At the age of 25, Melanie Kyles has achieved a lot. The designer has collaborated with well-known North East creative’s ranging from lingerie brand ‘Tallulah Love’ that stocks in New York and Dubai to hand embroidering for Goldsmiths Jewellery store. ‘Melanie Kyles’, a brand which started on Etsy, now sells on ASOS and has big plans to move to bespoke website Boticca. It’s full steam ahead for this 25-year-old.
From A-levels in Fine Art and Literature at Hookergate Comprehensive to now having her own studio in Newcastle City Centre, Melanie speaks on how her family’s relaxed attitude made a positive environment to become anything she wanted: “They would always say it’s your life, you do what you want to do”. Melanie’s family are not in the creative industry, almost the complete opposite, with her father being a Welder and her mother is a carer. All having different interests, her parents are incredibly proud of what their daughter has achieved.
When you imagine a designer you can come up with ideas of an outspoken person, but Melanie is a quiet, incredibly friendly and a very down to earth designer. When you speak to her about her designs, you can see the passion in her eyes that fuels her business.
Melanie describes herself as a romantic, you can see from subtle tints in what she wears including a Breton stripe top with delicate jewellery to her natural look with minimal make-up.
The designer’s studio situated in Newcastle City Centre is as you can imagine is filled with fabrics, beading and mood boards. Fellow incredibly talented creatives including Illustrators, Taxidermy Professionals, and Photographers to name a few surround Melanie.
They are all part of Ampersand Inventions, a place where creative minds can thrive together. So naturally Melanie’s next stage in her business plan is to team up with two other creatives to create ‘The Fashion Lab’ an area, which will be created for drop in classes to learn different skills; such as surface design and illustrating.
The business has came a long way since graduating the designer landed a partial grant along side studying for her degree of £1800 to start up her own business. This grant helped Melanie create the brand she has today. Starting up any business is hard work; the designer admits the struggle she had in her first year of starting up: “I was trying to find my identify whilst trying to make my products commercial, having other creative’s helped, It really helps having a supportive environment around you”
Inspiration for the brand comes from many different areas; poetry to constellations with a story behind them is a few things that inspire this creative mind. Many major brands produce designs overseas, as Melanie is a designer who designs and produces in the UK, she stresses that the manufacturing process is ever changing with costs rising overseas: “Making handmade accessories, the result is perfectly imperfect but with mass manufactured pieces you don’t get the same feel, there’s something special about it”.
Quality definitely outweighs quantity with this designer. Instead of making collars and cuffs, the statement pieces which represent the brand, she wants to make smaller commercial with the same amount of detail that goes into more bespoke items that she designs.
After looking back on the struggles and highs of becoming a designer, Melanie recalls: “When I was 14 I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, but I was terrified of the sewing machine which resulted in hand stitching for years, now I think back it’s been a blessing in disguise.”