Kirsty Ward AW15 by Sangita Kumari.
It’s been awhile since I last caught up properly with Kirsty Ward, but when I was reminded of her particularly unique aesthetic at the London Fashion Week stands this season (covered here) I decided that it high time that I find out more about her steadily growing fashion and accessories label.
I can’t believe you are onto your 10th collection: what have been the highlights of five years in the fashion business?
I can’t believe it either! Highlights for me include: actually making a business from doing what I love, being selected by Selfridges for their ‘Bright Young Things‘ where I was given a window on Oxford street for a month and my collection was sold in store, being selected by Vogue Italia talents where I got to show my collection to Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes, and also the continued support from collaborators, stockists and press.
Your jewellery designs continue to innovate: how do you come across new ideas and what is the process of tinkering with them until you have a final piece of jewellery to wear?
The jewellery is a natural process that evolves each season, depending on what materials we have found and want to use. My 3D design process often ends up with segments all over the place and being placed together like a jigsaw puzzle. The easier pieces are always informed by the more statement pieces.
How easy or hard is it to translate your designs into something that can be commercially made? What have been the pitfalls and barriers you have had to contend with over the years?
I have by natural process made my pieces more wearable since we first started, it’s something that had to be done to make sales each season. But I still work with the larger more fun pieces that satisfy my aesthetic but this then leads on to the more wearable pieces. It’s really hard to keep the pieces competitive as all our pieces are made in the UK, especially with all our jewellery being handmade in our studio.
Your jewellery has always been an integral part of your whole fashion collection, and has now crept onto accessories such as hats and bags: what design considerations do you need to make when designing these with embellishments – in particular when it comes to your Williams Handmade collection?
With Williams handmade we work on the colours and shapes together, when they are delivered to the studio we then embellish them with techniques that complement the jewellery.
What is it about the sporty aesthetic that continues to fascinate and inspire your fashion designs?
I’m kind of obsessed by bias binding and certain sports technical fabrics. This naturally leads to a sporty aesthetic, especially with the construction and finishings.
Where did you find inspiration for the AW15 colour palette of your collection?
It’s often from what I’m most excited about working with, and what seems fresh to me each season, plus I’ve never really used red and pink together before so I was getting slightly obsessed with using them.
You recently discovered a few rip offs in the far east – what is your attitude to tackling such blatant copying of your designs?
It is rather annoying, but the jewellery and bags that we saw were very bad copies that we couldn’t really do anything about, they were so badly made it was almost amusing.
You share your studio and house with your partner and fellow fashion designer David Longshaw: how do you make it practical and retain the space to enjoy life outside work?
To be honest we do work a lot of the time, but we do actually enjoy it. But when there is spare time we make sure to visit as many galleries, exhibitions, interesting places as possible. But sometimes when we need to get away from work we will go on a massive random walk around London to realign.
Are you working on any new ideas or products this year, and if so can you share anything with us?
I’m currently working on an exciting project with Italian Vogue and San Pellegrino, they are pairing designers up with chefs and we design something that complements their food. I’m paired with an Irish chef and we are representing the UK and Ireland at the Expo in Milan this June.
All look book images by Alexander Jordan.
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