Tuesday, 24 April 2012

When I grow up...

We've not one of these for a while so it was high time we grilled another creative to find out more about their covetable career. 

 With beautiful handmade vintage-inspired designs, Katie-Louise Ford’s shop on Etsy offers a selection of one-off dresses made by Katie herself. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she’s currently travelling across the USA (of which we are extremely jealous), but it hasn’t stopped her from searching for inspiration towards new designs on her return next year. In an interview with Katie, she explains more about her creative streak and turning a pleasure into a business…

When did you know that you wanted to take your creativity and work in fashion? I've been making clothes for as long as I can remember. When I was a girl I would spend hours hand sewing dresses for my dolls and started sewing my own clothes at 14. I moved to the city at 18 took a course in fashion design, from day one I knew that I'd found my dream career. I started my own label at the beginning of 2010 and could not imagine doing anything else!
How would you describe your creative process and what part of it do you most enjoy?
I start by making a few rough sketches, drafting a basic pattern and sewing a sample that I then fit to a mannequin and make any necessary changes. Sometimes this process takes a few hours, other times it takes days. When I'm happy with the sample I'll adjust the pattern, cut the fabric and sew the final garment. My favourite part of the process is seeing the end product, its such a great feeling of accomplishment and makes all the frustration and late nights worthwhile.

Where do you find your inspiration? 
I draw inspiration from so many different sources; currently I'm pretty smitten by 1950s children's clothing and 1960s party frocks. Recently I was coveting Joan Holloway's wardrobe so made a batch of 60s style wiggle dresses; they sure were hard to let go of.

What keeps you motivated?
Endless cups of coffee and podcasts! Also knowing that if I keep my head down and tail up I'll have a beautiful finished frock before I know it.
For anyone thinking about taking their creativity and turning it into a business, what is the biggest piece of advice you would give them?
Don't be afraid to take a chance. I've been completely overwhelmed by the support of the handmade community and have received so many wonderful opportunities just by putting myself out there. Take advantage of online marketing, blogging is a great idea as you can share your creative endeavours with the world and let customers get to know you as an individual and not just the product you make.
What inspires you as an individual and who has influenced you the most?
My Mum has always been a great inspiration and influence, as an artist she raised my brother and I in a very creative household where our projects were always nurtured. Seeing the satisfaction she gained by working from a home studio encouraged me to do the same. The idea of a regular job always seemed foreign to me; I knew I'd only be happy if I was working creatively on my own pet projects. 

If you had the chance to take a sneaky peek inside the studio of another creative (dead or alive) who would it be?
I'm a pretty big fan of Paul Poiret, he revolutionised fashion in the 1910s/20s and created some pretty whacky fantasy pieces. I'd love to take a look into his creative process to see where on earth his inspiration came from! 
When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy doing?
I'm currently taking a little break from the sewing machine to travel across the USA with my other half. 
I'm finding great pleasure in long hikes in the countryside, learning the art of film photography, thrifting up a storm and sipping frosty beers in the fading afternoon sunlight.  This trip has filled me with fresh inspiration and I have some exciting new creations planned for when I get back to the studio.

Where would you like to be in ten years time?
I'd love to continue running my own label with a few more helping hands. I'm really interested in expanding my knowledge of couture and tailoring and applying old-fashioned techniques to modern clothing. Also my Mum and I are working on some collaborations with original hand painted silk designs, the future's looking very bright!

To keep up with Katie-Louise Ford, you can find her at the following places:

By Holly Taylor

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