I think I first came across Kennedy Design when they followed me on my not-so-personal Instagram a couple of months ago. Usually bypassing most of my followers, something about this account caught my attention- I think it was their profile pic. Upon clicking on their account, I was hit entering this world immersed in everything glitter, maxis and Bowie-esque. If you don’t know (which I don’t know why you don’t know), Kennedy Design is an independent label that creates and produces some amazing 70s Glam Rock inspired pieces. In the heart of Glasgow, everything is made in house, meaning all the best quality craftsmanship goes into every item they produce. What I really admire about Kennedy Design is the fact that whilst it’s still true to the 70s period, it could easily be modernised and made ‘wearable‘. For example, I can take their ‘Black Velvet Maxi Skirt‘ and style it into a 90s outfit. And considering the price tag that goes along with Glam Rock originals, it’s fairly affordable for the intricate work that goes into them, which is always a bonus.
Interviewed by Thalia Traynor & My Superiority Complex
I can definitely see the influences of Bowie glistening in your designs; is he the main inspiration for your brand? What gave you the initial idea to launch Kennedy Design?
Glam rock in general is the main inspiration for the brand so it’s a given that I will make an ode to Bowie at least once within any collection. My collections do always play to at least one strong character from the 70s era, most recently it was The Runaways for ‘The Blackhearts‘ Collection. The brand is essentially an extension of my own style and I wanted to produce pieces that I would wear myself as I think its an important factor when you’re a designer. Throughout uni I always had the intention that I would start my own brand, mainly as it allows for my own creativity and to not have to be constricted to someone else’s ideals as would be the case if I was to work for a high street brand etc.
You’ve obviously worked pretty damn hard to earn some recognition on ASOS Marketplace, how long have you’ve been going for?
Surprisingly I’ve actually only been going for just over a year! It’s been a total shock to be able to make it on to ASOS Marketplace in this time, but I think the unique styling of my brand has a lot to thank for this.
So I think we’re all curious to find out, what was the whole process of starting your own brand like? Were there any setbacks? How’s it been beneficial to you as both a designer and an individual?
Setting up a brand is no easy task; I wouldn’t lie when I say I’m still winging it when it comes to doing the more official company side of things like taxes etc. But hey, who isn’t? Set backs as per say was just getting all the finances together. I personally still work full time alongside the brand which really helped in the beginning before the brand began generating its own income. Confidence would be the biggest benefit I’ve gained from the brand. It’s definitely a confidence boost when you see other people appreciating your hard work and buying into your ideas- it gives you that push to produce.
If you could collaborate with any artist to produce a collection, who would it be and why?
Alessandro Michell from Gucci. I believe he’s an artist and a designer in his own right and the whole vision he’s brought to the brand has really spoke to people, myself included. In his concepts I feel there’s a whole lot of deep meaning, research and experimentation and that he’s someone I could really learn from. When it comes to creatives I believe more in collaboration than competition as everyone can drive each other in their own direction.
Isabella is wearing Fashion Apple’s Earrings
I think the question we’re all probing to know is, how did you feel when you found out Vogue Italia featured YOUR design? I mean, c’mon this iconic magazine used your independent label, you must have been taken-back, right? Did it re-establish some confidence into your work?
As well as working as a designer I actually also freelance in styling and Vogue Italia is a online publication which has regularly started to feature my team’s work, this doesn’t make it any less greater an honour though! think it’s a great validation when someone publicises your work and in particular when it’s your own designs.
Isabella is wearing the ‘Ziggy Dress‘, Leticia is wearing the ‘Oversized Khaftan‘ and Ruby is wearing the ‘Black Velvet Tie Top‘ and ‘Metallic Extra Flared Culottes‘ in Silver
Of course, creativity doesn’t need to be taught but do you think university degrees are the key to a successful fashion career?
I don’t necessarily believe you need to go to university; there are an abundance of classes for dress making and pattern manipulation available for those not wanting to attend further education per say and like you said creativity comes from the heart. I personally believe the course which I completed at Glasgow Caledonian University – BA (Hons) Fashion Business has been slightly advantageous as I’ve the business acumen as well as the fashion knowledge necessary in the industry – always helpful when it comes to marketing etc.
Leticia is wearing Evol Cosmetics’ gems in ‘Topaz‘, Glisten Cosmetics’ chunky ‘Peacock‘ and ‘Sylvie‘, Medusa’s Makeup’s lip gloss in ‘Kiss Me Deadly‘ and Fashion Apple’s earrings
As a female myself in the industry, I know that it can bring forth many challenges. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had been told when you were first starting out? Do you hope to use this experience to inspire young women trying to get into designing?
I don’t think gender really affects the fashion industry in the same way it does other job roles. One thing I would say it to be mindful of people trying to take advantage and also know the importance of contract drafting. 1. Always do your research when someone suggests to collaborate or asks you to advertise with them; look at the finer details like readership etc. 2. When approaching bloggers always have a statement as to what you would like in return for gifting and confirm any fees – by being upfront about what you expect it prevents any confusion for either side- how is a blogger meant to know what you want from them if you don’t say? I’d like to think that’s two important bits of information as advertising and influencer relationships are key for independents to get their name out there.
Isabella is wearing Medusa’s Makeup’s eye dust in ‘Boy Toy‘
I know you use faux fur, which is amazing as it’s still a prominent issue within the current fashion world. There are undoubtedly a lot of advantages to this
industry, but if you could change anything about it, what would it be?
It’s the same as any business, money talks and sometimes you can find designers being able to leap in as an industry leader. I think that’s just a push to put everything into what you do and I’m a firm believer in something isn’t worth it unless you’ve earned it
Ruby is wearing Fashion Apple’s ‘Fringe Tassel Earrings‘ in ‘Midnight Black’, Evol Cosmetics’ gem in ‘Glitz‘ and Glisten Cosmetics’ microfine glitter in ‘Velvet‘
For someone who legit wears velvet on a daily basis, I love it along with metallics and sheers. How comes you heavily use these particular textures in your work? Is it just a preference or is there something about the materials that captivates a deeper meaning behind the use of them?
Velvet is my all time favourite fabric as well as being relevant to the 70s inspo behind my brand. I also like to invest in the fabrics I use to make sure the brand boasts luxuriousness.
Last but far from least, are there any hints in terms of future projects, or do we have to wait and see?
I’ve a few short fashion films planned this month and I’ll be hitting up London Edge in September with my AW18 and SS19 collections – these are taking some Poison Ivy (The Cramps) and Debbie Harry vibes.
Fiona Kennedy– Founder, Owner, Creative Director, Stylist & Designer at Kennedy Design, has reinstalled my hope in up-and-coming designers again. Anyone can start their own brand, but it truly becomes inspirational when someone takes an authentic idea, and invests all their energy, finances and heart into it- it pays off. And it has with Kennedy Design.
A massive thank you for Kennedy Design, Glisten Cosmetics, Fashion Apple, Evol Cosmetics & Medusa’s Makeup for partnering with us on this photoshoot!
Words By My Superiority Complex
Rupert Hitchox LRPS
Creative + Art Directon
Assistant Art Directon
Chenaii Crawford Corri
Chenaii Crawford Corri
Celina Tatiana Luongo
Leticia Molera Vasquez
~Courtesy of Ragged CULT Magazine~