Queen of Eagles: a conversation with the inspiring designer of Korlekie
While fast-fashion and increased speed of runway seasons have become standard practice in the industry, Beatrice Korlekie Newman takes a different approach. The awe-inspiring designer is making a name for herself and her label with bespoke designs that never leave the studio until both she and her client are satisfied. We got in touch with Beatrice in order to find out more about working in a bespoke environment, her creative process, and her vision for the future.
Describe a typical Korlekie customer?
A tough one, ideally I would love it to be anyone, but a Queen of Eagles, an embodiment of power and boldness; someone who is sexy, sassy, and confident.
What inspired you to launch your own brand?
Ever since I was young, I loved fairytales and loved that they always had a happy ending, with the princess wearing something amazing in the end, I guess you could call it the transformation moment. I love working towards transformative moments, when a client tries something on after the process of designing the piece is always inspiring.
What is your creative process like?
When I first started I operated like every fashion business, but it wasn’t working and I didn’t like it. I then went down the bespoke made-to-measure route. I love it because it really is a transformative process; you first meet the customer, get them to understand the fabrics and sample it on them, you then rework it and see the final great moment when they receive the dress. Which might in fact be something totally different than their original idea, but it actually looks better and always looks amazing when they wear it.
How have your studies of digital fashion influenced your designs and your design process?
It’s very labor intensive. I was speaking to one of my mentors and lecturers, and at first didn’t realize what [digital fashion] could do for me. I didn’t want to do robotics at first, but there are so many amazing technologies that allow you more time to be creative and less time laboring away. Digital fashion has allowed me to constantly experiment and create some really interesting pieces.
Do you have any fashion muses?
It changes, I would say my muse would be the woman that comes to me [as Korlekie is a bespoke label]. I have to look at her and get to know what she wants and what will look good. I adapt - I call it shapeshifting.
Who is the celebrity that you would most like to see in your clothing?
Angelina Jolie, I love her elegance, but it’s really striking and effortless at the same time. Rihanna, when she started she was quite quiet, she can throw anything on and it always looks amazing, even if it’s not supposed to look amazing. I really love the way she is able to look good in anything.
What can we expect from Korlekie in the next 5-10 years?
I’ve always taken inspiration to be the next Alexander McQueen, in the sense that I want my brand name to be known for its luxury, technique, and uniqueness. I also appreciate timeless quality, think Saville Row and the traditions that are in those labels. That’s where I see my brand ending up, with a reputation for really high-quality bespoke work that always looks incredible on the customer. Also, Azzedine Alaïa is a role model in the way he worked. Always quiet, but loud; quiet because he would do what is right, loud because he was always right on the target with his pieces.
What advice would you have for other young designers?
I really think this question depends on the individual. Overall, it would be experience; when you say that to a young designer, they probably want to work for themselves, but there are limitations. After you work for someone else you can see how the industry operates and where the limitations are, then once you are aware of these things you will be better off when you want to start your own label.