Music

Style + Sound: Kitty Cowell shares her festival fashion tips

With festival season in full swing, fashion blogger Sophie Eggleton is here to help us dissect the style of musicians and festival goers far and wide.

Sophie chats to one of the most talented stylists in fashion right now, as she begins a series of interviews with some the most influential people helping to create the distinctive stage looks of this summer.  

Currently Fashion Features Editor at Notion Magazine, Kitty Cowell has carved a career artfully combining opposing styles (tomboy vs girly, designer vs street punk); a unique style persuasion that led to the formation of her blog, The Unisex Mode – a space she now shares with her friend Jess.

Read on for Sophie’s full chat with Kitty Cowell…

How would you describe your current personal style, and how has it evolved over the years?

“It’s two extremes met in the middle – tomboy meets barbie girl, and designer meets street/punk rock!”

Can you give me a potted history of how you became a blogger, stylist and model…?

“Well I grew up with a mum and dad in the fashion industry. I am gifted dyslexic and went to six schools and three universities! I started doing fashion design at uni and got picked up as a musician to tour and work with people like Basement Jaxx, and I always needed images for promo use and then people started asking me to model. I finally decided a blog was a good place to put my love of fashion, and that kind of took off quick. Then people started asking me to style other models for shoots as they needed stylists to work with. And it’s all gone from there!”

If you take on a musical client does your feeling about their music make a difference to whether you take on the job?

“Well I have never disliked the music of a client so far, so I guess I’m really lucky! Having written music and also studied it at The British Academy Of New Music it means I have a different appreciation of music than some people. Even if something isn’t to my general taste, if it’s popular I can usually understand why and appreciate that.”

When you work with an artist, are you calling in samples that you think fit in with the aesthetic you know they usually go for, or are you calling in things that will put a new stamp on their look, or give a injection of Kitty Cowell style?

“I’m always trying to fit to their taste, but also give it an edge. For example if I know someone always wears black skinny jeans and black leather jackets, I will go for that, but I’ll go for brands they wouldn’t have found before and maybe add patches or a slight design aesthetics they wouldn’t have tried before. I am here to make people look good and feel good, and part of that is giving them the option to try new things, but also a lot of that is understanding what they like too.”

What do you do if you have a client that doesn’t want to wear what you’ve suggested?

“I always have more options, that’s the whole point of my job. I would never force anyone to do something they don’t feel good in. It’s always about meeting in the middle.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGj40tgkW5i

What music styling work you are most proud of, and why? 

“Sigala and his band played Wembley for the Capital FM Summertime Ball [recently] and I styled him and his two dancers and two singers. I’m very stoked on that!”

What artist would you most like to revamp, and how would you do it?

“Oh that’s a hard one because it would be saying I don’t like their look now. There are lots but I don’t want to get into murky waters! [laughs] I would like to work with Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lemar, Drake, Kehlani [and] MIA. Although I can say this – I saw Zayn Malik in an awful outfit recently. He’s had such a cool personal change in style and I could help keep him for sure. I would keep him in a mix of street, sports and high-end so there’s always a balance. It’s relatable but also inspirational.”

Who do you think are the most stylish musicians and bands around at the moment?

“A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, surprisingly I’m going to say Justin Bieber, because it’s frankly true! Tinie Tempah always looks dope.”

In past eras we have seen music create style movements, mods and punks for example. What do you think will be seen as a movement from this generation?

:Streetwear of some kind will have left its mark. Potentially street goths too, the kind of KTZ; oversized all in black hype kids who hide their face in pictures. They are a bit like the modern day emo. This isn’t a bad thing, I dip into parts of that culture but it’s definitely a scene.” 

Who are your current clients and what do you have coming up in the next few months?

“Well I have done some work with Blonde recently. I am currently working with Sigala and also Clean Cut Kid, too. Clean Cut Kid have their new music video coming up, and I also have a lot of magazine and brand jobs coming up as well. A lot of music stuff is short notice so we shall see what’s next!”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHuqd4Tj51g

Where do you seek your inspiration?

“Old magazines, like old copies of i-D mag, Dazed and Confused and Vogue. Films from Japan and old american skate films, fashion blogs in Japan, China and Korea. Design books from the ’80s because I think that’s one of my favourite eras.”

You are a self-confessed sneaker addict – what trainers on your current lust list. What are  your all time faves and how big is your collection so far?

“I think I have about 200. Favourites are so hard but to be honest the comfiest ones are always my favourite! I love Puma Discs and Reebok Pump Fury’s. I have just received a pair of the new – to be released, Nike x Liberty Court collection and I’m loving those right now. I really want some Balenciaga’s and some Adidas Y3 Boosts, and I’m obsessed with the Dior Fusion Trainers. I want some SO BAD!”

Your blog, The Unisex Mode, feels like a unique space amongst all the other blogs. What was your mission when you launched it and did you feel there was an obvious space for what you wanted to do with it?

“Totally, I started it three and a half years ago when Size? hardly sold any small sizes of trainers, and now they have a women’s store! I started it as just me and then it became a blog for me and my friend Jess. It made sense as we were both after the same goal and had the same desire to push the unisex street and sneaker culture. I’m very happy I did it, and looking back it’s amazing what has happened since!”

And finally, what are your festival fashion must-haves this summer?

“A pac-a-mac! Boots or wellies, glitter, dry shampoo, lip balm, a good cap and suncream! Glitter mainly!”

See more of Kitty Cowell’s work at Kittycowell.com and theunisexmode.tumblr.com.

Photos: Cleo Glover

Like this interview? Find more from Sophie at sophieeggleton.blogspot.co.uk@SophieEggletonand youtube.com/sophlet.

Share post