Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the eighth installment in a series of blog posts relating to the designers who will be taking part in the upcoming A/W’17 Showcase in Tribeton on September 9th. Keep an eye out on the blog and on our social media channels over the next week and get to know our designers before the Big Day.
Who are you & what kind of designer are you?
My name is Gayle Poppers, I’m 34 and a single mother of 2 young girls, trying to build my business and be a positive role model for them as they grow up. My label is called Kizmet Clothing; Kizmet means ‘ Destiny ‘ and when I started my label, it seemed so fitting with what I was starting to do. It felt like the right path, like it was my destiny to create something which would fulfill my creative needs along with sharing with others my passion for clothing and style. I am, I suppose, not your ‘standard’ designer. I create from what I love to wear myself, my sketching skills are not the strongest and I tend to make out of a vision I have, and a lot of it is trial and error! My main aim with all the pieces I design is to be comfortable, yet to feel beautiful while wearing them. Clothes which are versatile, feminine, yet practical and comfortable!
What sparked your interest with fashion?
I have always loved clothes! From as far back as I remember I was very particular in the clothes I would wear, yet I never really ‘followed trends’ as such. I would always take elements of current trends and make them work for me in a different way. My grandmother and my mother both worked making costumes in theatre, and growing up, my mum always had a sewing machine which she often used to make us clothes, and I started sewing doll clothes when I was 8 or 9. When I was a teen then I used to make myself handbags and various other things, I always wanted to make and wear my own clothes, it just took me a while to get there!
Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?
When I was 20 I studied Fashion Design in Galway and later then I studied Fashion Business in Melbourne, Australia. The design course was pretty basic, so although I did learn a lot there, most of my recent work is self taught with some guidance along the way.
What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?
The fashion industry for me was a difficult one to crack, and I chopped and changed various jobs over the years, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. When I had my youngest was a year old, I started to feel like I really needed to focus on something again, something for myself but also something that would allow me to be at home with my kids and work around their needs as best I could. I started Kizmet on a whim to be honest, loving that I could be creative and work for myself, but not fully knowing where it would go. I think it is only in the last year that I have really started to take it all more serious, working with others and listening to the feedback I have gotten for my work, I started to think that maybe this could be something great! I still feel I am at the beginning of it all, learning as I go, but it is definitely my career now, and I am so passionate about making it work, I can’t imagine doing anything else!
What is your aesthetic?
Feminine flowing lines, simple yet beautiful.
What inspired this collection?
My A/W collection is more chic than previous work. I am inspired by strong women, women who make stuff happen for themselves, and I wanted to create something wearable which represents this, in my eyes anyway! I do really love the current trend of voluptuous sleeves and wanted to have an element of that in my line also.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
When I first started, there was a lot of hit-and-miss pieces. I would have made without much extended focus on the finish product. I would have worked with off cuts and remnants, so one off pieces, never to be made again! Whereas now, I make things more in collaboration with each other, making a collection of pieces which compliment one another.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
There’s always more to learn!
Describe your creative process.
I just start. Usually with a piece of fabric which I love, and an internal vision of something I would like to create. I drape and fold and try on myself, until it eventually works! I’m usually in my studio after the kids are in bed, watching Netflix as I sew, that’s my happy place!
How do you get unstuck creatively?
I usually would take a break, away from my studio for a few days, so I can come back to it with fresh eyes when I’m ready. Sometimes I will look at magazines or Pinterest for inspiration, or will just mess around with making something silly, or something for my kids, just to take the pressure off making something really good!
What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?
Mostly, will this work? Who would wear this? Will anyone wear this other then me!? Is it something that represents me as a designer?
How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?
Ha! I am still trying to figure out this balance. Ill let you know!
How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?
I feel a lot of it is regurgitated fashion, in slightly different and often bizarre forms! It must be difficult I would think, if you are one of the top leading fashion designers to come up with new concepts, as its all been done before. Every year we see a different era of fashion styles coming back onto the catwalk, in varying ways. This season I am most taken with the extravagant sleeves and 70’s style. It is hard to keep up with fashion these days, as it is such a fast paced industry. But I also feel that these days, anything goes, people are free to wear anything or any style they feel without prejudice, which is really nice, in my opinion, as it allows freedom of creative expression.
Where do you see your brand expanding to?
I would love to start to expand my market to Europe, and start to outsource construction so I can focus more on the design aspect of things. Ideally I would start to work with a team who could collaborate with me and really build on the brand of my label.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Ummmm….. I still could do with some advice myself haha! I think what I would advise though, is that there are more ways then one to create your designs. As I mentioned before, I have had to work around the fact that I’m not a great sketcher, but I have found my way through that. You don’t have to always follow the rules of fashion design, and no one person is able to do EVERYTHING, find your strengths and the rest will follow!
Gayle will be taking part in the GDN A/W Showcase on September 9th in Tribeton. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:
Jewellery Design at 2pm
Millinery at 4pm
Clothing Design at 6pm.
Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections. Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat. If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.
The Galway Designers Network is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page to read all about the project and how you can take part.
The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email firstname.lastname@example.org.