I’m always on a quest to find the unusual for my Steampunk wardrobe. It’s a careful assembly of handmade pieces acquired through my own creative efforts and the diligent searching through the internet’s vast selection of incredibly talented Steampunk artists.
With the knowledge that there was going to be a cotillion at SteamCon II this year, I set off on a mission the acquire a formal gown for the dance. But not just any gown! This had to be something very special. Something one of a kind.
And after months of searching for that perfect gown, I found it through Etsy on Kimmi Designs, and when I received it in the mail, it exceeded my expectations. Kimmi’s talent for design was undeniable, and while she’s not an explicitly Steampunk designer, her designs have such a delicate retro feel to them that they are sure to appeal to Steampunks and Dieselpunks alike trying to work a bit of the antique into their wardrobe. Her work is especially outstanding because most of her work is done from recycled and repurposed cloth.
Kimmi was kind enough to recently grace me with an interview, where we chatted about her designs and inspiration.
How did you get into fashion design? How long have you been designing?
I got into fashion design from early on, my grandmother taught me to sew, I was always wanting to make new outfits and costumes as a kid.
Have you always had the green aspect to your designs? How did you decide to commit to this practice?
I’ve pretty much always been drawn to older fabrics, their history, textures. As my business progressed I realized the uniqueness of recycled fabrics was even more of a plus, being able to create more one-of-a-kind designs is more appealing to me as a designer. Even if I’m using a pattern/design over and over again, the fact the fabric is different each time makes it unique.
What inspired you to produce clothing from recycled materials?
I’ve worked for companies doing mass production and it was tedious and pretty much mind numbing. And after seeing the piles and Piles! of used textiles I realized there’s already enough fabric out there, no need to create more textiles to make clothing, too much waste!
Do you find it difficult or limiting by using recycled materials? Under what circumstances do you use new materials?
I do use new fabrics, on occasion for custom orders if the customer requests it. And every once in awhile a new print just blows me away and I have to have it!
What are some of your favorite textiles to work with? Why?
My favorite textile to work with is lace! I absolutely Love the variety of patterns, the different fabric contents it can come in; cottons, silk, rayons, poly, blends. All so different in the draping or crispness. The patterns are what speak to me, telling me how they should lay on the body.
How would you classify the style of your creations? What fashion genre do your clothes best fit into and why?
I really don’t know how to classify my designs. Some of them, I realize, have a very vintage feel, but they always have a modern twist. So I hesitate to put my designs into a specific category.
For the first three photos, photography by David Miller and the models are Marissa and Aly. In the second two photos, the photography is by Vincent Lopez, and the models are Elle Von Sonnet and Samantha. All hats were created and designed by Boring Sydney.
If you’d like to view Kimmi’s current line, please visit her Etsy site. If you happen to be in the Seattle area, you can see her work first hand at Frock Shop (6500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, Wa 98103) and Cicada (1st and Seneca, Seattle, Wa)