JESSICA KAYLL hand painting in her London studio for fashion brand kayll in black and white
  • Date:

    19 Jun 2023
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Q&A with KAYLL's designer, Jess

Get to know our founder and designer, Jess Kayll...
Jessica kayll moodboard fashion studio

How did you get your start in fashion design?

When I was studying fashion textile design at University I did an industry internship year where I applied for different internships in Paris and London. After a portfolio interview I was lucky enough to have a 6 month textile design internship at Alexander McQueen in the menswear department where I learned so much. I remember waitressing at the weekends in Shoreditch to help pay my London rent for the internship. I also was an intern for John Galliano in Paris and various other brands before graduating from the University of Brighton. 

What did you do after graduation?

A cliché I know, but I had fallen in love with Paris on my internship year and was determined to get a job back in Paris. So, I moved back to Paris and worked for Cacharel which was a very different experience from the big fashion houses I'd been working for previously. After Paris, I moved back to London for a job at Alexander McQueen.

What’s next for KAYLL?

I am so excited how much KAYLL has grown already and how many international stores are stocking the brand, our next steps are expanding our small team which is really exciting. We are thrilled customers have been loving the new sustainable swimwear collection so much

“our next step is expanding our small team which is really exciting”

How important is sustainability to you?

Honestly, I find our planet's future rather scary to think about, we each have a responsibility to be as kind to our planet as possible. For me, that means making sure KAYLL's carbon footprint is kept to minimum and using recycled ECONYL fabric in our swimwear and producing locally in London. There is so much greenwashing that goes on in the fashion industry. For example, plenty of brands claim their collections are made locally but in reality it is just the final few stitches which are locally sewn and their products are actually made on the other side of the world.

Jess Kayll hand painting artwork for KAYLL in her London studio creating textile design prints

"when I see someone who is completely at peace in their own skin I think wow, they are inspiring"

What is your biggest inspiration as a designer?

KAYLL's prints are botanically based so nature is always an inspiration for me.  But it is often more of a mood or a feeling for me than something visual. When I see someone who is completely at peace in their own skin I think wow, they are inspiring. I want to encapsulate that feeling. There is so much beauty in nature. Music inspires me too, I am forever in awe of Radiohead, when something moves you emotionally that is inspiring for me.

Having worked at couture-level as a designer, what inspired you to launch KAYLL?

I knew I wanted to launch a brand which had a focus on print, colour and textile design. I saw a gap in the market for beautiful, timeless resort wear. I have really pale skin which burns so easily (trust me, I could never get a tan!) so I always use a coverup on holiday. I think the wrap style of a kimono robe is so easy to wear and style, something just clicked and I thought YES: This would be perfect for KAYLL.

"I saw a gap in the market for beautiful, timeless resort wear"

Who is your favourite fashion designer or brand?

I am always interested in brands which have a timeless appeal, I am not interested in trends. New York based womenswear brand Khaite designed by Cate Holstein is one of my favorites, they create timeless pieces which really last. I have a couple Khaite trench coats which I adore. There are so many exciting brands right now that I admire - I used to work at Erdem and I think their embroidery design is stunning.

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