With the summer in full swing, the Coconut Water and Rose’ on constant flow, Bar~B~Qs and rooftop parties are full ah vibes. It’s a ‘Hot Girl/Hot Boy summer, and FLOWERCHILD is in full bloom.
Caribbean Style Phyle sat down with designer Kaysian Bourke to discuss her love of being a fashion designer, her reaction to having international superstar Beyonce AKA Queen Bey wearing one of her signature bags, and how she intends on leaving her mark on the Global fashion industry. Read below our exclusive interview…..
What did you do in school and what did you aspire to be when you grow up?
I did fashion merchandising as a major and photography as a minor. I am exactly what I wanted to be. At first I wanted to be a buyer for a high end retail store because at the time I was living in America where there were so many options for that. A few years later, I changed my mind and came back home to Jamaica because we really don’t have many high end stores here and we have only 3 top department stores so, there really was no opportunity for that.
What was your 1st ever job?
My first job was the fashion editor of my very own magazine called, “FIRST” with was a quarterly magazine based on the quirkiness of Jamaican culture from the grit to the privilege of Jamaican culture. We were small so we could not afford staff so I did styling photography and ad sales for the publication which ended being featured in vanity fair.
How did you get into Fashion?
I was into fashion since I was a little girl. I would stay up and watch pageants just to see the design of the gowns, etc. At 16, I designed my first pair of pants inspired by my godfather who was a tailor. So I grew up around machines, fabrics, etc.
Did you love your work or jobs? What did you get out of it? from it?
I did love it very much. I was young and in love, creating and experiencing my people and my culture at a very high and dynamic level. From this, I got purpose and developed my confidence in my art.
Did you feel qualified enough to choose the path you did?
At first, no, I actually did not know I knew how to style. I wanted to use my best friend Dexter who was already a stylist and designer here in Jamaica but when the shoot day came he didn’t show up and didn’t answer his phone when I asked why he said I knew you could do it. Push yourself . I always got nervous when I designed a piece but, I started to build a quiet confidence with each compliment on a piece and people’s reaction to how I styled it. So,my qualification grew with time and experience and just my genuine love for fashion and design.
What have you learned along the way?
I have learned that fashion is not as glamorous as it looks, it’s a hard job, it’s a saturated profession but, once you love fashion and truly love it, you will make your mark wherever you stand. I have also learned that you have to understand the business of fashion to really make a living from it. You have to treat it like a business and as a creative this can be hard but you must find the balance.
What or who inspires you? Your designs?
I am inspired by culture, time periods especially the 70’s . I am inspired by clean lines and carefully constructed fabric like brocade. I love Alexander Mcqueen and Grace Jones and Audrey Hepburn.
Where do you manufacture and do you ship abroad?
Everything is made here in Jamaica. I am proud to say everything is made in Jamaica by Jamaicans. I ship globally yes, using the traditional post which is amazingly efficient.
Who would you say you Design for and why?
I design for everyone. Especially the person who is confident and likes classic qualities.
How did you come up with your name/ label etc?
This is a question that always gets me because it goes back to 1999 when I watched my brother drown. I remember going back to regular life . I was sitting at the lunch table with my friends from high school and they were having a conversation about the upcoming party, weekend,etc, and I just remembered knowing I was different . My values were no longer the same, my thoughts were no longer frivolous. I started to read a lot and became someone I could only describe as a flower child and that year was 1999, hence the name of my brand.
What mistakes have you made along the way?
So many. Especially as it relates to structuring my business . I ended up making my bottom line very high by not being organized to buy in bulk before deadlines, shipping things in, etc. Also, not having a consistent team of seamstress for production.
What are you currently working on? What are your plans for the future?
I am currently working on making a little factory to produce my straw bags in larger quantities getting my stock into top shop for the summer and hiring 2 seamstress to work for me exclusively so that I can meet the demands of my clients in good time. I also plan to bridge the gap between my contacts in New York City, Miami and London. Doing a photessay for ID magazine and just enjoying the process as I go along.
If you had a time machine and could go back in time, what would you have done differently? How would you talk to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to take it easy…. Don’t take so many things to heart…. To cease opportunities when they are hot because they don’t hang around forever…. And just to truly enjoy each moment …. Live in the present and focus on your joy…. oh, and archive your work!
* Photo Credit Below
** Caribbean Style Phyle original content
Neko Kelly – @bootlegrocstar
Kaysian Bourke – @flowerchild1999
Styles as seen on Talent:
Beyonce : bag – @flowerchild1999 | Styled by @zerinaakers
Wade Rhoden | @waderhoden
Sue Gregg | @suethemakeupgirl