Kyree Forrest is an emerging designer from Ireland that will in no doubt be a brand that you hear more and more about in the coming few years. Her current collection ‘The Adámas Collection’ is both striking due to the contrast of fabrics as well as cut of the fabrics. I love the use of the bold metallics and then contrasting blacks as it makes for a collection that stands out from others.
Kyree is listed as ‘One to Watch’ in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards this year (more details here) and I was delighted when she agreed to be featured on Floralesque. She describes herself as ‘A conceptual mind with an artist’s eye and designer hands‘, and this really comes through in her designs.
What is your first memory of fashion?
My first memory of fashion was getting my first copy of Vogue magazine when I was about 10. I was doing a project in school and needed to make a collage and ended up engrossed from cover to cover. I started a collage on my bedroom wall, which eventually became the entire wall through time and several Vogue magazines later. I was always interested in clothing and my own personal style began developing at a very early age however this was the first taste of the fashion industry I had experienced and it began the fashion revolution in me. I had Fashion Plates as a child as well, in which you could mix and match the different plates to create/design your own outfits.
What made you decide to take design as a serious career path?
In my favourite class at secondary school, Art & Design, I painted a John Galliano Haute Couture gown that was escalading in olive green ruffles. I always loved painting but this fashion illustration marked my desire to create garments like this of my own. John Galliano was my first inspiration and has stayed an aspiring character to this day. Although I was already designing at this stage, the hobby solidified as a career path.
Do you remember the very first piece that you designed?
The very first piece I designed was a wedding dress. The first piece I designed and (attempted to make) was a monochrome A Line dress with a sheer fabric overlaid on top of a striped fabric. My garments have improved a lot since then!
I love the contrasting fabrics and cuts in your pieces – they are very unique and eye catching. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Thank you, I try to explore interesting cuts and textures in my garments in their monochromatic colour palette as I find these just as effective as colour. I like to satisfy more than just the visual sense, although imperative my garments are aesthetically pleasing, I love them to feel as interesting as they look. I get my inspiration from diamonds, black diamonds especially. There are so many facets to this inspiration, like the diamond itself, and this is portrayed through the contrasting fabrics, between sheer & opaque, metallic & matte, and strong geometric lines. My patchwork theme is a recurring idea within my brand as it does not only reflect the intense lines through a diamond, but it pays homage to the patchwork fields of Ireland.
Do you have a favourite fabric that you like to work with?
My favourite fabric is leather, whether it is a Spring/Summer collection or an Autumn/Winter collection, the Kyree Forrest label will include leather. Leather is a popular luxurious fabric and is used widely however, I combine it with contrasting, yet complimenting fabrics and piece it in unusual ways to abandon any mainstream ideas. I also adore foiled leather as it adds a juxtaposed futuristic appeal to the most ancient of fabrics.
In the current digital climate that we live in, do you think that it is important that brands ‘go digital’ and embrace social media?
I believe, being in the technology age, that social media is vital for my brand. Being an Irish designer, I want to build my company in Ireland/Northern Ireland and always be based here. For this reason, social media is another platform grow my company and engage with customers and contacts from around the country and eventually around the globe. I do respect that some brands do not want to embrace social media and it is not something that I would fault as every brand will have different outlooks on every aspect of business, as long as it works for their particular label, then it is the right way.
Do you think that it is important for aspiring fashion designers to go to college to ‘learn the trade’ before venturing out themselves?
I do think it is important to learn the trade however, ultimately, what you learn at university is not solely going to be enough. To be a fashion designer, you need to have a voice, a vision and the all-important belief in what you do, as well as the ability and willingness to grow in knowledge. These things can be experimented with at university but the refinement of them occurs when you’re constantly working at your craft in your chosen industry and is still something that I am refining and learning about. I learn new things every day through research, workshops or experimentation and is one of the most satisfying parts of my job.
Do you have any tips for anyone that is thinking of becoming a designer? Are there any things that you realized along the way that no one tells you?
Your label should reflect your taste, your passion and your vision. Fashion is so subjective that trying to please everyone will not gain the customers that will follow your brand from season to season. My designs are, like myself, non-conformist and will appeal to an edgier, bolder audience who place having a distinct personal style over staying on trend and following the crowd. However you need to know the difference between constructive criticism and personal opinion. Knowing who to take advice from while staying true to your label is a parallel balance. Mary Katranzou said, “Take advice from people you respect in the Industry,” which I believe to be a stable quote to make decisions on.
Being listed as ‘One To Watch’ in the Fashion Innovation Awards must be very exciting. What does this mean to you?
It is so exciting! I started my designer residency at The Fashion and Textile Design Centre in September 2015 to work on launching my label and before the year was out I was selected for this category. I was honoured to be chosen as I still haven’t officially launched my brand and the fact Eddie Shanahan, Chairperson of the Irish Council of Fashion Designers selected me for this gave me even more confidence in my designs and I can’t wait to unveil my collection at it next month.
What are your plans for 2016 and future collections?
My plans for 2016 are to gain stockists, attend trade fairs, fashion shows and to launch my website and social media platforms for my label. My Autumn/Winter 16 collection is currently in production and will be my first official collection and will be ready for order in April. There are a few things in the horizon already for 2016 but no announcements will be made until they are in fruition. Exciting things are ahead for the Kyree Forrest label!
And lastly now for some quick fire ones:
What is the one piece of make-up that you cannot live without?
My liquid eyeliner! I don’t feel like I am wearing any if I don’t have my cat eye flicks on.
If you were to have a theme song, what would it be?
If I were to have a theme song for my label it would be Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones or Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac. I love the mystery and darkness my collection exudes and these songs would reflect it well.
Biggest fashion mistake?
I once succumbed to peer pressure as an adolescent and dressed in pink from head to toe for a teenage disco. The photos haunt me to this day.
Currently lusting after (fashion or beauty)?
I am currently lusting after an Alexander McQueen gown that was showcased at London Fashion Week this week. It was sheer and adorned with embellishments, with a long shimmering cape and was the perfect combination of dark romance.
Favourite trend from last 50 years?
Patchwork! It was also from my favourite eras, the sixties and seventies. Although Patchwork is considered a trend, for me it is an inspiration and is becoming a signature of my label.
A massive thanks to Kyree for agreeing to the interview, she is certainly a designer that I can see emerging as a top talent in the next few years as her designs and both innovative and contemporary. We will be featuring her Autumn/Winter 16 collection in the next couple of months so stay tuned as I know that I am very excited to see what the next collection holds!
All images kindly provided by Kyree.