A few weeks ago i was interviewed for Alt Fashion Magazine, you can buy the magazine here. My interview is on page 32 to 34
Here is my interview.....
You started from a textile background, how did this lead to the creation of BooBoo Kitty Couture?
My mother was a seamstress, so I grew up with her making dresses, I used the use the scraps of fabrics from her designs to make garments when I was younger, outfits for Barbie and even dressing up the dog! I have always been creative, when I was younger I didn’t know what career exactly I wanted, so I did a foundation course in Art and Design at Bournemouth Arts institute, I found that I really enjoyed textiles. I then went on to do a degree in textiles at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, I kind of fell into a career in interior design, moved to London and worked for some high end companies.
|Alexa Jay by Paul Larkins|
I had a passion for fashion and vintage still, so I got a part time job at a Vintage Boutique in Alfies Market, the Girl Cant Help it. About three years ago, the opportunity came up for me to buy a pedigree pug. I had always wanted a pug, they are such funny creatures. But living in London, all my spare cash going on my new sleeve by Valerie Vargas at Frith Street Tattoo, money was tight. So I sold all my dresses on ebay, I had a jam packed wardrobe full of various rockabilly and vintage repo brands. After selling all my dresses, I still didn’t have enough money to buy her, pedigree pugs are very expensive. So I took photos of all the rockabilly vintage inspired dresses I had made for myself. Started a facebook page and started offering my services for made to measure dresses. Maybellene my pug has just turned three, I raised enough money to buy her and interest in my dresses still grows.
You've certainly created a stand out range of designs with retro, vintage & quirky styled designs, do any particular influences inspire you when designing new pieces?
I immerse myself in all things vintage, my whole house is full of items from the 50s and 60s, think the only modern things I have are my tv, laptop and phone. I am constantly watching old movies, I am latterly obsessed by Marilyn Monroe movies, William Travilla was her designer for the majority of her films, she once famously quoted, 'Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn.'
|Hayley in her bespoke BBKC wedding dress|
Its not just Marilyn films I watch, I watch anything ‘vintage’ I love modern shows set in the past like, Call the Midwife, Mad Men, Pan Am. I am also slightly obsessed with costume dramas. Even though the costumes aren’t exactly what I would make myself, I still get inspired by the design and the fabric. Ladies just don’t dress like they used to!
Most of my friends are into vintage and rockabilly fashion, we go to a lot of rock and roll nights, burlesque shows and our own vintage adventures, like cycling all glammed up on our vintage bikes, they inspire me. I get inspired by necessity, the sort of clothes I want to wear and the sort of clothes my friends and customers want to wear, so I design for individuals.
|My first ever shoot with Flashes and Lashes|
As you create every dress from start to finish it certainly gives your dresses that tailored feel, with many people opting for off the peg designs do you feel that this tailored service is a key institution that should be turned to more often by not just brides to be, but women everywhere? What are the benefits of having a dress tailor made to your specifications?
I started making my own clothes, mainly because I couldn’t find the styles I wanted, but also because my body shape and size doent fit into the standard off the peg sizing. I have big boobs and a tiny waist, it’s a tough life ;) but it is also hard finding things that fit my boobs and don’t make my look frumpy. From my experience in measuring people, I have found that most people don’t fit into the standard off the peg sizing. For example a lot girls I have measured have a small waist and large hips, therefor finding pencil skits and pants that fit diffictult. As well as getting a garment tailored so it will fit you, having a garment made just for you has its other benefits. Its is a one off. I make clothing for burlesque performers and rock and roll stars, who want to dress unique. Carman from Carman Ghia and the Hotrods comes to me as she wants to wear outfits that no one else in the crowd are wearing. In this alternative culture we all strive to be alternative as possible, having a dress designed and made just for you allows you to be just that, a true indivival.
|Lucille by Flashes and Lashes|
There's certainly been a boom in vintage inspired style of late, have you noticed an increased interest in your dresses with this boom?
The whole vintage and burlesque scene has escalated in recent years, it really has been great, great for me personally and also great for business. When I first got into rockabilly and vintage, the only repo dresses you could get were from the states, another reason why I made my own. I am not sure if it’s the recession or what, but there has been a huge interest in handmade and vintage. I am getting more and more ‘normal’ people wanting to dip their toe into the vintage and rockabilly culture. Having a vintage inspired wedding is really popular at the moment. I love it, I think that designs from the 50s are timeless and flatter all women, of different sizes and ages.
|Emma and bridemaids all in BooBoo Kitty Couture bespoke bridal|
You've mentioned online that you may be making a ready to wear collection soon, any gossip on the range that you can share with us?
Yes I would love to offer a ready to wear collection. I am in the process of meeting with factories and pattern cutters. I will be still offering my made to measure service, but I am hoping that my off the peg will be more accessible to more people as the prices will be lower than my custom service.
You've taken part in Americana's Rockin fashion show & other shows in the last year, will we be seeing BooBoo Kitty Couture on the catwalk again this year?
I have indeed taken part in Americana for the past two years, both years the fashion show has been organised by Laura from Miss Fortune. I have taken over with the organisation of the event for this year. I have just announced the brands that are involved on my facebook page. I have a cracking line up and some of the best pin up alternative models in the business taking part. I have a great team, bursting with enthusiasm. Its going to be a cracking show!
|Anna Fur Laxis by Jazz Hands|
What's the most rewarding aspect of running your own company?
The most rewarding thing about running my own company is the feedback I get from customers and followers, I get a real buzz when they comment on my work or even just by liking a photo. The various methods of social media allow me to really engage with my customer, get to know them and for them to get to know me.
I also love being able to dress like I want and be who I want. In my past life in various office jobs, I had to cover my tattoos, dress a certain way, be someone I wasn’t just so I fitted in. it made me depressed and unhappy. I am a creative unique person and am happy in my own skin. I am glad don’t have to cover that up anymore.
|Scarlett Daggers by Paul Larkins|
What are the plans for BooBoo Kitty Couture this year & beyond?
Right now its just little old me and my pug in my studio, planning to take over the world… one dress at a time. I am in the process of recruiting someone to help me. I am finding this very hard, I don’t want to recruit based on CVs and grades. I am looking for a motivated and passionate person, someone who loves vintage and rockabilly style… and unlike most employers I will not be asking them to cover their tattoos!
The future, I want to open my own boutique. Sell my own off the peg range along with others. I want to have a studio work room behind the boutique with a team of seamstresses making the one off couture garments. I love making bridal and burlesque gowns, so I really want to keep pushing my business in this direction.