Kirsty Payne – Best of Manchester Fashion winner

If we hark back a couple of months, the first time I met Kirsty Payne she arrived like a vision through the terrible snow you remember we had in December having driven across to an icy West Yorkshire to show me her graduate collection. Kirsty had graduated in the summer from the University of Salford’s fashion degree and was busy setting about breaking in to this world we call ‘fashion’. She might find it easier than most – although to say it’s easy for anyone is an obvious understatement – given her natural flair for combining the directional with the wearable in her graduate collection of tailored garments in wonderful fabrics and textures.

Before then I had only seen the collection in cyberspace as a virtual judge on the Best of Manchester Fashion Awards panel unable to attend the judging sessions with Peter Saville and Hervia’s Oscar Pinto due to the appearance of my baby boy literally one week before.

So it was great to see the collection and Kirsty in the flesh and catch up. Needless to say, Kirsty Payne won the Best of Manchester Fashion Award, so we thought it would be great to shoot the collection (take a look at the full screen shoot thanks to Britta and Nicole) and to ask Kirsty about fashion and life as a new graduate in a cold climate!

FLUX: Can you describe your graduate collection and its aesthetic? What is your favourite piece?
Kirsty Payne: My collection is called ‘Quite The Contrary’.  It is an ‘equestrian inspired’ collection with the feel and silhouette of the country but with a busy city twist. It’s based around the simple tailoring of traditional English outerwear in modern times. My colour pallet is based on natural colours so green, beiges, off whites and greys. There is a range of garments in the collection – jodhpur inspired trousers, tailored jackets, oversized coats, waist coats, shirts, braces and dresses. The collection is very easy to wear and you can mix and match garments together quite effortlessly and it would work. My favourite piece would have to be the oversized coat with detachable oversized collar.

FLUX: You were involved in Graduate Fashion Week last year. What shows did you do and how did that go?
Kirsty Payne: I was involved in graduate fashion week last year it was a fantastic experience  and I  was so pleased to be there,  as there was only a select  few from the university that were selected to represent Salford. The University of Salford’s show went really well, everybody’s collection look fantastic. Then I was shortlist to the final 10 for The Gold Award by the judges and got to show my collection in the Gala show for the final catwalk show of the week. this was in front of so many well respected people within the fashion industry it was a honour to get that far out of all the young designers thart showed there collection that week, and  I was one of the top 10 graduates.

FLUX: As a new graduate, do you feel as if university courses prepare you for facing the fashion world? Any pros and cons?
Kirsty Payne: As a new graduate I feel that university courses do prepare you for fashion world, they are tough, long hours, lots of work, it’s confidence building, exciting and it helps you to learn a lot about the fashion industry and what will be expected of you. It’s all worth it to pursue a career that you will enjoy and love.

FLUX: After that, you entered the Best of Manchester Fashion Awards. Did winning that come out of the blue for you?
Kirsty Payne: Winning The Best Of Manchester awards came as another shock just like the one at London graduate fashion week when I was short listed to the final ten. I was not expecting to win as there were a lot of talented young designers that enter the competition not just from the University of Salford but the other universities in Manchester. It was nice to be recognised again by the judges for this award. It meant a lot.

FLUX: Has winning the Best of Manchester Fashion prize helped with your confidence/career in fashion?
Kirsty Payne: Winning the award has helped a lot; it has made me believe in myself a little bit more. It has helped a lot with putting my name out there and getting me the publicity I needed. I was asked to showcase my collection in the House of Fraser where my collection was a big success and gained a lot of attention from people within the fashion industry. I also got a lot of attention from the press.  Although I don’t have a job yet this looks great on my CV. I just need somebody to give me my break so I can start to pursue the career of my dreams and creating new and exciting fashion.
FLUX: If you were going to design a new collection now, what would your inspiration be? What elements of your graduate collection would you take forward and what would you get rid of?
Kirsty Payne: I love designing and pattern cutting, tailoring was a huge part of my collection along with country outerwear. I definitely feel that I could run with this idea – the feel and silhouette of the country is certainly one of my inspirations although I am not limited to this as I also enjoy designing in other areas.

FLUX: Is there anyone you would really like to work with in the fashion industry? And do you have any personal favourite designers?
Kirsty Payne: If I had a choice of who I wanted to work with in the fashion industry it would be with one of the designers that inspired my graduate collection. Chloe, Burberry Prorsum, DSquared, Celine and Barbour.

FLUX: What is your dream job?
Kirsty Payne: I think every young designer would say their dream job would be to have their own label as big and successful as the major fashion brands – Chanel, Christian Dior, Mark Jacobs etc. But just being able to express my creativity in doing something that you are so passionate about is a dream for me. And we all have to start somewhere!

If you would like to contact Kirsty Payne please email and we can pass on her details!

photography NICOLE MARIA WINKLER nicole maria winkler instagram
hair & make-up BEA SWEET using MAC and Bumble and Bumble


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