One of the most interesting designers I spoke to at London Fashion Week A/W 12 and a highlight of my week. I was lucky enough to speak to several designers in the exhibition spaces at London Fashion Week with my photographer/blogger’s pass and amongst all of the fantastic talent I was really fascinated by the stories behind the designs of Kyle Hopkins.
Born in Seattle, Kyle was adopted as was his brother and sister. He tells me that his family are quite a funny sight as none of them look anything like each other. Both of his parents are dentists, I sensed a little tension within the relationship with his father when he said ‘If he were an artist, I would have been a doctor’. His jewellery making began at the age of 5 as he’d spend a lot of time at his neighbour’s house. He eventually went on to study at Central Saint Martins and will be joining the Royal College of Art this September.
His designs are inspired by his love for philosophy. He spoke of Nietzsche’s declaration of no God and how he was basically taking the piss out of the Bible which of course was extremely controversial. Also Foucault’s ideas about power structures in civilisation… he spoke enthusiastically about all these philosophical ideas which frankly I have no idea about! It was all very interesting and definitely something I want to read up on. I love designs with personal meaning and Kyle Hopkins definitely designs with a strong concept in mind.
One of Kyle’s strangely beautiful collections is made from moulds of small body parts which are personally meaningful to him for one reason or another. For example he says, ‘I told my little sister she had the most beautiful ears in the world, and now her ear is at London Fashion Week!’ His favourite piece (and mine!) of the collection is the ring with a mould of the lips of the girl he first kissed. Referring back to the ideas of power structures he explains, ‘It’s one of the most important kisses I ever had, really warm and intense. Your first kiss is where you begin to develop all your ideas of love on.’ He hadn’t seen the lucky girl in question since he was 8 years old after she left his school but he managed to track her down for this beautiful creation.
Another great design he spoke of was this great big skull which opened at the top, revealing it as an empty shell. It symbolises how you can keep whatever you like in your head when you’re alive, but when you’re dead you’re dead. You die with those thoughts in your head for no one else to ever see. He says ‘It’s a good and a bad thing’.
Kyle is a truly fascinating person to talk to, he was saying so many golden quotes my pen nearly flew out of my hand I was writing so fast! (seriously need a phone with decent voice recording) One of the things he said which I didn’t understand at first was he described all his jewellery as ‘half finished’. But then he explained that a wedding ring will only ever be a piece of metal until it is placed upon a finger. Jewellery is meaningless on its own, he is fascinated by this concept of the relationship between these objects and the strangers who will then go on to wear them. ‘You give an object whatever quality it has’.
And as for the little creatures modelling his jewellery? Well, he was just sick of seeing adverts for jewellery on women!