Designer Spotlight: Turet Knuefermann

http://www.tk.net.nz/In spite of the moody ways of the weather gods, summer is coming, which means it’s time to restock that tired wardrobe and bring some serious sexyback! But where to go, you ask? If you intend on looking like a knockout, Designer Direction’s Kelly Jin recommends TKstore, a New Zealand brand gone international. Check out Kelly Jin’s interview with the brand’s uber-talented designer, Turet Knuefermann.

How would you describe TK in a nutshell?
It’s funny because I always think about this question. TK is quite European in styling and consists of generally quite classic pieces without being old and boring. It has a twist and each piece possesses that effortless, feminine allure which women desire. I make sure the fabric is top quality and not only looks but also feels amazing. I adore natural fibres. Overall, the style is very simple and allows for people to do with it what they like. Our market is very broad ranging from the young to more mature and it is amazing to see pieces worn in such a large variety of ways.

TK DressHow would you describe the TK woman?
She’s confident, intelligent, knows what she wants and is very feminine. The TK woman has her own sense of style.

What motivated you to start up your own label?
I actually started when I was at varsity. I made clothes during the evening for myself and then people started to ask about them. Initially, I started IPG. I didn’t use my actual name at that point because people told me if it doesn’t work out then it scars your name. In fact, it wasn’t until four or five years ago that I felt like I was settled in regards to the brand. In the beginning I made more ‘clubby’ clothes as that reflected my lifestyle then but I eventually found the look I wanted for TK, which is sexy but sophisticated. So, when I found my niche I felt I was ready to open TKstore, which is multibrand. I also bring in other brands which complement my own.

TK DressWhat was the biggest obstacle you faced?
I think the biggest obstacles for a new business entrepreneur are the age old: time & money, as well as of course the knowledge that experience brings…oh if I knew then what I know now…(laughs).

Being under-capitalised both at the start up stage as well as during the growth period of a business always makes it challenging to have the freedom to invest in important aspects of the business such as marketing, product development, production and then the administrative side (accounts/legal/systems) which as a designer, I would much prefer to ignore. However, if these can be outsourced to the best, as they are absolutely as important as the obvious design and marketing sides which are all we usually see when we think of a career in the design field, then that would be ideal.

The way I built my business was by taking care of all these areas myself which of course gives you a great insight into how to most efficiently work the brand as a whole. It does, however, also make it a tough and time consuming process with very little time for yourself and I dream of the day I can sit at a board with my amazing team and plan the coming season’s collection and image direction without wee niggling thoughts of paperwork piling up on my desk (laughs).

Give us a taste of your SS10 collection. What was your inspiration?
Luxurious, glamourous daywear. Effortless is definitely the keyword. It’s easy to wear. Through using accessories, you can dress it up or dress it down. I used quite a lot of my signature colours, which are green, brown and with a very fine lurex through it. I love it because it really flatters your skin tone whether you are a blonde or brunette.

I guess favourite pieces which really represent the collection would be like this sixties-esque dress inspired by one of Mum’s old patterns. It has that kind of feeling that you could be on a yacht somewhere in the Mediterranean. It’s glamorous but not at all over the top. I have lots of long maxi dresses this time. I was really influenced by my trips to Brazil, where women wear long dresses and bangles. Very feminine. We also have lots of sarongs. Actually, there is this neat trick this lady from Vogue Brazil taught me. I’ll have to show you.

TK Dress

Has the current economic climate had any influence on your designs?
No, not at all. It hasn’t influenced our retail either. We have been really fortunate as revenue has increased and I think it could be because the clothing is already so versatile yet classic. Although, when I did the costing, I did reduce my margins quite a lot in order to support my retailers through this period.

Who would you love to have wear one of your designs?
Oh, that would have to be Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie. They have got such an effortless look, which is the TK mantra really.

What was your latest splurge?
Shoes. I had to arrange for some shoes for a photo shoot and I ended up buying a few pairs. Actually, my biggest recent splurge was probably the trip I recently made to Sicily, Turkey and Switzerland to visit my sister. We dined, went shopping and had outings every night. Unsurprisingly, my credit card is not looking so hot!

Your top three designers?
Tom Ford definitely. I love Reinaldo Lorenzo, which is a Brazilian brand. Directional and edgy. It’s not the TK aesthetic but I find it inspiring nonetheless. I also like Stella McCartney. Oh, I love Christian Louboutin.

Your most fabulous fashion ‘moment’?
We did a fashion show down in Victoria Park Market. It was the most incredible evening. Eight hundred people there and the models looked fantastic. That was definitely an elating experience. To see what support and what a following we have really hit home with me and made everything seem more real. Also, just walking into the store and having that tangible proof is really quite astounding.

In a fashion utopia, men and women would…?
All look hot? (laughs) My first vision is probably those Gucci ads depicting beautiful people with beautiful lifestyles.

You know you’re a fashion designer when…?
When you’re able to start delegating!

For more information about stockists for TK please visit http://www.tkstore.net.nz

Images courtesy of Turet Knuefermann

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