Introducing fashion & accessories label KALÉ. Debuting their capsule collection, Equilibrium, the Brisbane-based label (pronounced: KA-LEH) epitomises the processes of fashion through wearable and sensible design. KALÉ is interested in creating interest in the space of absence; exploring the simplification and reduction of space, proportion, light and materiality. The label explores the essence of minimalism; reducing that whilst distilling what appears new perfect.

KALÉ is a re-examination of the minimalist aesthetic with a coalescence to past and current reductive trends. The incredible women behind this latest venture have a razor sharp and unsentimental perspective towards fashion and design, and we had the pleasure to talk to them all about it upon the release of their new and exciting endeavour.

Talk to us about your very first capsule collection.

Rhea (Head Accessories Designer/Co-founder): Our first collection is a capsule collection, called ‘Equilibrium’ - we wanted to counterbalance the difference of high-end fashion trends and ready-to-wear settings. Equilibrium means apposing forces so we wanted to represent that in our collection by creating complex techniques in simple designs.

Christie (Creative Director / Graphic Designer / Co-Founder): Yeah, we really wanted to focus on being fashion forward but having a heightened sense of sensibility and wearability – which can be worn everyday but also still has that high-end feel.
Helena (Head Garment Designer): We wanted to play on the idea of our inspiration of Swedish minimalism but bringing in a sports-luxe feel.

What does KALÉ (ka-leh) mean?

Rhea: It doesn’t mean what is KALÉ - but rather who is KALÉ. We are a social identity-seeking label so people who buy our garments are what defines KALÉ. We wanted to portray a symbolic meaning in our logo, as it defines us as a label.

The line down the middle portrays the idea of holding up a mirror to our work to see who we are and who we aspire to be. This is also shown throughout our branding.

Talk to us through your production process – I’ve heard you handcraft all of your leathers and make garments in-house?

Rhea: Yes, so for myself I handle all of the leather goods – I go from sourcing the leather and importing it etc. I will go through talking to the manufacturers of the leather and their processes of tanning the leather (which is quite a long process) and I go to the buyers directly and source the leather myself. After that the leather comes to our studio, we collaborate on ideas, draft numerous amounts products, and then discuss is this design effective, will this work and accommodate to a lot of customers.

We ask ourselves – is it useful? Is it something practical and not just fashionable?

Christie: I think a lot of the time we have gone out and actually used the products to make 100% sure that they are going to work in real life. We’re not making things for the sake of making things; we create our products to be a reflection of our identity and to make sure it’s at a ready-to-wear level. We’ve focused a lot around the wearability side, because I know personally I wouldn’t want to design anything I wouldn’t use.

We also focus on sustainability, if the quality is good enough we want it to last us a lifetime and create pieces that are timeless. We have designed these products to be part of someone’s life, more than just a product. Something to add to their identity.

Who are your influences in terms of designers?

Rhea: We were highly influenced by designers such as Jil Sander and Philip Lim.

Christie: Yeah, and Alexander Wang. But I think we still have influences by a lot of Australian designers such as Kahlo, Dion Lee, Christopher Esber and Bassike. But we also have been inspired by international brands such as Acne, Maison Martin Margiella, Comme Des Garcons and Raf Simons. We especially look up to the blogger Ivania Capario – she has been an incredible inspiration for us.

However in saying that, these designers are hugely influential but we have relied on a lot of architectural influences that surround us.

How did your lookbook come together? What influenced your aesthetic?

Helena: I think it was KALÉ at it’s purest, and then we brought in the trend of sport-luxe - which was booming at the time of our initial design process. Then we brought in the idea of pure minimalism.

Christie: I think initially we didn’t want to do it with models, we wanted to do an entire still life set-up. We wanted to start really clean and really simple and focus on more extravagant things in the long term. So after a couple of months we re-assessed everything, we stripped all of our ideas down and really focused on what our goals were and what minimalism meant to us and that eventuated into what we have produced today.

Rhea: Initially we went with naming our collection ‘The Stark Silence’ we wanted to focus on the silence of our clothing, the sheer nothingness of it. But then we realized silence wasn’t really a clear definition of our collection meant because it isn’t silent it’s really quite strong at the same time.

Christie: Yeah it is really bold, and we really wanted to show the space in between the silence - something that is more than just nothing. I feel we have a nice juxtaposition of the garments and the textures to create that representation.

So – what’s next for KALÉ?

Rhea: We were actually talking a few months ago about becoming more than just a fashion label as we are inspired by the design world; architecture and graphic design – we actually want to create KALE as a product design studio and in creating this we want to develop a big design team that inspires eachother to work together.

Christie: We always thought the studio would be multi-platformed and multidisciplinary - not just restricted to fashion. We were thinking about the future and the technology and we wanted to create more than just clothes and accessories.

KALÉ's capsule collection is available for pre-order, head to their website http://kale-studio.com
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