We conducted a telephone with Ms. Kelsey McIntyre to discuss her line Serendipity, her bridal collections and what’s to come. Â Kelsey presented as energetic, well-spoken and genuine. Â We enjoyed her so much, that after we hung up with her, Row and I both said at the same time “I just love her!” Â Too funny! Â Here are some of the highlights of our discussion.
A Pleasury: WhatÂ are the inspirations behindÂ Serendipity? We notice that there is some definite female english novelist influence.
Kelsey McIntyre: Yes definitely.Â Serendipity is born out of what I love.Â I’m a Jane Austen fan.Â I love romance movies, vintage clothing and stuff like that.Â It’s just born out of what my passions and interests are.Â I design clothes that I would want to wear.
A Pleasury: That being said, is there an age group or demographic you target with these pieces?
Kelsey McIntyre: I do target the 20 to 35 year old range, but you get some girls who are a bit younger and who have a great sense of style who wear it too. Â I have women who are older than 35 who also wear my stuff.Â My aunt, who just turned 50, loves wearing my clothes too.Â It tends to be a bit more classic and timeless in the sense that if it suits your fancy you can wear it, but I do keep in mind women who are roughly in my age bracket too.
A Pleasury: Will you be showcasing your Spring/Summer 2011 line or your Fall/Winter 2011 lineÂ during WCFW in March? Â Or will it be bridal wear?
Kelsey McIntylre: It will be Fall/Winter 2011. Â I always end off my shows with some more fun fantasy pieces. Â I like to end with a wedding dress and show cocktail dresses and ball gowns.Â It’s fun to do a few pieces that are artwork pieces.
A Pleasury: How does this Spring/Summer collection differ from last year’s?
Kelsey McIntyre: Well, Spring 2010 was more seashore inspired.Â It was more “Grace Kelly at the beach”.Â It was a bit frillier and I had more chiffon and wispy fabric.Â With Spring 2011, the inspiration was childhood memories.Â I grew up on a farm and so it was just the idea of playing dress up or having tea parties in the field, or riding your bike down a dirt road.Â So the fabrics were more durable fabrics so I have a lot of cottons and I found some adorable vintage toy print.Â My favourite piece from 2011 is the wrap dress.Â It’s called “It’s a Wrap.”Â The print is a retro toboggan print which is my little tongue in cheek thing of having a summer dress with toboggans on it.
A Pleasury: Oh that’s so cute! We love that nostalgia and that you try to inject a bit of who you are into your designs.Â We see a lot of strength and feminity coming out of your pieces.Â Is there a feeling or emotion that you hope to evoke through your designs?
Kelsey McIntyre: I think you could sum it all up in: Â Just being beautiful no matter who you are, what size you are or what shape you are.Â Just feeling beautiful when you put on a piece of clothing.Â Expressing you who are and who you want the world to see.Â That kind of sums it all up.
A Pleasury: What do you hope to get from showcasing your designs at Western Canada Fashion Week and how many times have you presented with WCFW in the past?
Kelsey McIntyre: I won the very first Emerging Designer contest, which was Spring 2006 I think. Â I’m starting to get old!Â (laughs).Â I didn’t show a collection immediately following it.Â I actually waited a year to show a full collection. Â In the very first Emerging Designer contest I was the only entrant, which is kind of why I won it…there was no one to compete against (laughs).Â I ended up submitting a piece for the second emerging designer contest as well.Â I wasn’t sure if doing a line was quite where I wanted to go because my passion coming out of school had been to do bridal, but it’s really difficult in Edmonton to launch a bridal line.Â So I was toying with the ideas, “Do I launch a bridal line or do I do a ready to wear line?” Â I actually waited a full year and did a bridal show inÂ Spring 2007 and took that summer to decide “Okay, where do I want to go from here?”Â Everyone loved the bridal lineÂ but nobody bought it, so it was like “What’s the next step?” Â I thought it over and launched the Serendipity line in Fall 2007. That’s one of the reasons it’s called Serendipity, it wasn’t something I had really been planning on doing, it just kind of happened and everything fell into place and it was serendipitous!
The goal with showcasing with WCFW is to expose the line.Â I love being able to be creative and not just do the clothing.Â It’s the background, putting together the powerpoint, visual presentation, finding music, choreographing and adding props and styling.Â It’s a lot of fun for me as a designer to be able to be a bit more creative in that sense too.Â Seeing people’s reactions to it is also great, and to hear what people loved about it as well.Â It helps build up that portfolio of gaining exposure and saying “Okay, i’m not just a one time wonder, I can present season after season and do a consistent collection that has a similar feel and the same quality and that I have the consistency to stay around for a while”.
A Pleasury: What is your feeling in regards to Edmonton and fashion?Â Do you feel the city is fashion conscious?Â Do you experience challenges designing and selling in this market?
Kelsey McIntyre: We’re becoming fashion conscious.Â I graduated from Marvel in 2002. Â Compared to where we are now in 2011 is a huge difference.Â We aren’t completely fashion conscious, that’s not our sole focus, but the population is definitely awakening to the fact that there is a fashion scene here in Edmonton and becoming more aware of supporting local designers and knowing that we’re here.Â I think for the longest time there were designers in Edmonton but nobody really knew about them.
The biggest challenge is being able to sell to enough stores while still being able to produce what I need to.Â It’s kind of a vicious cylce.Â Right now it’s just me doing the drafting, sewing and producing… so being able to produce enough to sell to a lot of stores in order to be able to continue doing what I’m doing.Â It’s this whole cycle of “I need to sell more clothes to make more money, but there’s only just me producing the clothes.”Â It’s a matter of trying not to spread yourself too thin and still being able to have the quality.Â I wouldn’t want to sell a garment that’s going to fall apart, so having to keep your quality standard up while being able to produce more.Â It gets better.Â You kind of learn what to do and what not to do, what your limits are, how fast you can do things and what kind of timeline you need to prep for.
A Pleasury: Which stores are carrying your lines?Â Is the online shop the best place to buy?
Kelsey McIntyre: Meese here in Edmonton is carrying them. I’m not sure which locations are carrying my stuff because they’ve got 2 now.Â They’ve got the St. Albert one and the 124th Street location.Â I’m launching this Spring at Eleven Eleven in Calgary, they just picked me up so that’s exciting.Â Then I have the Velvet Room Boutique in Vancouver and Victoire in Ottawa.
A Pleasury: Wow, good for you! Â Congratulations!
Kelsey McItyre: Thank you.Â And then of course there is the online store for anyone who is not located in those cities.
A Pleasury: What do the next few years look like for Serendipity?Â What is next on the horizon?
Kelsey McIntyre: In the immediate future, I’m doing Ottawa Fashion Week in March, which is actually a week before Western Canada Fashion Week.Â That’s a big step for me, getting more exposure out East which is really exciting.Â So that’s kind of the next big step for me and really from there I would love to be able to expand in the sense that I could even hire someone to be an assistant and to gain a store in Toronto and Halifax and go right across Canada and to hit Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon in the middle so I’m represented in each province, which would be great.Â That’s the goal, to expand so that I’m in every province.Â For now I’ll stick with the online store.Â It’s a great way to sell to people who live in cities where Serendipity is not yet sold.Â There’s always in the back of my mind the idea of launching a bridal collection. I still do custom bridal and I do bridesmaids dresses and grads just to wet my appetite on that end because that is still my passion. Â I love doing the bridal and formal wear.
A Pleasury: Is your focus primarily in the bridal collections or the Ready to Wear?Â In an ideal world would you be working solely on bridal wear?
Kelsey McIntyre: In an ideal world I could do it all (laughs).Â When I started out, my passion was to do just bridal wear, that’s all I wanted to do.Â And then having Serendipity be born out of this need where it was kind of harder to do bridal. Â But I’ve really fallen in love with my Serendipity pieces so I don’t think I could ever give them up and switch to be only bridal.Â I’d love to be able to add bridal to it as well and do both.Â In an ideal world I could do it all.
A Pleasury: What designers and style icons do you most admire?
Kelsey McIntyre: That’s a long list!Â You’ve got your classic screen icons from the 50s and 60s, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly for that classic, timeless beauty that never really goes out of fashion.Â It wasn’t just the clothes they wore, it was their attitudes and the gentleness of spirit that they had.Â On the designing end of it, some of myÂ heroes are Vera Wang, who is doing it all which is great.Â Stella McCartney and just the idea that she is a working mom.Â I’d love to be able to do that one day you know, get married and have kids as well.Â Vivienne Westwood, for being daring and doing things that nobody expected to do, which is great.Â And then of course you have the classics, Chanel and Dior, again falling under that timeless category.Â I mean where would our fashion world be without Chanel and Dior? Â And they are still around today being innovative and moving our fashion industry forward, which is fantastic.
A Pleasury: Tell us a bit about your experience with Flare Magazine.
Kelsey McIntyre: It was excessively exciting (laughs).Â It was after my Spring 2011 show last September. Â The writer Misty came up to me afterwards and said “I was sent here by my editor to watch the show and pick my favorite of the night and I pick you.”Â I was so flattered to be chosen and there were 3 other amazing designers that night and to have her choose my collection to feature was just such a compliment that I had not expected.Â She asked me a few questions like: what was your inspiration and who wears your pieces and all that. Â I emailed her some of the photos from the shoot we had done so they would have a visual to show as well.Â It was so exciting.
A Pleasury: What message or advice do you have for upcoming designers?
Kelsey McIntyre: Do what you love.Â Thats a big thing because regardless of what happens around you, if you can consistently stay true to who you are andÂ what you love to do, you won’t get burnt out as fast as someone who is constantly trying to please everybody else.
A Pleasury: Can you give us a sneak peek of what your next collection (Fall Winter 2011) will look like?
Kelsey McIntyre: I can give you a teaser of what Fall/Winter 2011 is inspired by.Â It’s an inspiration cross-over between Narnia and owls.
A Pleasury: Ooooh (gushing shamelessly).Â Stacey is the biggest Narnia fan.
Kelsey McIntyre: I love Narnia, I mean I’ve read the books like millions of times.Â In The Silver Chair there is the Parliament of Owls and then combining that with watching the very first Harry Potter movie and there’s the scene where all the owls come to deliver the mail.Â I saw all that and I thought “Owls are just incredibly beautiful.” Â I started researching more about owls and the different species. Â In Fall/Winter 2011 there will be hints of feathers and some texture and nordic prints.
A Pleasury: This has been our absolute pleasure and thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today Kelsey!
Check out Kelsey’s show on Thursday March 31, 2011 at the TransAlta Arts Barns
Photography by Tara Corneau; All photos are from Kelsey McIntyreâ€™s Spring Summer 2011 line.