A couple of weeks ago we sat down with Fiona Kennedy in one of Glasgow’s most popular haunts. The 60s inspired glam rock vibe of Fiona’s fashion brand ‘Kennedy Designs’ was immediately apparent as Fiona herself emulates this style in her outfit. With a bright and passionate energy we got chatting about the inspiration behind Kennedy Designs.
After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2016, Fiona faced the all too well known struggle of graduate life. She tells us she began looking for jobs within the fashion industry but after realising these opportunities were sparse, decided to start her own fashion based ventures. She opened her own studio within a company named Fashioned In Glasgow, near Merchant City. Fiona tells us that she started loving the 60s/70s vibe when she was around 16 years old, everything from the rolling stones to David Bowie she couldn’t get enough of – inspiring her incredibly glam and unique David Bowie dress featured on her Instagram. Fiona feels icons from this era that drive her creativity include Bowie and Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones adding that she loves the peacock appeal of Jones.
We asked Fiona if she can remember when she first noticed her creativity and what made her chase a career in this industry. To our delight – she can and tells us that she has always drawn since she was young. She then shocks us by revealing she was the only one in her year at school who wanted to do advanced higher art. Not so shocking you might think, but the catch was that she had to teach herself. However, she passed which we can definitely believe after seeing her artistic designs.
Fiona told us that she would absolutely die if she saw Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine wearing her designs and When asked what she feels makes a ‘Kennedy girl’ tells us she believes band and rocky type girls fit this category and she wants girls to feel “fabulous as fuck” when wearing her designs as they have a very sassy appeal to them, and after learning that Fiona has styled Izzy from the band Black Honey who are supporting the Royal Blood on their tour, we definitely agree. She also says she would love to work with more bands and music videos as well as collaborating with other creative industries such as film.
We were very interested to learn more about the design and creative process of Fiona’s work and whether she has a strict design process or if she just lets things inspire her. In response to this question she says that she loves scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration as well as doing some self-led research. She tells us that for her upcoming collection in particular she was inspired by Pamela de Barres who, among many other things, was a rock and roll groupie. Which led Fiona to be interested in what other groupies around her time may have worn. When working in the creative industries it can sometimes be difficult to find inspiration. Fiona works around this by giving herself a week to design everything so she doesn’t over think. Once her designs are complete she can then organise the fabric and manufacturing of the designs. She tells us she has an excellent and dedicated go-to creative team from other disciplines of the creative industry. Consisting of; model Rebecca Murphy, photographers Aaron Bird and Erica Von Stien and finally, makeup artist Yvonne Lynch.
We asked Fiona who her biggest fashion inspiration is overall and she replied that it is Marianne Faithful, stating that she loves the vintage mix ups look and the Victorian style mixed with the sixties looks. Gucci would also be Fiona’s dream collaboration as she tells us: “I love their new stuff that’s out just not because it has a very intriguing 80s mix style going on.”
The fashion industry is super competitive and at times can be gruelling so we asked Fiona what strives her to continue what she’s doing and producing amazing designs. To which she replies: “The vintage appeal of my work mostly, not a lot of big brands have the same style so I’m trying to make my designs a bit different to mainstream.” When asked about setbacks she has experienced she reveals that she was never accepted into art school as they felt she was too young and inexperienced. However, Fiona has proved to everyone that when there are no opportunities for young creative minds, you must create your own! She admits that funding and finance will be a problem at the beginning, but you have to learn to be smart with your money. So with this we asked her: “Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking of starting their own brand?” Her reply is: “It’s a bit daunting at first but there is help out there. Work spaces are expensive so if you go to London you’ll have no money and will be working for someone else in a small space. After moving out of my studio space in the city centre and converting my garage, I am saving so much money which I can put back into my designs and I am working for myself and doing my own thing which is amazing.”
So what will happen in the future for Kennedy Designs you may ask? Well, Fiona’s goals are to open a permanent shop in Glasgow before expanding the full brand into department stores across the UK.
To round off the interview, we asked Fiona what three things are her must haves in a working day at Kennedy Designs. She replied, “Glitter, tea breaks and my puppy.” And for those wondering, her puppy is a Labradoodle named Buddy! Lastly, we asked her favourite motivational quote which she told us is, “Just fucking do it or fuck it”. Straight and to the point. We like it.
Catch Kennedy Designs Pop up store at the Barras Art and Design Centre (BAAD) in Glasgow on the 4th of November.
Kennedy Designs will also feature at the ID Pop up store at the Lighthouse in Glasgow on the 16th and 17th of December.
Name – Fiona Kennedy
Brand – Kennedy Designs
Age – 22
Place of Study – Glasgow Caledonian University; Fashion Business Degree
Location – Glasgow
Social media – @kennedy_design_
Website – www.kennedy_design.net