Q: How did West 14th come to life?
A: West 14th took shape in early 2012. After completing a 40 day yoga challenge and dedicating time to exploring what my next career move would be, it became very clear that I was finally ready and confident enough to pursue a life-long goal to start my own label. The aesthetics seemed to have been predisposed from my years of planning for this moment after rummaging old sketchbooks, inspirational images, and textile swatches. Leather has always been a passion of mine and so is the focus point for West 14th. Leather represents the 'investment' element of West 14th. I want our customer to invest in a timeless piece with a twist that they could wear for years to come and feel confident and empowered. I had this vision of a leather collection made of a variety of textures and treatments worn as layers. Our first collection arrived to stores in February 2013 and the real adventure began!
Q: What is the inspiration behind the latest collection?
A: The new Autumn/ Winter 2015 collection, Wanderlust, was inspired by a trip through South America. I had three distinct cultural experiences that were shaped into strong themes for the collection. My journey started in Peru. Climbing to the top of Machu Picchu, I was overwhelmed by the sea of green trees surrounding us. We took this visual and developed forest green leather to hero the collection. Landing in Argentina I was struck by the richness of earthy hues found in the land formations that had similarities to the Grand Canyon. The deep redness of the sand influenced the West 14th exclusive malbec colour. Moving onto Brazil my momentary sighing of a wild Jaguar in its natural environment took me by surprise. A burning visual of the way the Jaguar’s spots moved when in motion repeated in my mind. This translated into a smaller version of the Jaguar spots being hand embossed onto trims and sleeves. The collection combines the visual memories of this adventure whilst making the styles relevant to an urban women’s winter wardrobe.
Q: What trends are you seeing with leather?
A: We are seeing variety of treatments on leather like embossing, stone washing and foil. Suede is having its moment this season too. We actually combine the foil trend with suede to create a lightweight fringe jacket. What I love are the non-black colours. It’s all about the deep green, burgundy and beige and feel like that is the new black as we head into winter.
Q: What are your absolute must-have pieces from the collection available at David Jones?
A: My top 3 pieces are The Greenwich Motor Jacket, The Bedford Tank and West Broadway Legging. It’s our go-to pieces all women should have in their wardrobes.
Q: What does a typical week usually look like?
A: Feels like no week looks alike! Besides for our weekly business meeting with the team each week’s focus changes during the season. Currently we are finalizing the marketing and shipping details for our Autumn/ Winter collection, Wanderlust. We are coordinating the visual references and creative team for the next collection’s photo shoot. We are working with our sales team on the schedule for showing this new Spring/ Summer 2015 collection to buyers in Australia and New York, whilst working with production on fittings and sampling. It’s turning into a busy couple of weeks!
Q: How do you balance design and function when coming up with new designs?
A: The balance of design and function may be a bit easier for West 14th as most of our pieces are modern classics. We approach the design of a new piece with the women, where she is going and the end-use of the piece constantly being considered. We find this process makes it easier to create a functional piece.
Q: What are the most important things to consider when shopping for leather pieces?
A: I like to remind customers that leather is a textile that ‘gives.’ It will mold to your body the longer you wear the piece. Knowing this, I design the sleeves to our jackets slim, as the jacket molds to your body the sleeves will always remain sharp and slim. The softer the leather the move likely it will ‘give’ more then a stiffer leather. In some cases buy your piece snug, as it will give and shape to your body overtime.
Something else to consider is a leather piece will ‘age.’ So depending on the frequency of wears and how you maintain the piece, it may ‘age’ more. I personally love this aspect of leather; it gives more character to the piece! Lighter colours may show the ‘aging ‘more then darker colours.
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