The Joy of Fashion
I can still remember my first encounter with fashion that shaped my goals as a creative. I was twelve years old, on a sunny summer day. Wide eyed, watching an episode of ‘Cardcaptors’ a Japanese Anime for the very first time.
For those of you who are not familiar with the show, it consists of the main heroine Sakura battling various enemies adorned in a unique outfit throughout each episode - handmade for her by her lovely and insanely talented friend Madison. The creativity and beauty of each outfit was so inspiring to me at the time. I had never before seen clothing or style as something that was quite so, free. I became obsessed with drawing outfits, clothing and ideas experimenting with how creative I could be. It was from this point that I began learning about what ‘fashion’ was throughout High School, in particular ‘high fashion’ as an art form and the couture designers of Europe such as Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Christian Lacroix, and Dolce & Gabbana. For me, fashion was a playground of artistic adventure. Over the next few years I discovered how much of an art form fashion truly is, and the distinction between trends and designs that made history for their aesthetic, pioneering a new way into the future of style.
My Experience with the Business of Fashion Design: The Wardrobe
For a long time fashion to me was an expression creativity and unique thinking. A way to share a mood, a feeling, a facet of personality, or a commentary with the world. Now it’s become more than that, it’s also pure self expression. It’s a raw and honest way of communicating with the world who I am and what matters to me. Developing personal style is about refining and distilling the elements of your own aesthetic down to the most essential, so the way I dress now is a simple interaction of what I define to be ‘beautiful’. I did a personal vlog about this idea a little while back over on my Facebook page where I explore this idea, you can check it out here. A few months ago I shared about my past adventure creating my own little label, what I created and my business failings. As inspired as I was, throughout university I encountered a similar experience of shared mindset among artists; an inability on the part of many to embrace new ways of thinking and celebrating alternative style. I completed one year at Whitecliffe university [You can read my full story here] and then I worked in retail for a few years before starting my photography business, which I now operate full time. During this time I created The Wardrobe as a label and my first collection called ‘The Dorothy Collection’. Pictured below is one of my hand-embroidered linen dresses and matching stockings, an ode to my past. At the time I felt I achieved my artistic goals and blended a combination of quaint femininity - something European Couture designers influenced, and a quirky sense of playfulness. This was something that Japanese pop culture, particularly the anime scene contributed to. The Wardrobe as a label was my first delve into the fashion scene, I created about half a dozen pieces and accessories - some of which I still wear now. I realise looking back on this collection that I was ahead of the trends at that stage, and I’ve since witnessed similar ideas appear and with great success. I started an Etsy store but ultimately my biggest failing was that I didn’t believe in my own work enough to push it further. This was why I dropped The Wardrobe as a label, and moved it forward years later as a blog instead. Now, with my experience in the photography and fashion industry I see an opening…
The Present Day New Zealand Fashion Industry
Fast forward to 2018 and the New Zealand Fashion Industry has seen many changes. Most of which are too large for this article and require a dedicated blog post, but one of the most notable I have witnessed is a return to the appreciation of traditional forms of production. A reverence and value for the hand made in fashion and accessories. Etsy was one of the flagships of this movement, providing artists with a platform to provide to a growing audience that values these things. At the time I created The Dorothy Collection, this was only starting to emerge. Now even at Fashion Week 2018, I saw many elements of craftsmanship: Embroidery, Applique, Stencilling, Beadwork, many intricate methods of clothing and accessory production is now coming to the forefront of high end fashion. This is largely I believe as a move away from the stale nature of mass-produced fashion.
The Issues facing New Zealand Fashion Designers Now
With the emphasis on the new and exciting, I believe we are seeing the end of individual trends catering to a fast paced mass market, and we will begin to see a welcoming of timeless design, for longevity and a culture of future thinking individuals. With the world moving so fast now, the fashion industry will need to provide pieces that are more classic in nature, minimal, catering to our ever changing lifestyle and a focus on capsule collections and pieces that take consumers across seasons with little effort. Rather than having what we want when we want it, a stigma of the millennial generation - I feel the way of the future will be having everything we want, all in one, through the vehicle of versatility. This will create a space for personal interpretation and style. A reflection of a generation that values self expression and freedom. That’s where I want to go. The concept came to me in a dream, the name ‘Katie Marvel’ and reflects my inner wonder of style through beautiful craftsmanship.
The Future: Katie Marvel the Label
With an emphasis on timeless design, and an inter seasonal approach the need for quality and longevity will be paramount. I am very excited about getting back on the fashion boat, and I am currently working on a new collection for my new label ‘Katie Marvel’. A celebration of childlike wonder in fashion. I see a collection of pieces that are both minimal but striking, timeless and elegant but innately feminine. I have always loved colour, however it is applied and the joy is always in the detailing. Follow along on my Instagram and Facebook to join my fashion journey as I make this vision a reality, the sister of The Dorothy Collection with a focus on wearability and versatility for the brave, the free and the joyous. Sometimes in life, timing is everything.
Follow me over on Instagram for all the details on my upcoming Fashion Journey: www.instagram.com/thewardrobe.co.nz
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Photographer. Creator. Dreamer ♥