Limavady woman Kyree Forrest is making her mark as an emerging designer in the world of fashion design.
The 25-year-old was among those who put their talents on display on the catwalk at Fashion Fest in Derry in October 2015, organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council
Kyree, a recent graduate from Limavady, has launched her own fashion label.
“I decided to launch my brand under my own name - Kyree Forrest - as it is unique and fitting to my persona and vision,” she says. “Kyree also translates to ‘ladylike’ in Greek, and I aim to project a strong, contemporary, ladylike character through my garments.”
Having always had a passion for art and design, the talented fashionista knew from a young age this was the path she wished to pursue, which further progressed into secondary school where she was awarded the title of ‘First in Northern Ireland’ for achieving full marks in GCSE Art & Design.
Following a long awaited interrailing journey across Europe, in September Kyree was accepted as a resident designer at the Fashion and Textile Design Hub in Derry, which she admits has been a hugely beneficial platform to launch her own label.
“I had long considered future outcomes after my degree and even though I had two options that appealed to me, between working for an established Fashion House and creating my own, the latter was the aspiration I desired most”, says Kyree.
According to the aspiring designer, the Kyree Forrest clothing line will be a luxury brand, using real leathers, suede and natural fabrics like silk and cashmere to create timeless, yet edgy and strong pieces, with a refined “rock ‘n’ roll” personality.
Having referred to herself as an ‘old soul’, Kyree hopes to project this character into her own fashion line, “I am inspired by the 60s and 70s era in time, be it their music, their celebrities or their fashion and I eject this inspiration and induce it into my design aesthetic”, admits Kyree. “Although not a direct translation, I am influenced by their taste, their confidence and their free spirit.”
Like the majority of independent labels, she says the ‘Kyree Forrest’ clothing line will defy ‘fast fashion’ and encourage people to buy one off, luxurious pieces to add to an individual wardrobe instead of the “factory induced manipulative high street”.
As well as her own business scheme, Kyree has envisioned a signature for the brand, including the type of customer she expects to purchase her luxurious yet edgy pieces.
“I am inspired by the faceted structures of diamonds and precious stones in my work, with patchwork becoming a signature of the Kyree Forrest brand”, she admits. “My customer is a woman who challenges trends and expresses a confident individuality. My colour palette is typically monochrome, however I like to play on contrasting ideals such as metallic/matte, sheer/opaque, hard/soft, all in an intensely feminine way.”
Since gaining her position at the Design Hub, Kyree has been faced with many opportunities. As well as the presentation of her SS16 collection in a Designer Showcase, Kyree also participated in The Gala Fashion Show, which was the finale to Fashion Fest.
“After only launching my brand a month, as well as still working on its launch, I was proud to show alongside such prominent designers,” says Kyree.
“I have been continuously working on starting up my company, and the Fashion Hub has been a perfect platform to do so, with business advisors on hand, in-house Garment Technologists and a collective of other resident designers. Working alongside the other resident designers has been a fantastic experience as we offer each other support and working with other creatives with similar goals feeds ideas and motivation.”
Recently, Eddie Shanahan personally selected Kyree for the 2016 Irish Fashion Innovation Awards for the category ‘Ones to Watch’ – of which he curates.
”I am honoured that he chose me when I have so recently began my endeavour and it has refuelled my confidence in my craft”, says Kyree. “This will take place on March 10th 2016 in Galway and is noted to be the “Irish Fashion Oscars.”
Kyree adds: “I plan to continue to build a strong foundation for my business by undertaking further business courses and I am a member of Women in Business N.I which will involve awards, networking and opportunities to attend classes with fellow entrepreneurs and specialists in various areas. I aim to have my business fully launched by early 2016 and seek stockists for my label throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland, and eventually expand internationally.”