Kitty is a women's and children's wear designer from the West Midlands. Inspired by the region's harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, as well as her family's rich military heritage, Kitty brings a unique perspective to her designs. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the industrial influences of her surroundings.
As a designer specialising in womenswear and childrenswear, I am passionate about producing pieces that possess quality, beauty and wearability, whilst also conveying powerful messages. I am proud that my work takes inspiration from narratives that address societal issues, such as equality. Throughout my study, I have built exceptional skills in concept development, sample construction and manipulation, fabric sourcing, and pattern making. I have been lucky enough to have Heather Chambers from Wet Leg wear a piece from my graduate collection for The Brit Awards 2023 red carpet and performance.
Moving south in 2019, it became clear that few knew about The Midlands, particularly 'The Black Country.' Its name arose from the Industrial Revolution, which left the sky shrouded in black smoke. Proud of my roots and influenced by those who shaped me, I strive to put our region in the spotlight. I was heavily influenced by the Pit Bonk Wenches, as they were known in the West Midlands; who overcame tremendous obstacles to perform their work, facing discrimination and unequal pay due to their gender
The Pit Bonk Wenches wore long skirts and heavy boots, but what set them apart was their method of dress. To facilitate their work, they would tuck their skirts into their trousers, known as "jacketing up" or "jocking up". This technique allowed them to move freely and work efficiently, symbolising their resilience and unique role in coal mining.
The garments I've created pay homage to women defying gender expectations in non-traditional workspaces. Using sturdy, masculine fabrics (denim, wool, cotton drill), I fashion hyperfeminine silhouettes. Deadstock materials, like Artistic Fabric Mill and Orta Denim denim, ensure sustainable production. Masculine workwear finishes, such as twin needle topstitching, add elegance and exhibit my garment construction knowledge. Emulating pit bonk wenches, I manipulate patterns to recreate skirt tucking, incorporating layers and folds for draping effects. Collaborating with Willow Bidwell, Khourie Allen, and Liberty Hornsby, our photography challenges historical norms, portraying powerful women as main subjects rather than shadows. This collection celebrates resilient individuals who defy societal limitations, empowering them to pursue careers unbound by gender expectations.