Monday 5th April 2021
'Edita Kelsey is a Fashion Designer and Freelance Illustrator. Studying Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins and the University of Westminster she has worked for a range of international fashion brands. Her most recent AW20 graduate collection has been worn by artists including Mae Muller and Clean Bandit’s Grace Chatto.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think I would say quirky, colourful... well my design style and personal style are slightly different. I wear quite minimalistic clothing focusing on shape and detail - mixing sporty athleisure pieces with more structured classic pieces, I love a trainer and have to feel comfortable. My designs are similar but a bit more garish. A lot of print, colour, and contrasting tight figure-hugging pieces with oversized shapes and contrasting textures. Sportswear is a subtle undertone throughout everything, and I am inspired a lot by early sportswear designs. I find it so interesting - old rugby/hockey/ American football kits because they have got such cool little details.
What made you do fashion design?
It’s not one specific thing but I remember watching programmes like Ugly Betty as a kid and thinking... I wanna go there, I want to work in that colourful place with all those nice clothes and accessories. My family are all creatives and so I was constantly surrounded by art, design and fashion - so if it wasn't fashion, it would have been something creative. I just love clothes and I've always loved clothes. I used to style my Mum before she would go out and be like "Can I judge you?". I would ask her stand in front of me, show me her outfit and I would say Yay or Nay and I was like 6 or 7? I've always made myself clothes, I even made outfits for myself out of paper as a small child.
Where did you get your inspiration from with your bodysuits?
It was mixture of two things - One being migraines, funnily enough, because I always get the visual disturbances; either I can't see anything or what I can see is blurred and colourful. So, the print design came from what I see when I experience a migraine because it can be a quite a disturbing experience. The print was a way of finding comfort in a strange situation. So, it was looking at that and then the comparison of the feeling of being out of control and how to feel protected. I found that within sports clothing, especially clothes for intense physical contact sports, the uniforms are designed to protect them in so many ways both physically and psychologically. I looked at the effects of ‘Enclothed Cognition’ and how significant the impact of the clothing we wear is to our mental state and behaviour.
The two photos above show Mae Miller (left) and Grace Chatto from Clean Bandit (right) wearing Edie's body suit.
What have your learned about the industry so far?
It is an industry like no other. Fashion can be really exciting, innovative and creative but the industry also has issues and areas for improvement. I have worked with a lot of really lovely brands and people but it’s not always as glamorous as people may think! There is still a lot of exploitative unpaid work but brands like Find Your Intern are raising support and awareness of this and encouraging change for those looking to enter the industry. I have been extremely lucky to work for companies that really care about their employees and have treated me really well – during one internship I lived like a Kardashian lol and one of the companies would do things like organise yoga classes during the workday. I think it depends who you're working with and where you go but there is a lot of variation between how you can be treated in this industry. Every day is really exciting, there's always stuff going on to keep you on your toes. Huge movements with sustainable and responsible practices are really encouraging and something that I hope only grows as the industry evolves.
Most memorable moment in your career?
Clean Bandit’s Grace Chatto and Mae Muller wearing my clothes are both really memorable moments – For my clothes to be seen by so many people in a different set up/ context to an ordinary editorial shoot. Moving abroad for work for the first time is another really memorable moment for me, because previously the furthest I had ever moved from home was to London for university and even then, initially I moved in with my Granny. So, when you board a plane on your own to a place you’ve never been before and you don’t speak the language you're just thinking ‘fingers crossed and hope for the best’. I have realised you learn the most when out of your comfort zone. Another proud moment for me would be when I had just started my degree and Marc Jacobs commented on one of my illustration posts on Instagram by saying "WOW" from his own personal account. STUNNED.
Any advice on upcoming fashion designers?
Just go for it! Don’t be afraid to try new things. Get good at all the practical skills, not forgetting digital skills as they are really important. You can learn so much from platforms like YouTube and TikTok. If you can, try to gain as many weird and wonderful work experiences as possible, you learn lots when out of your comfort zone! It’s sometimes easier said than done but just try and remain confident within your own style whatever adversity you face; everyone is different so there will always be people who love your work even if others don’t. It can be quite an intense and personal process, but the most important thing is to enjoy it, have fun, be kind and always back yourself. Stay creative!