Wednesday, 17 July 2013

In Moda Fashion Showcase - Kitty Ferreira

During Graduate fashion week, I also had the privilege of attending the In Moda Showcase which is an event that exists to provide a platform for upcoming designers to showcase their new designs. It's their second 'season' and I had an excellent time, I came late, but just in time to engage with the preview of the new and up-coming brand, Kitty Ferreira. Check out the interview I conducted with the head Designer, Valerie Goode !

Who is Kitty Ferreira ?

 Kitty Ferreira is a carbon neutral boutique womenswear brand with the added benefit of being sustainably sourced and produced in the UK. Each piece made from our hand dyed silks varies slightly from one another giving a real exclusive, individual feel. The name comes from my late grandmother, so it's also fitting that it's a brand about values, an antithesis to frivolous throw away fashion.

What does being ethical mean to you?

 I grew up in a household of 'make and make-do'. Up-cycling is a natural part of my heritage, whether it's my mother re-using fabrics in the home to make a new dress or a new pair of curtains, or walking down the street in my mother's home country and literally being able to have your breakfast as you walk, picking( organic) fruit off the trees. Being ethical in a fashion term, is therefore about making a more conscious decision on where and how you shop. I like to think fashion can transcend an era, style and tell a story about values. 

I have the utmost respect for my elders (sometimes they make better conversationalists too!). I like to think Kitty Ferreira can be worn by the 20 and 60 yr old just as well. It's a brand for women only. We're working on telling women's stories from women's perspectives, and not as we've seen in the media, from a man's ideal. What a woman feels to be sexy is actually quite different to the male perspective. But more importantly than all of this is the message I'd like to convey is that, "you're perfectly fine as you are". I come from a household of self confidence- happiness from within. When L'Oreal says, "because you're worth it", actually what they're saying is, if you look like me, only then you are worth it. We're addressing the so called 'aspirational' (unattainable/ unrealistic)  images geared at women ... Kitty Ferreira is not an aspirational brand, but one based on values.
Why do you feel that it is good to support sustainable independent designers like yourself? What makes you different from the mainstream companies? 

I think we're generally quite tired of these so called aspirational images. Abercrombie & Fitch is the perfect example of our nemesis of this day. Diametrically opposing Kitty Ferreira's ethos. When you're young, new and small, like we are, you can do things differently. I hope that it will just be an organic process that others see and understand what we stand for and support us as a result. Plus, producing in London and the UK and being carbon neutral is very important to us.

Where in the world are the fabrics made?

 We only source in the UK.  Upcycled fabrics are also bought here. We would never think of making a new fabric from a mill as a lot of other designers do, as we believe there are enough fabrics out there already.
 When did you decide to become not just a designer, but and ethical designer?

I was living in Guangzhou, China, the manufacturing hub of the world, working as a designer. Whilst there are great traditional values, such as the elderly are much respected and culturally they seem to have a healthy mindset toward prosperity, there was this other side I witnessed and generally fuelled by the West's need to produce everything as cheap as possible. It really divides the country. The 'new money' drives around in the latest car, the traffic and pollution is horrendous; the vanity is a bit unpalatable - pale skin is a sign of beauty it seems. I left there thinking it's not a place for me to manufacture. I wanted to keep manufacturing in the UK, whist intertwining the traditional values I also witnessed.
How important is heritage in your designs?

 Very important. My parental heritage gives a real perspective on ethics and upcycling. Being a born and bred Londoner, a city girl, it's important to go back to your roots, as it were, in order to define and solve sustainable issues. You'll find that your parents and their parents were practising it long before it became a fashionable term. I remember my uncle incredulous at the price of the pomegranate when they became the fashionable fruit- he used to play cricket with it in his home country!  There's British style and then there is London style- I hope to bring that London look to my pieces. Currently the pieces are quite classic but easy to wear, to infuse into your existing wardrobe. I'm looking forward to injecting more edgier pieces as we go along.

Briefly describe your creation process

 I'm inspired by nature, movies, music, but more-so  by people, hence the values brought into the brand's ethos. I'll research, create mood boards, design specs; our sampling team is very good at turning 2d sketches into 3d samples. 

Did I mention that the Valerie has used pomegranate and onion skins to make these? I bet you'd think more about throwing those red onion skins away next time your chopping up your seasoning !

Valerie will be launching the full SS14 collection this September and the SS shows, you keep your eyes peeled, and follow the twitter , facebook and blogsite. I like the idea of ethical and sustainable, I had come across the topic and find that most people my age are not too keen on the idea, simply because of the expenses compared to the quick and accessible fast fashion stores from the high street. 

BUT! If you had the money, would you engage in this mindset? Or do we simply live in a world where we care more about our look than the damaged look on planet earth? What are your thoughts?

 I absolutely loved the collection and would definitely invest in this brand, it's something which I have not seen before ! ethical and sustainable brands have come my way, but not like this ! This won't be the last time I feature KF on Miss Olivia-Zara !  



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