Interview with Kenna Bird by Rachael Lovette.....
Kenna is a self-taught fashion designer and the founder of Kenna Bird – a social conscious brand inspired by urban fashion with classic silhouettes, mixing both feminine and edgy qualities to create a unique and cohesive look. Get to know this up and coming designer and learn about her brand below.
Get to know the brand Kenna Bird
What’s the inspiration behind Kenna Bird?
I was inspired by my personal journey growing up and other women. I saw ideals being placed on women that suggested to be classy you had to wear certain colors and garments, and while I love using white and pink, I also wanted to experiment with being classy AND edgy. Also building a high-fashion brand that includes all women motivates me. Every woman has a different style and a unique story to tell. The one thing we all share is wanting to feel confident and I design and create with that in mind.
What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
Honestly just putting myself out there has been scary enough! Of course thinking someone is not going to like my work can be daunting, but my underlying motivation keeps me excited. I channel those fears into a productive, creative energy, and it’s great.
What considerations go into building an eco-friendly brand?
Staying conscious when purchasing and using fabrics keeps my initial ecological footprint low. I also reuse leftover materials consistently, turning scraps into accents or accessories, for example.
Is there a storytelling element to your design process/creation?
Different projects get inspired in different ways. A lot of my freelance/ client designs are done when working with a customer and hearing their ideas and then collaborating between our two styles and ideas for the project. When designing on my own or creating a collection I tell my own story in the garments. Just like life, the creative process has its own unpredictable story arc. Things never really turn out exactly as they planned, but that makes it fun!
Does Portland contribute to the design aesthetic of Kenna Bird? How?
Yes! I draw on Portland a lot because I am profoundly influenced by the city. I think the edge this city has and the art community has also significantly influenced my work. Those are aspects I like to incorporate in my designs. The weather in Portland has also given me the opportunity to make a fall coat well!
What is the inspiration behind your current collection?
My current collection is inspired by city fashion. It’s for the on-the-go woman that is willing to take risks. I want to convey that women can be classic and confident while still giving off an edge.
Do you have a favorite Kenna Bird Piece?
That answer always changes, but right now it is a motorcycle jacket I recently finished for my most recent collection. It was more challenging on the construction end so I am proud of myself for executing it. Then my boyfriend, an artist, painted on the jacket, so it turned into a unique collaboration. We love how it turned out and I’m very excited about that piece.
What are your aspirations with Kenna Bird?
My goal for Kenna Bird is to continue to grow as a fashion designer and hopefully grow the brand as well. I also aspire to have a high end fashion brand that remains inclusive to all body sizes. Going into the fashion industry I find it really important to stay accessible to every body type.
How do you want women to feel when wearing Kenna Bird?
I want women who wear my clothes to feel like themselves. To feel strong, confident, powerful, attractive and badass.
Get to know Kenna
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
Fashion has been in the back of mind since my childhood. I taught myself to sew when I was about 10 and made a ton of things off and on. I went to college for business and about halfway through I realized what I really wanted to do was design clothes. I finished my degree and have now been pursuing fashion since!
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
I love seeing a garment come to life especially at the first fitting. It is exciting to see the designs I made turn into full garments. I also love doing pieces for clients, seeing their reaction and getting to design something for them that fits them well and makes them feel confident.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
Without a doubt season 3 of Stranger Things. With its excellent costume design and powerful women, I’m obsessed!
Where can we find you when you’re not designing for Kenna Bird?
Most likely shopping, (I can’t get away from clothes), or out to eat with my friends and family. I love good food!
Where are your favorite local places to shop?
This one is tough because I haven’t gone shopping in a while. I love to browse Northwest 23rd Avenue. I wear a lot of graphic tees, and those come from a multitude of sources. I love discovering and supporting amazing local artists. Wokeface is a favorite, love her.
What would you like remembered about you?
I would like to be remembered as a compassionate and resilient individual. In regards to my brand, I’d like to be remembered for empowering and supporting others.
What is on your bucket list (personal and/or business wise)?
Living in New York City is both a personal and business goal for me.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
I would say, there is never going to be a right time to do anything. No need to wait or flood your mind with excuses, the right time is right now. Just go for it.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
It’s actually a question, “What do you know for sure?”
To learn more about Kenna Bird check out their website: https://kennabird.com/
OR follow them on the Gram.
- Rachael Lovette, Portland Fashion Week