APOM (A Part Of Me) is an innovative fashion label coming out of Melbourne, Australia. This dynamic duo, Kate Brook and Kajsa Kvernmo, are on a mission to ensure that their ethereal designs and garments “become a part of the wearer.” By looking at the whimsical fabric and floaty aesthetic of the designs I’m sure they will make any wearer feel beautiful.
Let’s find out a little more…
Q: How long have you and Kajsa been making clothes for and are you formally trained or did it come from your own interest in fashion and design?
A: Kajsa and I were both self taught sewers for about 5 – 6 years before we began to study fashion design at Uni. Kajsa learnt how to knit at a very young age and continues to learn new techniques all the time. We met at university where we both studied a bachelor in fashion design. The course was very focused in patternmaking and construction so we were able to develop and fine tune our skills.
Q: When did your collaboration start, had you both been making clothes solo prior to the collaboration?
A: After becoming close friends at university we began our label APOM in January of this year, but we had plans to work together for a long time before that. Before starting the label we both made bits and pieces but APOM is our biggest project to date.
Q: How did you come up with the philosophy you talk about on the website – where you want the wearer to really form a ‘bond’ with the garment by knowing all about the concept, fabric, making of the garment etc? It is a little like the idea a lot of food producers are using these days with the “from farm to table.” How have you found buyers responding to this?
A: We really want people to know the story behind the garment, the maker, the artist, the fabrication and the inspiration. Many people don’t understand the time and energy that goes into the construction of a garment, from the design to the pattern to the final product and with so much inexpensive clothing around often people forget how things are made and where they come from.
The farm to table concept has really changed how people buy in the food industry, helping people make informed decisions about where they put their money. We are slowly starting to see a small shift with other industries such as fashion toward this more informed way of buying. We want to give people information about their product and the story behind it, as well as pay homage to those involved in the creation of the product. If people have more information and can connect the product to a real person and a real story they tend to cherish it a little more.
Q: You use a lot of amazing prints. Do you design some of them yourself or are they all from other artists that you work with?
A: We work very closely with a local Melbourne artist. Each season we give her a rough idea of some things we would like for a print and every time she comes back with the most beautiful illustrations which we then turn into a print.
Q: What are the major influences to your designs?
A: We base each collection on some sort of narrative that we are inspired by or create ourselves, a story that can be told through the clothing.
There are underlying themes that run though each piece and every collection. Both Kajsa and I have a strong affinity for the natural world, so each collection will tend to feature some reference to nature either in a print a fabrication.
We also like to incorporate a hand made element into each collection, the textures we experiment with and use always transcend in to the more wearable pieces.
Q: It is hard to find clothes for women with a variety of shapes (and hey that’s most of us) but you seem to have come up with designs that would suit many of us or that can be easily adapted – was this intentional?
A: When we design we design for the everyday woman. We want our clothes to be worn, not just something that looks beautiful but stays hidden in the cupboard. The shapes and silhouettes are easy but elegant and the fabrics are beautiful but not to delicate. We want our wearers to feel beautiful in our clothing but for it to be not to precious.
Q: What do you love about fashion designing?
A: It’s great being able to see our work come to life. From the original design to the finished product and then its very rewarding seeing it be worn and cherished by its owner.
The experimental phase of the collection is also really fun. For Winter 13 we used the felting technique. Learning and experimenting with that was great. Kajsa and I have a great working relationship so it’s great bouncing ideas off each other, there is always alot of laughter and energy in the studio.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: We have just finished winter samples and are about to start researching for summer 13/14. We have a Pop up shop in the SO:ME space at South Melbourne market as well, which has been a great way to meet and talk to our customers.
Q: Do you do seasonal pieces or just what comes to mind or suited to the fabrics you find?
A: We tend to follow the collection with the seasons, but we always come up with new ideas throughout the year. It’s just easier to organize in a 2 collection per year release.
Q: What are your goals for the future with your ‘label’?
A: We just want to keep growing slowly, and getting the APOM brand and message out there. We also hope to learn and incorporate more hand-craft techniques into the main collection.