N: Hey Fraser, it's a pleasure to have you here! Can you share a bit about your background and give us a glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like these days?
F: It is fab to be here, thank you! I grew up in Essex, if that is what you mean by background, but everyone is usually so confused as I went to fashion school/lived in New York for 6 years and the accent kinda stuck.
I say British heritage, American soul. As for a typical day…there isn’t one. Expect coffee, coffee, coffee.
N: Let's play with words for a moment. How would you describe Fraser Kenneth, the person, in just three words? And conversely, how would you sum up the essence of FRASER KENNETH, the label, in three words?
F: Fraser Kenneth the person, ummm, romantic, tightly wound, and exhausted? As for the brand…that is ever-changing but at the core, it is grungey, hopeless, and sexy.
N: Your clothing exudes a sexiness that is typical of female leads in horror films... a "final girl" type of femininity. I can't help but go back to my early TV memories of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer haha. Does that mental image resonate with you at all?
F: Oh yeah, for sure, I think that mental image definitely resonates. I am a big horror film fan lol !
Especially the soundtracks, they are a soft spot for inspiration, creating the vibe, the mood. So, it means a lot that my clothes radiate that energy. I definitely do think the woman I design for is super strong-willed and a fighter, like she is definitely THERE and present in her own right.
N: There's also a playfulness and theatrical quality to your garments that evokes the spirit of brands like Prada. How does the concept of "dress up" influence your label, if at all?
F: Big compliment, thank you. “Dress up” for sure is how I see clothes in general; life is too short. Whether you are a minimalist or maximalist, you should go pretty hard, to the wall, to the ground, have fun. It is a lot easier to take away and tone down than it is to build. And regarding a theatrical quality - for sure! I do always feel like I am putting on a show.
N: I'd love to delve into your experience at Parsons and take a critical look at fashion education in general. Apart from the knowledge you gained, what is one aspect that you feel fashion education often overlooks when it comes to preparing students for the harsh realities of the real-world fashion industry?
F: Hmmm, I do feel like in some ways fashion school is too much of a nurturing bubble; the world is small and ideas are huge. In contrast, the reality is the world is huge and the consumer wants small ideas.
But in a way...that is what makes it all a little bit of fun, asking yourself, "what if I did make a pair of jeans, what would that look like?" Like I said earlier, go big and refine later. Fashion school is great at pushing but, in my experience, not that accepting of pulling back.
That is a lesson you have to teach yourself. In the grand scheme of things, I like to think things are only a mistake if you don’t learn from them.
N: Lastly, we're eager to know what's next for you. Are there any exciting projects on the horizon that we can look forward to?
F: I have a busy year (or 6 months) planned ahead of me. Very excited, it is going to be thrilling and hopefully a success. I took a big small break, so it feels very good to be back in a groove again; debts have got to be paid!
All images courtesy of Fraser Kenneth