If there were a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet would be wearing Kalaurie. A womenswear label by Melbournian and label namesake Kalaurie Karl-Crooks, Kalaurie’s collections are at once whimsical and daring, simultaneously modern and an ode to clothing of the past. Kalaurie creates darkly romantic garments in beautiful fabrics, featuring dramatic sleeves, smartly tailored lines and the occasional well-placed ruffle. Environmentally conscious, Kalaurie is one of the growing number of designers set on embodying ethical production values in all that they do. In an industry where the entire design and manufacturing process can take as little as a week, Kalaurie is a champion of the slow fashion movement, choosing to make each garment to order. We chatted to her about the creativity process and the importance of changing the way we think about buying clothes.
Tell us the journey of Kalaurie.
I always wanted to do my own thing and be my own boss, so after finishing my fashion degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2016, I decided to take the plunge & start my own label. I've created a space of openness to just see where things take me and to enjoy highs and lows of the journey.
What is unique about the fashion industry in Melbourne in your opinion?
There's so much variety & so much support for independent designers. Awareness on issues of ethics and sustainability in the industry is really uplifting and the consumers are very informed.
Who do you see wearing Kalaurie?
The Kalaurie woman is emotional, focused, demure and nostalgic of bygone times.
What does slow fashion mean to you and how do you engage in this movement?
For me, slow fashion is challenging everyone’s obsession with newness & instant gratification. Bringing people back to a state of thoughtfulness and consciousness that overrides consumerism. Within my practice, it's about a traditional craftsmanship based approach to the creation of clothing and keeping everything in house.
Why is ethical fashion so important?
The global fashion industry is in a state of being incredibly toxic and unethical to both the planet & people working within it. It's important to bring back positive intention and ensure that we aren't compromising the future by supplying the world with something which is essentially an unnecessary luxury. It's also important for us to educate the consumers on current issues and provide them with transparency so that they can make people decisions.
When do you feel the most creative and what/who inspires you?
I can feel creative at any point during the day depending what I am doing. I'm most creative when I allow myself to slow down and think without having the distraction of screens and the influence of what other people are doing.
I am inspired by emotion and personal experience- channelling whatever I have going on at that time into work which is intimate and authentic. I am inspired by music, classical art, period fashion, cinema & storytelling.