I hope you’re paying attention because I have a new discovery that I must share with you. A luxury womenswear label that disregards the mad fashion calendar and takes a much healthier approach. A-MM-E is a slow fashion brand by designer, Emma Kempton, made in Britain and inspired in Italy.
Having only just launched at Fashion Week this year, Emma brings out her second collection for Autumn Winter 16. An exquisitely elegant concoction of classic shapes and earthy tones punctuated with shimmering gold, that explores the subtle glamour of the A-MM-E woman.
With a background in circus mime, Emma used her performance art days to inspire the creation of her perfectly tailored Victoriana riding coats. These are joined by riding skirts, panelled cashmere and draped silk dresses and separates to create a sophisticated and stylish wardrobe.
I am in love with the dreamy gold lace skirt and luxurious velvets in the latest collection, and can’t wait to see what A-MM-E has in store for us next!
M E E T E M M A K E M P T O N
How would you describe your brand in three words?
Elegant, classic, contemporary.
Who is the A-MM-E woman?
An individual whose independent lifestyle may cross boundaries from perhaps country to city, who is strong enough to be beautiful by being herself, knowing herself, not a victim of fashion, able to breathe out in style, and rocks it by doing so wherever she is.
Where did your love for Victoriana riding coats begin?
Back in 2003 in the circus when I was a mime, and needed the perfect tailored coat with secret pockets that was “wow!” but in a subtle and sophisticated way. I may have at the time been subconsciously influenced by McQueen, alongside my circus designs – I wasn’t designing the cliché sparkly leotard, it was more mime artist vintage clowning type of thing.
How do you think that your background in costume design has influenced your work today?
Apart from the coats, not much, I have moved on a lot. I still work with dreams and visions, and those fed my costume work as well as my fashion work.
What are some of your favourite fabrics to work with?
Silk velvets at the moment, blended with golds.
You spend a lot of time in Britain and Italy, is there any other destination you’d love to travel to for inspiration?
Anywhere beautiful, with rich culture and architecture – with soul. I spend time in Italy as it is beauty that feeds me, and I need the warm climate. To me Italy is the India of Europe. More recently I haven’t been outside of Devon, London, Tuscany, and that’s been really mellow.
What was the inspiration behind the leopard print and metallics in your current collection?
The gold thing is really big for me at the moment, but in subtle ways. I think it’s having spent so much time in Italy, it looks amazing against tanned skin and browns. Both leopard and gold bring a bit of bling to the label – it’s what gives the classic tailoring it’s bit of glamour and rock.
The inspiration comes from within. I don’t follow trends or try and guess them, I just do what I want and what I am feeling regardless of someone else’s ‘going up’ or ‘going down’ mentality – hence the slow fashion thing.
It’s so great to see someone taking a stand and doing slow fashion. What made you decide to take this route?
In the end I had no choice, as even though fashion is my natural passion, it took me years to accept this, as the industry obviously can be very shallow at times, as well as unethical in many varied ways. I suppose for me it’s not about taking a stand, it’s about freedom and being myself – like the name of the label suggests.
It is against my nature to be overtly commercial and churn out creativity to the timescale of an economic machine. I don’t feel the need to do that, but I do have a need to be creatively and spiritually content within myself, and I consider my life a spiritual journey and not a materialistic one.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I live in the country, I garden, grow veg, swim in the river with my kids, hang out with friends on the beach with a fire – that kind of thing.
It must be difficult juggling a fashion label with motherhood, how do you keep yourself motivated?
My work is my passion, so it’s my time out and actually gives me energy when I am drained from mothering. Yes it’s hard juggling the two at times, but I feel very lucky I am able to be creative in the first place – remembering that keeps me motivated.
Who are some of your favourite designers or artists?
It changes day by day depending on my mood – I like Hiller Bartley, Phoebe Philo. I am inspired by literature more than art, as I studied it with philosophy at university.
I just finished reading about Frida Khalo and over the past year I read numerous works of fiction including Flaubert, Tolstoy, Ferrante, Daudet’s Artists Wives, and some Scott Fitzgerald short stories. The dark humour makes me feel better somehow! Literature makes me think and feeds my hunger for life.
If you were not a designer, what would you be?
A writer, a therapist, a yogi, a painter, a performer, a dancer. But then singing on stage must be one of the best jobs in the world.
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