British fashion and textile designer Kitty Joseph experiments with the emotional and psychological concepts of layering colour through pixelated prints with her latest collection.
We sit down with Kitty and get an insight on the challenges of starting out, having her collection within Parisian retail space Colette and being friends with Zandra Rhodes.
Describe the Kitty Joseph brand in 5 words:
Immersive, colour, positivity, energy, clarity.
Your AW16 collection is all about colour mixing – were there any particular places or subjects of interest that you drew inspiration from?
Often I have a narrative behind collections, but this season was more just about colour play. Colour was the subject as opposed to colour from a ‘subject’. The vehicle for these explorations were basic motifs, checks, pixels, grids and stripes all overlapping with interchanging rhythms and arrangements of colour, hue, shade and tone. The palettes grew and evolved through this process of building and layering, almost like playing with multicoloured lego or building blocks! I really enjoyed the freedom of this really simple starting point.
Which are your favourite pieces from your AW16 collection?
I love the collaboration jumpers I did with Unmade Studio and how the size of the knitted stitches simplified my colour gradients, creating a pixelated effect. That led to the development of pixelated prints in other parts of the collection. Technical limitations can be so inspiring sometimes.
See the Colour Field collaboration jumpers here.
What kind of impact do you hope to achieve through your designs?
I want to bring really unique combinations of life affirming colour into your wardrobe and into your daily experience. I like to think that you might be able to look down at your dress or accessory and have a ‘colour moment’ while on your coffee break, or travelling from home to work. I really think colour can have an emotional, psychological, stimulating and ‘lifting’ effect, almost like music, and I think in the West we need more of it in our lives. I like the idea that there are subtleties in the print design that you can gradually discover as you wear the clothes. I have been working recently with photographer Aoife Hills to capture these colour and textile details that aren’t always recorded in the campaigns/lookbooks.
See them here.
How do you celebrate / unwind after completing a collection?
Sleep is always top of the list! Then I like to catch up with friends and family – as at collection times you do go into a vortex of work. I love music and I love dancing so I definitely make time up after collections to get out in London. I also enjoy the time right after sales in Paris to return to my sketchbooks and take my pastels, inks and pens out on the river to draw. Right at the moment I’m drawing the reflections on the river at night with opaque pens on black sugar paper.
What was the most challenging aspect for you starting up your own business?
Starting from scratch, the first couple of years are a steep learning curve. However, once you get through those early stages things do get easier as the business streamlines, as long as you learn from your mistakes and adapt and grow.
Are there any retailers you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I’ve stocked at Colette a few seasons now but would love to work on a special project with them, perhaps involving Unmade Studio.
You’re good friends with Zandra Rhodes who has been a great mentor and support to your work – what have you learned from her?
Many things, but essentially, determination to pursue what you believe in, the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and supportive friends, and keeping your joie de vivre, despite and even during the stressful moments
Being London-based – what are your hang-out places?
In the summer anywhere outside – there’s a beautiful rose garden near my studio where I hang out with friends after work. Or the river – I spend so much time there – with friends after work, or running, walking or drawing.
Are there any upcoming designers you love we should look out for?
Nabil Nayal. He is a friend and has done a few collections now. and he was on the shortlist for the LVMH prize. I love the sculptural quality of his work and the way he includes cultural and historical references through the beautiful finishes and details in his clothes. Karl Lagerfeld is a fan!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Liam Arthur
MODEL: Laura @ Named Models