As a 16-year-old working in a Toronto department store, Kelley Derrett had dreams of working in the fashion industry. If you told her that she would be traveling the world as a savvy businesswoman and launching her namesake brand in the Spring of 2014…she might not believe you. Fast forward to present day and she has done just that. After years in the Fashion business managing brands and directing teams, Kelley has taken the leap and offers her own sensibility in design through products she loves.
“My collection mirrors my personal approach to dressing and complements the lives of sophisticated, modern, and well-travelled women,” says Kelley. “The line embraces a modern approach to dressing, focusing on clean, meaningful cuts while recognizing the seasons’ most relevant trends, and with an eye to sustainability.”
Fashion’s Eye to the Earth
Her focus on environmentally minded fashion makes her Spring collection unique and a celebration of the season of renewal. The search for sustainable fabrics has taken Kelley to Turkey, India and China where she works with farming communities and mills to create new and interesting fabrics and yarns that have an element of sustainability.
“I have amazing long term relationships with various factories in China and India. It all begins with a good quality yarn or piece of fabric. You need to be experienced to the touch and feel a yarn or fabric and know it will translate into a wonderful quality garment.”
And experience is something she is not lacking. Kelley launched an athletic-lounge line under the name ‘greenclothing’ in 2007, proving that designers can create garments with a social conscience and a healthier option for the growers and the surrounding communities. This began the introduction process to brands in Canada and the UK. What followed were sustainable fashions being launched by brands such as Monsoon, Pink Tartan, Roots, Joe Fresh and Jessica at Sears.
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend in sustainability, the goal in which is to create a system that can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility.
From Start to Fashion
The overall process of creating her collection took four to five months. Beginning with market research, where she visited and shopped her way around various cities to developing the perfect fabric and yarns. From there came style development including sketching, technical and working with the factories on proto-samples and final production.
“It is about more than one garment, but an assortment of styles that create a story,” says Kelley.
That story is inspired by Miuccia Prada, Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney. “Miuccia Prada is always ahead of the pack and her experience gives her so much credibility,” says Kelley. “New and emerging designers like Alexander Wang provide an edge to the business and Stella McCartney’s maturity dresses women as women. I hope to express that with my own collection.”
The Kelley Derrett Spring 2014 line celebrates the season. Colors include updated cobalt, coral and hydrangea, an enchanting shade of purple, emerges anchored by essential black. Silhouettes include the continuation of asymmetrical shapes plus long dresses, tunic length sweater knits and baseball style influences.
The line also included capes, hi-low hems and introduces the new midi length (sitting just below the knee) in skirts, dresses and knit bottoms. Sweater knits feature open stitches in pointelle and mesh patterns and shaker stitches bring back a sense of history. Our favorite slub yarns offer texture while viscose blends provide shine and elegance. The modal jersey blends support sustainability for a well-rounded collection every woman will love.
Toronto is a city of varied cultures, resulting in a more sophisticated European influenced style of dress making it the perfect location for the Kelley Derrett line to call home.
“It is the business of fashion, so you need to be creative but grounded,” advises Kelley for those who hope for a future in the industry.
What does the future hold for Kelley? Her goal is to expand her namesake brand from an online presence to a permanent street front location as well…and many more dreams. Only time will tell for this talented designer.
“Some designers feel they are artists…I like the design element of fashion.”
To learn about hosting a trunk show with Kelley or to check out the Kelley Derrett Spring collection visit www.kelleyderrett.com.