Rising Dalston fashion star set to have a riot with new collection

Kelly Shaw

Kelly Shaw - Credit: Archant

Class systems and revolutions mixed with a little mischief and fun is what inspires Dalston based fashion designer Kelly Shaw.

Kelly Shaw

Kelly Shaw - Credit: Archant

Working from her living room in Millard Close, Kelly documented just how important issues in today’s world are to her designs.

She started her own fashion label in 2011, having already sold her graduate designs to the likes of Victoria Beckham and Selfridges.

Since then, bold statements on problems such as the obsession with cash has become the core of Kelly’s art, having even compared the worship of dead Chinese leader Chairman Mao to the world’s devotion to money.

“People are constantly anxious about not having money, but there is more to life,” she said.


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“I am inspired about what is going on now.

“Fashion either looks to the past or to the future, but I am more interested in what is happening now and the class system and wars.

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“I am quite idealistic, it’s all about the revolution.”

Kelly’s last collection concentrated on the London Riots and the Occupy Movement, but for the spring/summer 2014, she is looking at the psychology behind why riots take place.

But the seriousness that comes with Kelly’s designs is underplayed with an appealing fun side.

She said: “The inspiration can be quite deep, so a little bit of humour alongside it helps engage people who would not be interested with what is happening in the news.”

The experimentation with society along with the financial difficulties that young designers face has thrown a few obstacles in Kelly’s path.

She said that retailers who have the ability to invest in young designers tend to avoid all risks. She adds: “It’s becoming so boring because it’s all about money and business and less about creativity.

“I do not want to live in a world where there is no choice.”

Sticking to experimental instincts and appealing to a wider market has made it difficult for Kelly to climb the financial ladder as a young designer.

“It’s all about getting the balance,” she said.

“Some are saying I need to be more commercial and it’s really difficult to get that balance.

“But to carry this on I need to sell, I need that middle man, if you listen too much, you’ll become generic, but I am open to try new things.”

Having sold her first collection to British Young Designers, Kelly was able to piece together enough money to fund the spring/summer 2014 collection.

“Fashion needs constant investment, you’re constantly chasing tails,” she said.

Not having the finance needed to fund a show at London Fashion Week last year, Kelly staged her collection through a dramatised protest outside Somerset House.

“You need to be intuitive, when you don’t have enough money, I will do something similar again,” she admits.

And now the young designer has turned to crowd funding website Sponsume in order to cover the costs of her latest collection – and is already nearly half way to achieving her £4,800 goal.

She said: “Sponsume is perfect for the Kelly Shaw brand because it really is power to the people.

“I am totally obsessed with my work.

“Everyone I know will tell you that they haven’t seen me for months because I am chained to my sewing machine.

“I hope that people want to join me in this process of building a grassroots brand from nothing, to do something iconic.

“It’s very difficult to start from scratch in such a corporate world, but I have the passion and determination to break through.”

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