We’ve said it before but it’s always worth repeating – we love a homegrown success story at SevenStreets. Right now, it seems that every other week there’s a new name to champion. But while all this fresh talent is encouraging, it’s inspiring to look at those who have lasted the distance. And few Liverpool success stories are as impressive as Kirsty Doyle’s.
Doyle first developed an interest in fashion at a young age, growing up in a creative household and describing her area as “the Saville Row of Anfield – three dressmakers in a row lived on my mum’s road”. Her first foray into fashion was on Great Homer Street market, customising t-shirts for her Rapscallion label. But word – and custom – soon spread.
Although nowadays she’s a fully fledged fashionista, she wasn’t immune to the fashion disasters that blight us all through our formative years, “My mum insisted that primary school children didn’t have to wear a school uniform so my sister and I wore our own clothes, including velvet dresses and PE kits I’d like to forget.”
After being handed an entry form to Project Catwalk, an fashion design competition on Sky One, by one of her neighbours, “She gave me the leaflet, I decided to apply as I was off Uni for the summer holidays”, she was chosen as a contestant and after displaying her flair for creating beautiful contemporary pieces, went on to win the competition.
At the age of 18, she had already started to sell her own designs before going on to study fashion both at John Moores and the world renowned Central St Martins, Kirsty saw Project Catwalk as a continuation of her education, “it was an incubator style programme. We didn’t have access to our phones, we didn’t need to worry about rent and we concentrated on the design aspect. The speed which we had to create and finish each garment prepares you for industry whilst the added pressure of the show forces you to grow a thick skin also” as well as introducing her to contacts within the industry that she would forge ongoing relationships with.
Whilst the competition no doubt helped her achieve a greater profile, it was her talent that kept her achieving and able to add to a continuing list of “great moments.” She saw her collection stocked for a number of seasons in uber boutique Cricket, designed a range for Littlewoods and eventually went on to open her own store in Liverpool One. “Each experience still makes me proud of my career.”
Recently she’s begun collaborating with her sister Jessica, a talent print designer. Showcasing a new look for the brand “I never use prints in the collections so Jessica’s prints have given them a completely different angle,” they’ve formed a close working relationship. “I love it when we do a shoot as it’s very personal, just us and the model. I try and scout girls who have never modelled before so it’s important for them to be in a comfortable environment. We work very quickly as we already know what we want to achieve from the shoots, I can say what I want to her and she speaks her mind back.”
The temptation for many once they’ve tasted success is to decamp down to the Big Smoke but Kirsty says that keeping it local has been key to her designs, “My interest in fashion has come from around me, girls in Liverpool have a strong sense of style.”
Although she’s flirted with relocating down south, ultimately it wasn’t for her, “I worked in London for a year and I struggled with my working environment whilst I was there. I like to be around my family and friends, people who are positive and creative.”
As for muses, it’s a stylist’s eye that she looks for, rather than celebrities. “They have a knowledge of clothes and shapes that comes naturally. Catherine Baba, Carine Roitfield and Anna Dello Russo have strong personal style that is photographed by street style photographers whereever they go” and when asked about her dream client, she opts for Bianca Brandolini, “she exudes style.”
And what’s up next? Kirsty has her eye on the bridal sector, currently developing a bridal and bridesmaid concept that’s completely bespoke but available over the internet. She’s just finished the shoot (above) in the Walker Art Gallery – a suitable setting for her sculptural, timeless creations.
With experience in designing occasion wear for wedding guests, she explains, “a previous customer came to me and asked us to create a bespoke wedding dress for her and it’s progressed from there – we now have new brides emailing for private consultations weekly!”
Kirsty’s top three tips to looking good.
– Wear what you feel comfortable in.
– You can never wear too many accessories.
– When it comes to make up, statement eyes OR lips.
Feature portrait: Matt Ford