

MF: How would you define your personal style?
KL: I used to be very girly in everything that I wore and now tend to mix in more masculine touches like loafers and boyfriend blazers. I also used to be a lot quirkier but I think you tend to dress a little more timelessly as you get older.

MF: Who in fashion inspires you most?
KL: I tend to be more inspired by things outside of fashion, art, music, movies and places; as well as the people who are close to me. There are a lot of labels I really respect like Charles Anastase, Carven, Aurelio Costarella, Akira Isogawa, Lover and Willow. I’m inspired by anyone who is doing their own thing and making it work.

MF: Any advice to young fashion designers?
KL: To get as much hands-on experience as possible by interning and doing work experience, as most people in fashion are expected to work for free at some point! My advice to anyone starting a label would be to only do it for the love of it, such a small section of owning a label is actual design and it’s a while before you start making money. You have to really want it and not be able to imagine doing anything else.

Click Here to read Kelly’s blog.

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