Emerging designer Marie completed her fashion design course at Kangan Tafe a few years ago and has always had the dream to start her own label. With a passion and creative flair for Painting, creating and customising Levi's jeans, Marvin Ink was created. Selling her customised creations at Markets and personal customer orders too, she explains to us what it's like to do so.
What made you want to get into customising Levi's?
Well, I've always felt like the 'typical' a typical Australian Designers job within a company or large label does not allow the individual to be as creative as they would like to be. This is what made me start customising Levi's, it's an expression of my creativity, to be free with what I create and sell. Without anyone telling me how and what creative direction to take!
What inspires you? How do you come up with your ideas for your designs?
Colours and patterns have always interested me, I am inspired by Flora, organic shapes and colours.
I love creating patterns and mixing colours together. I've never been afraid to wear two different prints together.
What do you use to create your designs?
To create my designs I use different paints, stencils and sponges.
Where do you source your jeans from?
I source my jeans from USA, Op Shops and vintage stores.
How does it feel to sell your product at different markets?
It's the best feeling selling my product at the markets! It's great to know that there are so many supportive people out there, who love what you do and love how much hard work you put into your creations.
What's next for your brand?
I'm planning to expand my range by beginning to paint on denim jackets and shirts. Also, I've been recently branching out and having my product available in retail stores, my jeans are now available in Design A Space Chapel Street.
Quick foxy 5
My favourite food is…..? pasta
I never leave home without my...? Converses
My most memorable moment so far in my life……? Was when my Fiancé proposed!
Weirdest thing that's ever happened to you?
I would say probably this whole experience! I never expected to be selling painted jeans, pretty cool - but crazy.
Special thanks to Marie
Kate knew she always wanted to be in fashion and has been sewing ever since she was 14 years old. From gloves to bags and eventually party dresses. At the time she was unsure that fashion could only be a hobby, she went on to study journalism and soon to realise her passion was for design and turned her hobby into a career and studied fashion design at RMIT . Being inspired by the world around her, including the most delicate pieces of lace and embroidery. Taking her creative journey of her own with her passion of lingerie beyond just an idea. Showing practice makes perfect, but industry based knowledge is the golden key.
Why and how I started KAT
I studied fashion design and technology at RMIT in Brunswick for three years. It was the most intense, but amazing course; I learnt so much during my time there.
During the course, we did a unit on lingerie and I instantly fell in love with the concept. For my final assessment, I made a bodysuit, a padded bra and a bralette and it marked really well. With that positive feedback, I started making bralettes at home and posting them on Instagram, and it all sort of grew from there. People started to buy them, and it was really hard to keep up with the demand, as I was hand making everything by myself.
I sort of gave KAT a break and moved to Byron for my first industry job in Menswear design and production. It was from there I learnt the ins and outs of production and manufacturing offshore so I applied everything I had learnt from my first industry job to my own business. This is when I started manufacturing my designs over in China and it's been crazy, but so much fun ever since.
When designing a collection, how do you feel emotionally when creating, and what goes through your mind as a creative?
I am a lover of fine, beautiful fabrics. I can get so inspired by the tiniest bit of vintage lace or a beautiful lace trim so I always start my collection looking at fabrications.
As a creative some weird things excite me. Just recently I went through a basket of laces and ribbons I inherited when my great Aunt passed away and wow was she an amazing embroider- all by hand! Tiny little-embroidered swans, delicate bluebird and the most intricate mini doilies you’ve ever seen. Finding treasures like these really spark the inspiration and my designs sort of evolve from there.
What inspires you?
It’s really important to stay inspired, and hard sometimes to avoid all the other lingerie brands on Instagram and Pinterest. I prefer to stay away from areas like that for research and stick to fabrics and trims as they are the most important part of each design. I get really inspired by beautiful interiors, architecture and, of course, gorgeous fabrics.
Travelling is a big one- I went to India for a few months just after I started KAT and it was actually amazing how inspired I felt. The fabrics over there are gorgeous and a lot were embroidered so it was absolute heaven for me, I had my sketchbook in hand constantly!
What is the process of getting your lingerie manufactured?
I learnt proper sewing techniques at University, (however this does not mean I am good at sewing by any means haha. I am so messy! )
But what I do is sew the samples here in Australia myself, sourcing fabrics from local fabric stores around Melbourne. Then I send my samples and swatches to my factory in China along with the garment specs listing measurements, colours, clasps and sketches. The factory then replicates my sample for me exactly as I’ve informed them, but much neater and from there they send them back to me for approval. If necessary I make any changes and we go from there!
The funny thing about China is though you never know what you’ll get back, so sometimes it might take a couple of tries to get it how you pictured but that’s all part of the process.
What is the process that you are most passionate about, is it the final product or creating a new collection?
I am most passionate about research and designing the new range- which actually is the job I get to spend the least amount of time doing! Time is mostly spent on production, marketing, sales etc.
But I cannot deny that when the new samples come in its super exciting! You get to see your designs really come to life, and the factory finishes the sewing so beautifully, something I could never achieve on my own.
By the time a style is available for sale I am already designing and sampling the next range so I sort of forget about the current styles. It’s so lovely to see the positive feedback from customers and Instagram followers and it reminds me that I should be proud of the pieces I’ve produced so far.
What's next for your label?
I am so excited!! I only quit my full-time job in January 2016 to run KAT full time. (It's been exactly a year now since I launched, and I was excited to see that I can do this full time now, so I thought I better start taking it seriously!)
Anyway, this means I have all my time dedicated to KAT, so you’ll be seeing a lot more new designs, more matching sets, more one-off exclusive pieces and at some point I will be moving into other pieces like nighties and came too.
I’ll be going to China later this year on a big sourcing trip so I’ll be working with more intricate and unique pieces that you hopefully haven’t seen all over the market yet. Exciting things to come so stay tuned :)
I never leave the home with out my…
iPhone (Instagram never sleeps!)
If i could go on a holiday right now i'd go to…
Tote or Clutch?
Heels or Flats?
Sucker for cookies and cream ice-cream!
Special thanks to Kate xxx
Follow her instagram: kat_thelabel
Meet Kate, a fashion designer who has made her mark into the wild depths of fashion industry. Since having won the title of ‘Fun Fearless Female’ Designer of the Year back in 2014 for Cosmopolitan magazine, she has taken one fearless step forward leaving her position of Head Designer of Finders Keepers The Label and FKxFIT and her tenure at Aus Fashion Labels after five years. To turn her dreams of her own personal projects into reality. Thus taking this leap her label was born S I G the label.
Since, she has been appointed by Yellowglen as Brand Ambassador for the 2015 Adelaide cup and newly appointed role as ambassador for Endometriosis Australia. She's a true role model to all talk about girl power!
You've just launched you're own independent label, what's it like? And how is it different from a working with a company/label to having to work for yourself?
Yes – it’s been great, terrifying and exciting all at the same time! I’ve been learning a lot - when you go from a company that has a departments for everything from Logistics to Marketing and PR you always have help, so its been a bit of an adjustment now its just me.
What made you want to create your own label?
I think when you are a designer and you design for a certain type of 'girl' you eventually grow and change as a designer. When I first started I was 'The Finders Keepers Girl; so I was designing for myself but as i got older and my style and taste changed I realised I wanted to design what I wanted to wear.
What's the process of creating a collection from you?
I start with prints and fabrics, some fabrics need to be designed around so that always a good place to start! I then look at inspiration and trends and see how I can interpret them for S I G, from then I sketch and make a SPEC sheet (specification sheet) to go to the factory with a first fit fabric. It then comes back to me for a fitting. Once I have fit the whole range I plan it in full, colours, prints, what style will be in what. Its really important to make sure its cohesive and all works together hanging on a rack!
The biggest achievement so far with your brand?
I think showing at both Toronto Fashion Week and Adelaide Fashion Festival in the same week - it was pretty surreal!
Advice to all the fashion students out there?
Work hard- be prepared to start from the bottom and be proactive. One of my favorite speeches is by Ashton Kutcher, he says 'he never had a job that he was better than..."
Tea or coffee?
I never leave the home without my…..
Weirdestthing thats ever happen to me was….
Weird things happen to me constantly, they start being less weird and then weird becomes normal...
My next holiday will be at…
Bali-ill be there early next year to check my production
leather or suede?
Special thanks to Kate
Photo credit info
Models: Jessica Roche Zac Miguel
Photography: Maple Vice
H&M: Erin Forbes_
Styling / Creative Direction: Jaimi Lee Fitzgerald
•a big thank you to @aimeecherie_intimates for being part of the shoot