“Inspiration quite often comes from humble/mundane beginnings, like an old gentleman’s jacket on the tube to basic garments needing an update”, says the London-based designer Kirsty Ward. Her work is characterized by a defined silhouette, bold design and strong details. With the most varied materials like wool sweaters, nylon, Swarovski or aluminum coils Ward balances the scales between the cheap-expensive and heavy-light in her collections, always giving emphasis to the beauty and femininity.
Kirsty is originally from Oxford but she moved to Manchester to complete her BA in Womenswear before completing her education with an MA Womenswear course at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. She currently lives and works in London at her studio located in the northwest of the British capital, where she give life to her structures, avant-garde accessories and her eclectic universe, tribal and unique.
How did you first start to get interested in fashion and jewelery?
It started by me wanting to adorn myself and not being able to find the right stuff in the shops (well not what I could by with the money earnt from my paper round) this then lead to customizing, then studying and then working in fashion.
How did you feel moving from Oxford to Manchester and then to London? How different are this places for you?
These places are so different but I love the contrast and each one kind of feels like home when I visit. I’m from the countryside in Oxfordshire and do miss the greenness and clear night skies every now and then but it’s really easy to get to for visiting my family and friends.
Where does your inspiration come from? What amazes you?
Inspiration quite often comes from humble/mundane beginnings, like an old gentleman’s jacket on the tube to basic garments needing an update, I like the challenge in making something ordinary into something luxury with a twist.
What is your current Winter collection about?
It’s about playing with the idea of the humble t-shirt: draping it, embellishing it and as usual mixing a lot of statement jewellery into the mix. I also touched onto making the apron and tabard into luxury garments.
What is your piece in this collection?
I generally always love the biggest piece of jewellery that I’ve done that season, so I would say the large multi coloured necklace with crystal clusters.
What makes this collection different from your previous collections?
The clothes are a lot cleaner which makes it easier to showcase the statement jewellery this season, there’s not so much of an attention battle going on.
Which materials did you use? How is your creative process working with them?
For the womenswear the fabrics were various luxury heavy wool jerseys mixed with sheer nylon and lace. For the embroidery we had fun artificial grass, swarovski crystals and aluminium coils. For the jewellery we also used the aluminium coils and loops, swarovski crystal clusters and brass loops. I like to work with contradictions – masculine vs feminine, cheap vs expensive, hard vs soft, heavy vs light etc.
Your jewelry pieces make me thing about tribal references, if you had to choose some tribes as references of your work, which ones would you choose?
The tribe thing is always accidental, it’s just my natural way of putting things together, does Tina Turner’s tribe in Mad Max count?
Do you feel that you are more into jewelry design that into fashion design?
I’m trained in womenswear so I approach jewellery with the same instincts, I love having the option on working on both.
How would you describe the woman that wears your pieces, clothes and jewelry?
She loves fashion but doesn’t take it too seriously, she likes the fun side of it, she also appreciates the hidden details and quality too, and she’s very cool obviously!
Have you ever thought about doing a sculptural/art piece for exhibition?
I would love to do this I’m always open to collaborations and different mediums of how I can push my work.
Any upcoming collaboration or project?
Yes there is something quite amazing happening but my lips are sealed until it comes into fruitarian, its something to do with the jewellery side of things though.
How does your studio in London look like?
It's an old violin shop in Kentish Town, and its rammed full of fabric, patterns, jewellery making pieces and wires – it’s an organized mess!
What can we expect for the next collection?
I will be taking my cues from my previous season, I’m still working with tabards, aprons and layering in mind. I’ve also developed a weaving technique into my jewellery which will keep it fresh for S/S13.
What are your plans for you the rest of 2012 and the beginning of 2013?
To make more beautiful garments and jewellery, and getting some sleep after SS13 is finished.