Interview with Leslie Kinson of Blackberry Maverick, a featured designer at our summer fashion market Splash, happening Sunday, June 26th!
What were your obsessions growing up?
I was obsessed with exploring the outdoors (I grew up on a farm) as well as all kinds of art, from gardening to acrylics, to watercolor, to sculpture, to sketching and ultimately making clothing.
How did fashion become the symbol for your creative expression?
My town growing up was a tiny farm town in Vermont where my high school class had only 92 students from the entire county. Fashion for me was a was to stand out and express my individuality in a atmosphere with such a lack of diversity. At home it allowed me to spend time with my mother, learning all of her skills and at school it allowed me to get out of the boring classes in order to do creative projects instead.
Do you see a stylistic connection between the things you do in your daily life that is reflected into your collections?
Absolutely. I love being on the forefront of everything and I love to be noticed! Whether through my personality as a waitress, the way I decorate my home and the environment I create for my friends and industry co workers, to the restaurants I frequent and the food and drinks I consume. I am drawn color and texture in everything and always strive to be that girl that people look at and want to know.
What is your research process like before starting a collection?
I always design with the BMAV fearless female in mind, “You are smart, savvy, confident…and emerging as a woman in the world with a strong sense of self. Whether you are 20 or 40 You want to be able to express who you are through the clothing that you choose to wear. To, “Be Noticed” is a state of mind that will inspire our women to radiate their inner light. We want you to embody the bold, sensational woman who is electrified by being the center of attention”
Then, I research a few things simultaneously in order to come to an initial collection. Fabric type, colors/testures/prints and silhouettes and design elements I gravitate towards that are fresh and exciting and inspire me to design around them as well as speak to the woman I am designing for.
From there, I make things! I am untraditional in the sense that I don’t make a mood board, then sketch, then draft patterns etc. I get fabrics I want and sketch a few design elements and from there I start draping in the actual fabrics and build on a dress form. I won’t build whole pieces, just elements, maybe work out the drape of a pant leg, or the structure of a shoulder. Then from there I figure out which silhouettes, which design elements and which fabrics will go with what and start building a cohesive collection around the story I am trying to tell.
How has fashion impacted you?
Fashion is my life really. It exudes from me and consumes me. I have tried for many reasons to give it up at different stages in my life but I always end of coming back to it. It was four years ago now that I started Blackberry Maverick and I devote every ounce of my energy to growing and developing my brand and honing in my ability to create pieces that truly speak to the BMAV woman.
What is your opinion on the fashion scene in Denver from a designers perspective?
I am excited about the growth I have seen over the past 10 years and feel that we are carving out a legitimate name for ourselves. It is fantastic to be able to manufacture locally and to have customers who support local manufacturing and sustainable fabrics. It is also wonderful to be able to work with eager individuals making names for themselves in the design arena as well as in photography, modeling, hair and makeup.