Chit Chat with Kelly Ekardt

Happy Monday! Normally I wouldn't post a Chit Chat on a Monday as I like to post them on Fridays but I decided to go ahead and post one today. I thought it might be a good idea for you to get to know me a bit. I'm always curious to find out more about a brand I love, their background, inspiration behind the brand and of course the designer. So I answered the interview questions I usually send out to those I feature on the blog. Read on to learn more about me and girlstalktoboys. 

1.   TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I am an almost 36 year-old American, living in London. I’m originally from Springfield, Missouri. I moved to London after I got married in 2008. I’m married to a German guy named Julius. I have one little girl named Edith. I’m big into music, fashion, interiors and I LOVE to dance. They say the world revolves around love; I think it revolves around music. I’m one of those people that have music playing all the time!

I studied Fashion Design and Product Development at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, Missouri, USA. I went on to do an internship with Wal-Mart Corporation at their head office in Arkansas in their Interior Design Department. I loved this internship!!! They offered me a job as a Buyer for Soft Interiors, but I decided to take a job as a location fashion stylist for an outdoor wear company called Bass Pro Shops in my hometown, Springfield, Missouri. I loved this job as I got to travel to the most beautiful places and meet the most amazing people. I did this for a year before moving to London, England, after I got married. My fiancé and I had a long distance relationship for a year. I met my now husband Jules and some of my closest friends while I was studying in London during the last term of my degree. I was awarded a fashion design scholarship to come study at an American University in London called AIU.

When I moved back to London in 2008, I couldn’t find a job. The financial crisis had just happened and people were not in the mood to hire anyone on, so I decided to start up an online childrenswear shop called I Dream Elephants with my then business partner. It’s still going but after 4 years and the birth of my child, I decided to go in a different direction. I have since worked for Merchant Archive, Babyccino Kids, Little Icons, Foundation Agency, Oliver Bonas, blogged full-time under the same name, girlstalktoboys, and now have my own childrenswear brand. I’ve done a lot of things so far and all these jobs have been very valuable to me as I’ve learnt a lot along the way that I can now apply to my own business.

2.   WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR GIRLSTALKTOBOYS?

I first started a blog under the name girlstalktoboys. It was a lifestyle blog about fashion, interiors, music and kids fashion. But I didn’t want to just be writing about other brands, even though I love doing this. I wanted to be creating something myself.

I’ve always loved sewing and designing. Back at uni I did several fashion shows and got all my friends involved. It was awesome! So it was only natural that I would start designing again. I wanted to create a cool, laid-back but sophisticated look for kids, so I started creating moodboards and collecting inspiration and kept them in a folder for when the time was right.

3.   WHERE DID THE NAME GIRLSTALKTOBOYS COME FROM?

My husband and I took a trip to Vienna years ago, way before Edith was born. We were walking in the city centre when we came across a sign that said: “FACT, girls that talk to boys at a younger age have better relationships when they are older.” I thought this was cool because it could be applied to both boys and girls. I interpreted it as building confidence in kids to be themselves and not be afraid to talk to those around them. I think it’s super important to start instilling self-confidence in kids from a very young age. Teaching them that it’s ok to be different and to use this to their advantage. So I incorporate that into the brand.

4.  WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE KIDS AND WOMENSWEAR DESIGNERS?

Edith – Finger in the Nose, Stella McCartney, Mar Mar Copenhagen, Nico Nico, Atsuyo et Akiko, Mini and Maximus and Mini Rodini.

Me - I absolutely love Ryan Roche and Vetements. I wish I could afford their clothing! I love Alexander Wang, Molly Goodard, LF Markey, Rick Owens, anything from Goodhood and Diverse in Tufnell Park. Also there is this great little shop between Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington called Atelier. She carries great Korean fashion there. From highstreet brands, Whistles, Monki, Rabbithole London, Hope, COS, Veja and Adidas!

5.  DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? DOES THIS INFLUENCE THE WAY YOU DRESS YOUR LITTLE ONE?

I love oversized silhouettes, drop crotch trousers, blazers, and chunky knits. I’m inspired by Japanese and Korean fashion. I would describe my style as laid-back cool. I like to look put-together, but in a very comfortable way.

I believe my style does influence Edith in a big way, it’s all about comfy for her. She wants to be comfortable while wearing a tutu dressJ But Edith has her very own style and I love this about her. I can help influence some of her fashion decisions, well obviously because I buy her clothes, but she has to be the one to puts things together. She knows what she likes, just like me.

6.  WHERE DO YOU GAIN INSPIRATION FROM WHEN COMING UP WITH NEW IDEAS FOR EACH COLLECTION?

I mainly get my ideas from womenswear and menswear brands for the kids range. I don’t look at other kidswear designers. I don’t find them relevant. I scroll through pinterest, magazines, books, art, and then I come up with a theme for the collection and start working within that theme. Picking a theme helps me narrow ideas down as I have a tendency to go a little crazy with ideas. I start putting a moodboard together, along with silhouette and print ideas then I take it from there. I work with an amazing illustrator and friend, Fiona Wade. I give her my ideas and she takes them and comes back with other ideas. It’s really great! I love working with her and we work really well together.

7.  DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CAFÉ, BOOKSHOP, CLOTHING SHOP, ETC THAT YOU GO TO AND GAIN INSPIRATION FROM OR JUST GO AND HAVE A LOVELY THINK?

To be honest, I get inspired by just walking around. I love walking around in East London, there is so much to see and take in and use as inspiration. My studio is in Hackney Downs and I love walking from Hackney to London Fields, it makes me so happy! I get inspired on my runs through Hampstead Heath as well. It helps me clear my head and then the creative juices start following. My favourite café locally to me would have to be Coffee Circus; they do the best flat white and are always playing great music. I love going into Cassius and Co, a lovely interior shop in Crouch End as they also always play great music, have amazing interiors and they carry Milk Magazine and other great magazines too!

8.  WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO TO WITH YOUR KIDS?

My husband and I love talking Edith to the Southbank and the Tate. Edith loves it! I take Edith to the London Zoo quite a bit. In the summer we often go to Clissold Park in Stoke Newington and then hit up Finks for some food. So good! Go to Fink’s if you haven’t been!

9.  IF YOU COULD COLLOBARATE WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD THIS BE? WHY?

I definitely would love to work with Andrea from Flannery O’Kaffka. I would love to do a small film project with her.

If I were to do a shoe collab then definitely Veja!

I want to collaborate with my friend Josh from Comod Classics on a furniture line.

I would also love to collab with Atsuyo et Akiko and Wovenplay.

AND Lakshmi. I love her work! There are so many more!

10.  WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN? WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO US?

Another fashion designer friend of mine told me stick with what you’re good at; you can’t do everything. It’s ok to outsource the things you can’t do. This really helped as I was beating myself up over not being good at every part of the business. My advice is: Just be you. There is no point in trying to copy or be like someone else. Just doing you is super special and amazing!

11.  IF YOU WEREN’T DOING GIRLSTALKTOBOYS, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SECOND DREAM JOB?

I would be a music producer or A&R for a record company. Or be singing. Still would love to do that. But the music industry is so different now. And I would still love to have my own radio show.

12.  FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY.

Coming home to find all the lights off in the house and my parents dancing in the music room to one of my dad’s favourite albums. It was a magical moment watching them.

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