Local resident, fashion designer and Cultural Connector, Kim Stevenson, has been busy lately. She’s gone back to studying, gaining a first in her degree in Fashion Design and has shown her first collection for London Fashion Week. Originally from Melbourne, Kim has lived in Barking for the last 7 years with her 8 year old son.
Kim has a passion for ethical fashion, and has set up her own brand ‘The Autonomous Collections’. She says about her work:
As a child I always had to wear second hand clothes and I hated it. So I started to customise clothes so that it looked deliberate, and as I got older I embraced it more. I’ve always been creative since I was young, I paint and draw, my interest in fashion is how I fuse together the two. I really like crafting and trying to be creative with the clothes.
My collection was inspired by the look of the American Indians, I used techniques like woven fabrics, fringing and fraying. I’ve always wanted to create clothes that went on everybody. When you’re at university you’re told to design for one person, your muse but I fought against that – I want my clothes to be made so that they can be worn by people of all different cultures.
Showing my clothes at London Fashion Week was a good experience, I learnt a lot – even though it was really stressful, I got my funding really late and I only had a couple of weeks to make all my clothes. My sewing machine was out the back the whole time!
Next steps for Kim include gaining some help in dealing with new enquiries and sourcing ethical materials. If you are from Barking and Dagenham, have some free time and would like to gain valuable experience in the fashion industry contact us and we can put you in touch.
Kim is a Cultural Connector for the Creative Barking and Dageham programme. Recently local models wore her London Fashion Week collection at the ‘Fashion Fun Day’ at Barking Learning Centre on February 28th and Kim was also a guest speaker this month at Barking Library during ‘Woman’s Week’.