the perfect wardrobe / 10


I wanted to introduce a new venture of the perfect wardrobe series where I am inviting others to contribute to the conversation happening here about curating a perfect wardrobe. After all, we constantly learn from each others journeys. So today I am happy to introduce Kieley Kimmel. Kieley is a textile and clothing designer living in LA. She has a beautiful eye for designing garments with rich texture and a elegant use of color. And today she is going to share with us a bit more about her love for color and how to incorporate color into any wardrobe.  

Tell us a bit more about your love for color and how you developed that relationship-

Before becoming a textile and clothing designer, I consider myself a painter. Painting is a part of my everyday life, and I tend to imagine almost everything as if it we're a painting. Color + material lay the foundation for my creative process.

I've been drawn to the arts since I was very young. In middle school, I was most interested in art classes and went on to study traditional oil painting + drawing in high school. I spent a lot of time just mixing oil paints + colors around in the basement of my house, even though I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. I had the opportunity to work under an amazing teacher and painter at Parson's for one summer during high school, who taught me more complex color theory. This is where I confirmed my love of color + painting.

My mother was an interior designer for several years and I spent a lot of time studying the fabrics and textile collections she stored in her office. This is most likely where my obsession with pattern and texture originated. 

I went on to study everything I could at Rhode Island School of Design - Painting, Fashion, and graduated in Textiles Design.

What process do you personally go through before selecting to adopt a color/pattern into your personal wardrobe and clothing designs?

In terms of fashion and my personal wardrobe, I like to think of each outfit/textile/knit swatch as a painting as well. Mixing textures, fibers, and color to create an interesting composition. Something that makes you think and look twice. I'm drawn to colors found in the natural world. I feel that these colors are honest colors and calm to the soul, as our lives are all so hectic these days. I prefer wearing comforting and soothing colors, and tend to mainly use these types of colors in my designs. I'll also always wear minimal black + white pieces, because they are most flattering and provide an easy elegance that I prefer. I try to incorporate some version of black in each collection, but try to add a texture or wash to the fabric, here and there. 

My design process develops quite organically- I draw inspiration from various theoretical essays, books, spaces and sense of place. I interpret most of these concepts abstractly, and use color and material to enhance my concept. The colors must always go back to my concept. I also collect found objects and landscapes as visual reference. For example, the new "Landscape Sweater" from Fall14 was based on a Sand Dollar found at Malibu beach, that had an incredibly diverse and rich texture. 

I begin each KK collection with a loose color palette, and let the fabrics/textures inform what colors should go together in the end. I challenge myself to create multiple color hues within one fabric by changing the textural surface.

What type of prints do you feel are the most flattering? 

Believe it or not, I have a very difficult relationship with Prints. Prints are very personal, and can make or break an outfit/collection. I believe abstract, small motif, painterly prints are the most flattering. Conceptual prints draw my attention and are exciting to develop, because they tell a story or convey an idea, but these are often not as easy to wear. It's about finding a balance. I don't want my clients to literally look like they are wearing a piece of art- that's too intense for me. But I do want them to look and feel unique. My print process is usually based on a found image or photograph i take myself. The "Raindrop Print" from SS14 is based on the an image I took of concrete after a desert storm in Marfa, TX - a time-lapse of rain gradually hitting the concrete, and becoming increasingly more grey. The "Heat Print" from Fall14, is based on an overexposed polaroid image my mother took in the 1980's. It is split down the middle perfectly into 2 opposing color fields.

Do you personally keep your clothing designs more minimal in silhouette so that they can be more of a canvas for beautiful colors and prints?

Yes, definitely. Sometimes pattern making can become too fussy. I like to enhance the fabric, because this is my favorite part of fashion, and suggest a flattering shape through the print marks + colors themselves.

Does your daily uniform usually involve color or print? 

Yes, almost always. But sometimes I get lazy, and just wear black or white :)


Thanks Kieley for all the beautiful insights!