Growing up surrounded by the beautiful landscapes and unique culture of Australia, designer Kira Pizzingrilli felt a creative inspiration from a young age. Her current design aesthetic consists of feminine prints and fashion forward shapes and tailoring. In her inaugural collection, Sweet Escape, she draws inspiration from the traveler at heart and custom prints starting from her own sketches and watercolors. Kira’s unique, custom fabric designs are perfect for the modern young women, growing up in a world full of wanderlust. See what Kira has to share about life as an emerging Aussie designer and reading the labels.
How and why did you start designing?
I always had an interest in art and creating things. In high school, I would buy second hand clothes to alter. I guess it was this curiosity about garment construction that lead me to study Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE. One of my favorite classes was printmaking. I was so excited when I realized you could put your own print design to fabric. There’s just something so much more personal about it, you’re really putting a piece of yourself out there!
What is it like as an independent designer in Australia?
In a few words – fun, challenging, rewarding, exciting. In a few more words – I love what I do and Australia is such a supportive community for independent businesses. We want to see each other succeed. It can be really challenging in any country as an emerging designer. The greatest hurdle is getting your name out there and getting noticed. The Australian fashion industry is really a baby compared to the US or Europe but our unique and relaxed culture is the perfect backdrop for creatives to thrive and construct really interesting designs that I think could rival international fashion standards. We also have such beautiful and varied landscapes that feed the imagination.
What do you think about fashion today?
I think fashion and trends today are the most open to interpretation that they have ever been. People are not following trends so carefully anymore; it is more about finding what pieces excite you and making them work with your own personal style. Also, positive body image is so important in the fashion world at the moment as the industry is becoming more inclusive and aware of its’ influence. We are being encouraged now to stay true to who we are and own it. What better way to express that than through the clothes you put on your body!
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
When designing a new collection, it can be difficult trying to force creativity and inspiration. To simplify the process, I like to take it easy for a day or two, read magazines, listen to music and look at old travel photos. It is always a good time designing a new range; it is my favorite part of the production process. I love feeling inspired, designing new prints, and creating garments from concept drawings – it’s so satisfying. A good sketch book is never too far from me.
Once I have a good idea of how I want the collection to feel, I begin collecting inspiration images, trend research and ideas. I then start pattern making, testing, and sample making until I have a piece I’m completely happy with. Add in the occasional meltdown and that’s the creative process!
Social media is also a great source of inspiration, with all of the fashion and lifestyle bloggers nowadays you don’t have to go far to receive postcards from all around the globe. Often I use google to look up images and artworks that fit my chosen theme. I also subscribe to a fashion forecasting magazine.
What is your fashion philosophy?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy fashion and the opportunity to express yourself through your style. There is nothing more fun than creating outfits that make you look and feel like the person you want to be that day.
How has your design changed over time?
My design aesthetic is constantly changing and evolving over time as I learn new styles and techniques. I love to experiment to keep things fashion forward and interesting.
What inspired your latest collection?
‘Sweet Escape’ draws inspiration from the traveller at heart. I am always dreaming of my next vacation and it was my trip to Hong Kong that sparked my interest in Asian fashion and lifestyle. I love their sense of freedom and quirk whilst maintaining an essence of their culture through prints, silhouettes and interesting shapes. From balmy island escapes to city summer nights, this range is designed to ignite the wanderlust within us all. This collection takes us to far off lands across Asia with the oriental inspired shapes and prints that draw us into a cultural adventure.
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
The biggest hurdle as an emerging designer is getting my brand out there and getting noticed. In an already crowded market you need to have a point of difference to stand out and reach the people who want to wear your designs.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
If you want to work in fashion – be passionate about what you do. If it doesn’t excite you, it’s not worth it. If you like to wear fashion – wear whatever you want, you beautiful hunk of human. Have fun with your style and please read your garments care labels, they’re important.
Plan your next sweet escape today in Kira’s collection.