As the leaves have started to fall from the trees and my car has begun to gather frost overnight, we (the 'fashion industry') have antithetically started to look towards Summer 2012-13. Here at Always Sometimes Anytime we've been interviewing designers here and abroad as they release their collections for this season and our first subject is Kirsha Witcher, who will be showing her range at a mini show next week alongside Juliette Hogan and Alexandra Owen, called 'Blue Sky', next week. She discusses her brand, the industry-at-large and gives us a sneak, Hawaiian-oriented peak at what we can expect.
You recently re-located to Australia: how are you finding it? How have you settled into the Australian industry?
So far so good, people here are very friendly and willing to help us find our way around setting up again, Im finding the good weather and super freindly people Ive met equates to enjoying the new space Im in, SS 2012-13 is selling in Australia at the moment and really makes a difference when Im at an appointment with my agents Paul Maloney Fashion Agents Jon and Lylle, lots of fun so far!!!
Now that you live there, what are the major differences you've noticed between the aesthetic of Australia and New Zealand designers?
Colour! Australians dress for the weather and environment so there's colour everywhere and they move in major trends. New Zealand have an underground dark asthetic - cool and dark. The two countries are so different!
So, tell me a little bit about SS2012-13. What was the starting point?
The starting point was designing the first floral Salasai has ever used. I watched the movie Casino and was moved by Sharon Stone's amazing performance, so I made her in that movie my muse. It's set in late seventies so the print has a seventies floral wallpaper feel to it. The rest derived from there, using pink as a pop colour was fun and works really well, there's a first time for everything!
What were you - fashion or otherwise - inspired by when designing the SS2012-13 collection?
Modern minimalism, colour and simplicity. By using the hand drawn floral we were able to extract colour play on brights. We have also played on the idea of old rural American country kids as we have in the past by bringing in the overalls and overall dresses for fun. The garments themselves we've kept simple and minimal; simple detailing was key for us pairing back to good classic Salasai pieces we know will sell well.
What are your favourite pieces from the SS2012-13 collection?
1.Overalls in perennial print
2.Pink Dead Garden Dress
3.Field Dress in Cream/natural
More generally, Salasai always has an intellectual countenance to their collections. Why do you think this is important as a designer in an industry that can at times seem frivolous?
The brand needs to have a soul and a personality, I like to know we are introducing our customers to something that they want to be a part of. A lot of thought goes into the concept and its development; the shapes are important, silhouettes are key to the final image of whole collection. We don't want to be known as a fad or trend-based label as those labels come and go: this is why it is so important to know what your brand is about.
How would you describe Salasai's overall shtick?
Thought provoking, assertive and androgynous, Salasai has a strong personality, aesthetically pleasing unisex pieces with submissive moments of prettiness.
Who is your ideal Salasai wearer AND if you were to dress a celebrity, who would it be?
Celebrity Male - Michael Pitt
Celebrity Female - Jamie Bochert, I love this couple!
What are the future plans with the label?
Expanding internationally is key for us moving forward.
The fashion industry seems to be in constant flux lately. As chain stores steal and reproduce runway trends almost as quickly as they're released, High Street brands are struggling. How do you feel about this paradigm?
In today's climate its all about the cost. It would be hard for those not making offshore (I know) but I think there is still a general buzz around independent designers. Who wants to be seen in chain store attire? It's all about mixing it up and getting key pieces from designers you just have to have.
What other problems do you think the fashion industry faces at the moment?
Retail seems to be on the up and up. Retailers have had problems with the current financial climate therefore making it hard for designers to get paid as well and so on, but maybe the worst is behind us, and we can look to a brighter future with independent retailers.