No one understands the power of transformation quite like fashion designer Vicky Kidd-Gallichan. Under her label Rockstars and Royalty, she has created hundreds of incredible custom gowns, witnessing first hand with each of her customers that special feeling a unique piece can create.
Having recently decided to shake up the structure of her business, moving away from strictly couture to customisable ready to wear, we sat down with Vicky to to find out the motivations behind the change as well as what is next for this growing label.
Leiden: What is your background in fashion?
Vicky: I am completely self-taught when it comes to fashion. My Mum taught me to sew when I was young. Even way back then I didn’t want to wear the same clothes as everyone else and had my own ideas about fashion and personal style. I’ve always wanted to stand out instead of blending into the crowd by following trends. Thankfully my Mum saw how important this was to me and bought me patterns and fabrics and helped me learn how to create clothes for myself. I sewed a lot for myself and started sewing for my friends more and more while I was at uni (I have a degree in metalwork and jewellery. Back then sewing was a hobby and I wanted to be a jeweller). Since then I’ve taught myself more and more techniques, which became easier with the internet and YouTube to help me. I’m constantly trying to improve my skills and better myself by learning new design and sewing techniques and, more recently, business and entrepreneurial skills, such as speaking in public and using spreadsheets!
L: How has your label evolved?
V: I was designing and creating first club wear, then corsets and couture gowns in the UK under the name Devotion between 1998 and 2007, when I moved to Australia. The move to Australia gave me the opportunity to rebrand and to focus on what I really loved doing, which was the elaborate one-off couture gowns. In the following few years I added the handmade headpieces and then a jewellery range to the brand as my clients often wanted me create a complete look for them. This also gave customers who didn’t have the need for a couture gown the chance to own a little piece of my label, and gave clients who already had a gown the opportunity to have me design their headpiece or accessory and help style their look.
L: What sparked the move away from couture to ready-to-wear?
V: The move was sparked by a few different things. Firstly, there was demand for my dresses from clients who weren’t able to come and see me in Canberra for fittings. My gowns were so elaborate that they needed to be fitted in person, so I had to turn away clients who couldn’t travel here. Secondly, I was getting booked up so far in advance that I was turning clients away because I couldn’t fit them in. Thirdly, my couture gowns were out of budget for a lot of people who loved them. And lastly, I wanted to find a way for Rockstars and Royalty to become a very scalable business. With the new online, customisable collection my aim is to bring elements of the couture experience to online shopping. The customisable designs give customers the chance to choose the elements of the designs that suit their style and the large size range, mix and match sizing and custom long skirt lengths replicate elements of the couture fitting process, but all at a much lower price point than having a completely couture gown made.
L: How would you like to see Rockstars and Royalty grow from here?
V: I would love to see Rockstars and Royalty become an internationally recognised brand and I want to be at the forefront or redefining what’s normal within the fashion industry. I don’t catergorise any of my products by size (the term ‘plus size’ is banned on my site), gender or event. I don’t believe in telling people what they can and can’t wear. I will be shooting my products on models of different body types, genders and ages and really trying to represent all of my customers and making everyone feel welcome and feel confident to shop for and wear whatever they want to, where ever they want to wear it. I also want Rockstars and Royalty to be part of the slow fashion revolution. My pieces are quality creations, not cheap, on-trend, fast fashion items. They are pieces to be kept and cherished and worn time and time again. I want to make people more away of what they buy and the effect that fast fashion has both on our environment and on the vulnerable people who are often exploited to produce it.
L: Where does the name come from?
V: The name came from an interview I read with a designer who I love called Basia Zarzyka. In the interview Basia was asked who she designed for and she answered ‘for Rockstars and Royalty’. The name jumped out at me and I thought it perfectly suited my style. I summed up my dark, alternative gowns and my big, sparkly tulle princess dresses. I did some searches and was amazed that the name wasn’t already taken. I was just starting to plan my move to Australia and knew that I wanted to rebrand so the timing was perfect. I designed the logo to look like a royal crest to reflect my English heritage. The star represents the Rockstars part of the name and the crown the royalty part. I think the name and logo are both very distinctive and memorable.
L: Who do you design for?
V: I design for people who want to stand out, who know their own style and want to show the world how confident and amazing they are, regardless of their dress size, age or gender. I hope that these people and Rockstars and Royalty will then in turn inspire more and more people to have the confidence to stand out and be who they want to be and wear what they want to wear.
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Model, Concept and Styling – Vicky Kidd-Gallichan
Photographer – Lori Cicchini, Loriana Fotografia
Make up – Kim Sanders, What Would Blair Do?
Hair – Jeanice Branch, Guerilla Hair