FK chat with Kim Stark from the very beautiful textiles label, Emiti Designs
Tell us a little about Emiti Designs and what we can expect to discover.
Emiti is all about a range of beautiful handbags and homewares that are colourful, quirky and a little left of center. Our products are made from organic and natural fabrics that feature hand drawn illustrations and artwork. The focus is on environmentally friendly products that are well made, feminine but bold and made entirely for the non-beige orientated person.
What is your background, and what lead you to start Emiti Designs?
Emiti certainly came about in a very round about way! At 27 I feel like I’ve done a lot of jobs that have lead me to where I am now. I’ll try to keep this short so stay with me here! I was lucky enough to be a child actor when I was growing up, on a children’s television show, that later led me to be an assistant director in Film and TV when I left school. However after five years behind the camera I decided it was time to pursue acting again and supported myself by starting my own massage practice. It was while I was massaging that I started sewing wheatbags to sell, which became really popular. I’d always been a creative person and I started to realise that massage wasn’t creative enough for me. So I decided that I would use my drawing and artistic skills to create my own fabric and make eco friendly products that were a little different. Figuring out what to make with the fabric, besides wheatbags, was pretty easy – I’ve wanted to make my own handbags for almost 10 years as I could never find the type of bag that I wanted to wear, that is, something that wasn’t black or neutral and covered with zips and studs and buckles.
You say that nature inspires you. Where have you been lately that inspires your range?
I know, it’s such a cliché isn’t it but it’s so true with me. I’m a hippie child at heart. I don’t have to go very far to find inspiration. Everyday I walk around my lovely green neighbourhood with my kelpie dog and notice every flower and leaf. I especially notice the colour, shapes and silhouettes of plants and there’s always something new to discover each day. My current Agapanthus print is based on the shadows created by the budding flowers in my front garden.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
The biggest challenge would have to be the massive and very steep learning curve I’ve undertaken since officially starting Emiti 10 months ago. In that time I’ve learnt how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, how to screenprint and mix inks, how to work with retailers, how to market and do my publicity, how to make up financial spreadsheets, how to photograph and style the product shots – the list goes on! It’s been very scary but that’s also what I love. Being an ambitious perfectionist who gets bored easily, the more challenged I am the better! I love learning new skills and the fact that everyday I get to be creative and work on my own project is amazing. I’ve somehow managed to find a job that combines my favourite hobbies – drawing, painting, photography, writing, sewing, fashion and even my inner nerd loves the practical business side of things.
Where do you go to get inspired in Melbourne?
It’s not so tough to be inspired in Melbourne. It’s ridiculous how much creative talent is busting out of the seams here. I like to be inspired by other artists who are working in mediums away from textiles, just to mix things up a bit. Recently I saw the installation works of Indian artist Ranjani Shettar at the NGV which blew my mind. She makes these beautiful sculptural pieces based around the concept of light and she uses it like a medium in itself where the shadows created form an integral part of the piece. So beautiful. On a less lofty note my veggie patch at the community garden is pretty darn inspiring and tasty too.
What can we look forward to seeing from Emiti Designs this year?
I’m currently working on the next range that I’m pretty excited about. I’m exploring new processes and techniques so while the next range will still have the Emiti colour and look it’s definitely a step in a new pretty cool direction. I want to take the idea of putting art onto fabric up a notch so each piece really has a story to tell. Eventually I would love to expand Emiti into other areas that I love like jewellery, ceramics, millinery… there’s so many good things to explore!