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.
Catch up on the first part of our interview here.
Leiden: What inspires you?
Vicky: I find inspiration in all sorts of places. One of my biggest inspirations is seeing a customer looking and feeling amazing in one of my designs and knowing that I can increase people’s confidence and transform how they feel about themselves. It’s amazing to witness someone’s confidence levels rise as they put on a dress and you know that they’ll take that confidence and feeling with them long after they’ve taken the dress off. I’m also inspired by music and by seeing other creative people carving their own paths through life and changing lives with their songs, their art and their work. Jared Leto and Amanda Palmer are two creative people in particular whose work I’m finding very inspirational at the minute. I find Jared Leto inspirational for showing us that you can be successful in more than one artform, and for how he’s created innovative businesses around his work. Amanda Palmer’s unique connection and relationship with her fans and her honesty with them is an inspiration to me. Her book, ‘The Art of Asking’, played a big part in giving me the confidence to take the first steps to making these changes to Rockstars and Royalty. I can’t wait to see her live in Canberra in March. I’m also inspired by my daughter and the thought that I can hopefully make the world a better place for her to grow up in. I hope that she won’t have to deal with the pressures of body image and that she won’t have to fight for equality, and I hope that I can have some impact on the future of our planet for her generation and those that follow.
L: Describe your own personal style?
V: My style is very much whatever I fancy wearing on a particular day. Unless I’m in the studio sewing, I’m generally never underdressed. I love pink and red, I love sparkle, I love the transformative power of makeup and wigs, and I love being dramatic. I love leopard print and polka dots. I love ridiculous shoes. Sometimes I’ll wear a pretty, floral dress and a flower crown, and other times you’ll see me in a bow tie and tuxedo jacket with a big pink faux hawk. I love that I have the freedom to be whoever I want to be and that I can change my style every day if I want to. While I love to follow fashion and see what other designers are creating, I’ve never followed trends when it come to my own personal style.
L: What’s a typical day look like for you?
V: My days are long. I’m naturally a night owl and if I could I’d get up late and then work through the night, so mornings aren’t my best time! I usually get up around 7.30 and get myself ready for the day and get my daughter ready for school. Then I spend some time doing emails before I do the school run. I spend most days in the studio sewing and working on patterns, orders and new samples. Some days are spent at CBRIN (Canberra Innovation Network) where I have desk space. On these days I’ll catch up with my Griffin Accelerator mentors and work on the website and the business side of things and get help and advice on anything that I’m struggling with. In the evenings, I usually work until around 10pm, either sewing, doing emails or other aspects of the business. I’m usually in bed around 11pm. I like to try and get as much sleep as possible, but my brain is usually buzzing with ideas and thinking about everything I need to get done the next day.
L: How do you juggle all the different aspects of your business?
V: I am a list maker. It’s the only way I can plan and get through everything that I need to get done. If it’s not on the list, it generally gets forgotten! I have a notebook that I take everywhere with me that contains all my lists and notes. At night I keep it next to my bed so that when I wake up remembering something I need to do it gets written in there straight away! I now also have 3 part time employees and that has helped to take some of the pressure off, especially in the aspects of the business that I’m not so confident in such as book keeping and pay roll. Having other people sewing with me also helps take the pressure off and frees up more of my time to concentrate on other aspects of the business.
L: How would you like to see the fashion industry change with regards to beauty ideals and sizing?
V: I think the expectation set on women (and men) in regards to beauty ideals and sizing are ridiculously unachievable and damaging. I want to see more body types and ages represented throughout the fashion industry and the media. I want to see more designers designing for curvier customers and to see those that already are not pushing the curvier designs into a separate section. I’d also like to not see them making the assumption that all curvier customers want to hide their curves. I’d love the future of fashion to be inclusive and positive, and for designers to use a range of models on their catwalks and in their advertising. The models that they use are so homogenized that, along with the unachievable beauty ideals, I find it really dull. I also really want to see an end to the media judging people solely based on what they look like or what they choose to wear. I’d love to see an end to the constant barrage of ‘she’s too fat/ she’s too thin/ she’s too old/ she needs plastic surgery/ she’s had too much plastic surgery/ best dressed/ worst dresses/ who wore it better, and an end to judgmental tv shows, such as Fashion Police. The constantly repeated message that it’s ok to judge someone purely based on their looks and that you’re only worth what you look like or who you’re wearing is so damaging. I want to fight for a future where we support and encourage each other to be who we want to be and to be the best people we can be, where we idolize people based on character, talents and achievements over looks, youth and a big bank balance.
L: You collaborate with some incredible people. How important to you is that?
V: Collaborating with other creative people is so important to me. I love seeing a group of creative people come together and share ideas and inspire each other. Most of my collaborations are for photo shoots and seeing everyone’s talents and ideas come together to produce the final photos is really special. Canberra has some amazingly talented creative people and is one of the most supportive and positive creative environments that I’ve come across. Everyone I’ve met here is happy to help, support and advise each other, even with people in their own field. We all want to see each other succeed.
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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