From Wildfox To Selkie: A Conversation With Kimberley Gordon
Its been quite ride for this UK native/ LA transplant - here's what she had to say....
Twiin: You’ve called your new brand SELKIE, can you tell us about the myth of the selkie and why it has inspired you to create the brand
KG: I grew up with the Selkie myth!! In Irish, Scottish, Icelandic and Scandinavian folklore, the Selkie is a woman of the ocean who lives inside a seal skin. When she comes up to the rocks she slips out of her skin to bask in the sun. If a man is able to steal her skin while she sleeps, she is forced to become his wife and live on land. But, if the selkie finds her skin again, she transforms back into her true form and immediately returns to the sea, free. The Selkie is the perfect representation of women fighting for freedom and equality, searching for our metaphorical skin! We want to be free of constraints and express ourselves openly.
Twiin: Who is the ideal “Selkie” girl - do you have a muse at all?
KG: I think the Selkie girl is an artist! She is someone who appreciates the magic of history, folklore and women. She is definitely supportive of women, in her career and friendships. It’s important to me that women support each other, I feel sad when I hear women competing. There is room for all of us. My muse for Selkie is ever changing, but she is often fantastical like the brand. For resort she was Circe, the Greek God, and for Spring she is my guardian angel, which I believe all my friends are each-others guardian angels.
Twiin: The spring 20 collection is called Heaven on Earth - what’s the story behind it?
KG: In ancient artworks angels are depicted quite often, it was very fashionable to incorporate religious stories and Greek mythology in art. I love this time period, it was very death fearing and I can relate. Death fear has always followed me, I have quite a strong dread and anxiety. I think a lot of it comes from loving being on earth so much… I love my life and friends and feel so lucky. I do believe that I’m surrounded by angels here, that this is heaven. I don’t believe in heaven after death and I wish so much that I did. The collection is a true celebration of life, with colour and friendship and cake and swimming, all these things that make life so beautiful. I wish I could have it forever.
Twiin: Talk to me about the photoshoot - what was the inspiration behind it?
KG: I wanted it to feel nostalgic and almost 80’s, I always nod to nostalgia with Selkie, and after one year of designing I feel I am finally hitting my stride. I wanted the shoot to feel exuberantly fun, with friends you can imagine as your own or as your angels. I pictured a crazy shabby chic 90’s Airbnb the angels might have rented on their week off from God!
Twiin: You were the creator of WIldfox - how do you feel that your design identity has move on since those days?
KG: I started Wildfox when I was just 24, so my style has changed quite a bit lol! For a long time I have wanted to do ready to wear, but I never got the chance with Wildfox. It is quite refreshing to have that opportunity now, and to design fluffy puffy dresses! With Wildfox I always styled the T shirts with beautiful vintage, now I design instead. In 2007 there was no real outward feminist movement in fashion, I didn’t know I was such a feminist until deep into the brand. I learned first hand what it was like to protect young women, and I wanted to make so many changes within Wildfox that I was never permitted to do. By the end I was aching to make a more conscious brand. If I could go to Wildfox now I would absolutely change that aspect.
Twiin: What is your long term ambition for the brand?
KG: Honestly with the UK, being from there, my GOAL is to get a Christmas window somewhere in London, it would be a dream come true. As for the brand itself I want to grow it big and beautiful, because the bigger it gets the more money I have to incorporate even more ethical practices. People don’t understand it is very expensive to be sustainable and my goal would be to have whimsical dreamy clothes that are as sustainable as possible.
Twiin: If there was a message you wanted to communicate with the brand - what would it be?
KG: Don’t be afraid to rip your life apart and start over- to be free of what’s holding you back. Don’t be afraid to be the centre of attention… if only for a night. My dresses get everybody VERY noticed. You deserve to be noticed.
Twiin is all about bringing LA to the UK and the connections that exist between the two - so I wanted to ask you a few questions about LA and your experience of the city… you’re from the UK originally - how did you end up in LA?
KG: This is a long, crazy story but I have my Mother and scientology to thank. I am not a scientologist, but it has shaped the path of my life.
Twiin: Does LA impact your work and your design aesthetic and if so how…
KG: Yes, California is absolutely a lifestyle. A barefoot lifestyle that seeps into everything I do. The lifestyle smells like Jasmine and is covered in hazy smog.
Twiin: What do you love about the city and what do you hate
KG: Love - The people!! The feeling!! The food!! Hate- the traffic. No walking.
Twiin: As an LA insider what’s your favourite restaurant, bar, exercise class, thing to do….
KG: I love too many restaurants, there are so many hidden gems. My favourite restaurant is my home kitchen with all my friends over. I have a big wrap around porch on a second story and we sit out there, staring over Silverlake, drinking vodka and talking fashion, food, politics all night long. I love the fairy hills of East LA. It’s filled with cool people and looks so beautiful at night. You may not see the stars in the sky, but there certainly are stars all over the neighbourhood.
All of the beautiful illustrations in this feature are by Kimberley Gordon