What are your top tips to picking the perfect statement piece that you can include in your wardrobe year after year?
Tailoring – first and foremost. If something doesn’t fit perfectly there is no point in wearing it. Longevity is equally as important. When I buy I always remember to ask myself – will I wear this in 5 or even 10 years time? We all have those amazing statement pieces in our wardrobes of course – that may have been bought for a specific occasion or trend – but the bulk of my closet is filled with pieces that I can mix and match with other pieces, that I am confident will stand the test of time (both in style and in quality/longevity of fabric), and that I know I can throw on and feel great.
Purchasing behaviours are changing – the rise of fast fashion has seen a lot of major fashion houses built around the concept that we buy things to wear for a season or two (or even a month or two) and constantly update our wardrobes – and there is now a move towards what is being termed ‘slow fashion’ as we realise the effect this has on the environment, our wardrobe space and our wallets!
How important is the cut of a garment? Any tips for fixing a ‘not quite right’ top or dress to make it more timeless?
The perfect cut, whether it be that staple leather jacket or crisp white shirt, can make you feel spectacular and it is worth investing in the right pieces to harness that feeling – as it won’t change. It is also worth getting to know your local tailor – all labels have slightly different fits and cuts, and if you really love a piece in-store but there is some small fit problem – it is worth taking it to your tailor. It may feel like an investment, but think of it as dollars per wear – and you will get so much more wear out of it if it fits perfectly!
Your pieces use beautiful suedes, leathers and furs. What’s your favourite to work with?
It is hard to choose a favourite – we spend so much time sourcing suppliers and fabrics that meet with our standards – but I am loving the suedes we are working with at the moment. The rich, beautiful colours we develop really translate to the fabrication – and there is something classical about a soft, buttery suede that is hard to match.
How has your previous career in corporate comms influenced the way you run your business now?
Immeasurably. I had a really different path into the industry – and of course we all have our own paths – but I think the success of the Jennifer Kate label can be strongly attributed to it’s corporate origins. The growth of the label has been supported by strong business foundations – an ability to marry an understanding and appreciation for consumer demand, with a real respect for the nobility of the craft.
Do you have any tips for someone wanting to make the jump from a corporate job to pursuing their creative dreams?
Do it (there is an unparalleled satisfaction that comes from creating and running your own business) – but do it slowly. Ensure that you understand not just the art of what you are pursuing, but also the commercial realities. Your creativity can only be realised as a functioning business if there is a strong foundation behind it.