Fashion designer Kelly Simpkin is the creative director of Kelly Simpkin London, a luxurious label that offers classic and chic womenswear. However she didn’t start out in the fashion business. In fact she has had a number of different professions before launching her label that allowed her to combine her creativity with her commercial acuity.
Following studies in the arts, Kelly originally chose a career in finance where she gained her passion for business acumen. Not satisfied with the corporate world and the desire to pursue her creative roots, Kelly made her break into hairdressing at internationally renowned hair-salon Nicky Clarke. Kelly has established a strong reputation in the Hairdressing industry and she has worked with several celebrities including Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Ross, Frieda Pinto and royalty, to name but a few.
The latest step for the entrepreneur has led to the launching of her self-titled premium fashion label. Kelly Simpkin London offers timeless luxury with a modern twist and her love for past iconic fashion influences the entire collection. Exquisitely crafted and designed in Kelly’s London studio, the line is made from only the finest fabrics including sumptuous suede, leathers, sheepskins and silks. Kelly models the clothes and accessories herself to bring the range to life and after only a short space of time is already building up an extensive portfolio of celebrity and top model clients.
Being a Lupus sufferer, Kelly is ambassador of Lupus UK to help raise the profile of sufferers everywhere. Kelly resides in London with her long-term partner Nicky Clarke. Here she shows why you should shy away from a career lattice rater than a career ladder…
After studying the arts, you chose a career in finance, why was that?
I wasn’t really too sure about what career I wanted in the Arts and I guess I was afraid of how competitive it was. I loved maths and computing so a career in the money market seemed the perfect fit.
Why did you leave and what did you learn that has helped you since?
I left because I wanted to explore my creative roots. However my passion for business acumen and the financial side of things is beneficial now that I run my own business.
You then became a successful hair stylist with celebrity clients, what did you learn most from that?
I love hairdressing and the fact that you meet people from all walks of life. Every day you learn different things from varied people. All of which adds to making one a well-rounded person.
Now you have launched your own fashion label, what made you change careers again?
I have always being interested in fashion and it was a natural progression for me to utilise my reputation as a hairdresser and skills to launch my debut fashion label.
As a fashion designer, where does your inspiration come from?
There isn’t one particular place where inspiration comes. It can be on holiday or whilst I am travelling for work. Inspiration can come at any one time day or night!
What should Belle’s look out for in the shops for Autumn/Winter?
My collection for A/W14 encompasses exquisitely crafted womenswear and accessories using the finest fabrics including sumptuous suede, leathers and sheepskin. My designs are all tailor-made investment pieces that can be worn and treasured forever. Hero pieces from the range include a luxe oversize blue collar and cuffs coat and statement gold metallic skinnies.
Who is your favourite celebrity client and who would you love to become a client?
Naomi Campbell has to top the list, she owns one of my signature Desert Dresses. I would love to dress the Duchess of Cambridge, she would look exquisite in my designs.
You suffer from Lupus, how and when was that diagnosed and what impact did it have on your life?
Wow, where do I start? It was diagnosed when I was 23 after suffering from symptoms from the age of 17. The best way to describe the disease is feeling like you have the flu every day. There is always a part of me that aches or stings. I feel tired all of the time and have to take naps each day. It’s hard to lead a normal life, working at the pace of everyone else but I do my best. I wont be beaten!
How do you deal with your health issues now?
I just take each day as it comes and have learnt to listen to my body. It helps having a really supportive boyfriend and family around.
What advice can you give fellow Lupus sufferers?
Diet is really important, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. For me, starchy carbohydrates really affect the way that I feel so I try to avoid them altogether. Gentle exercise is good but only do as much as you can. Don’t push yourself, as you will only bring on a flare up or a day of pain and stiffness. Rest when you need to rest and don’t worry about the fact that most of the time you look ill – that was one of the hardest things to deal with for me.
What do you do to relax after a busy week?
Sleep and flick through fashion magazines. I also like to sketch new designs.
Where is your favourite place to vacation and why?
There are so many places that I love to travel to… I like the sun, although I cannot sit in it for too long due to the Lupus, so I guess Mallorca. My boyfriend has a house there and we have so many great friends on the island. It’s always such fun!
I also love the snow and one of my favourite places to date was a trip to Lapland for my 30th. We did husky sledging which was amazing!
Where is your favourite place to eat and drink in London?|
It changes all of the time, I adore 34 and Scotts for the great food and ambiance but I also love Roka!
What three universal truths do you live by?
1. You only live once – do as much as you can.
2. Anything is possible – If you really want something, go out and get it!
3. Be good, be careful but most of all, be happy (My nan would say that to me all of the time!)