{September 2, 2010}   Abigail Keats: Proudly African

Abigail  Keats

Well, well, well, I’ve been away from my beloved blog for roughly a year now, due to force majeure but I’m back and ready to continue my self-appointed mission of helping promote African fashion and haute couture.  This is an interview I’ve just concluded with a young designer who describes her work as ”Proudly African”.  Folks, from House of Abigail Keats, meet Abigail Keats:

1. Who is Abigail Keats, fashion designer?
“They may talk of a comet, or a burning mountain, or some such bagatelle;
but to me a modest woman, dressed in all her finery, is the most tremendous
object of all creation” ­ -Oliver Goldsmith.

I graduated top of my year in 2007 and launched my first collection at
Audi’s Autumn/Winter Fashion Week 2008 as part of the new Generation
Designer show. Since then I have participated in Joburg Spring/Summer
Fashion Week 08, Audi Autumn/Winter Fashion Week 09 and 10, and not too long ago,  Arise Africa Fashion Week. I was invited to showcase in New York,
London, Miami and Dubai, selected as designer of the month in Elle
magazine, “designer to watch” in Cosmopolitan and featured designer in
life style magazine Ray.
My Brand is an exclusive contemporary fashion label, which caters to women
who look to infuse style, glamour and sophistication into their wardrobes
and lifestyle. It embodies bespoke fashion and draws inspiration from both
the contemporary and the classical.
I offer something special for every occasion. Whether you choose from
seasonal collections or indulge in one-off designs tailored to your
specifications, superb attention to detail, fit and quality are guaranteed.
It is my aim for the house of Abigail Keats to become an internationally
accepted profile that is Proudly South African.

2. Although I’ve already written a short into on you, talk to us a little about Abigail Keats the person, including what inspired you to become a fashion designer.

Born in Durban in 1986, I was raised in a family
of four. I moved to Johannesburg at the young age of six
where I am currently still situated. I was raised in a very loving, moral
family who have always respected me as an individual and have
supported and nurtured my dreams. They have definitely shaped me into the
person I am today and for that I am eternally thankful. As for the other
aspects of my life, I grew up loving sport and art as well as experiencing
life to the full. I’m a very down to earth person who embraces both the good
and bad of life and I love to smile. My motto in life is Dream, Believe,
What inspired me to go into fashion….?  Throughout high school I had a very
strong interest in art which lead to me explore possible career choices that
embraced artistic flare and values. Fashion was a clear-cut winner. I fell
in love with the idea that I could express my creative talent and passion
through a three-dimensional form and thus pursued a career in fashion. I
have never looked back!

3. Every fashion designer has a label which basically represents their brand. How have you pulled together these two principles in a way that accurately depicts the essence of the house of Abigail Keats?
The Abigail Keats brand represents high-end fashion that embraces and
embodies the importance of creativity and quality, in order to create
garments that are an asset to any wardrobe. It was from this vision that the
‘Abigail Keats’ label was formed. The wings and font represent a freedom to
create, a freedom to express one’s self….a chance for me to spread my wings
and fly and a chance to offer something unique to every woman!

4. The house of Abigail Keats as you call it is Proudly African (South African). What are your future goals for your business on the global/international scenario?

In the short term, I wish to expand the ‘Abigail Keats’
brand globally by participating in international fashion weeks in order to
create a global demand and awareness of the house of Keats. I would also
like to create an awareness of the talent alive (within Africa), in order to
bring opportunities to fellow designers.  In the long-term I hope to be able
to open boutiques around the world!

5.  What are some recent fashion shows in which you’ve participated?

Some of these include:
-Arise Africa Fashion Week (Spring/Summer 2009)
-Audi Oberg Fashion (Autumn/Winter 2010)

6. Besides talent, it takes guts, stamina and perseverance (among other things) to become a successful fashion designer. I know and so do my readers that success does not come easy and that there have been some challenges, obstacles and struggles along the way.  Can you remember any incident in particular that left you feeling like quitting?  (of course we know you didn’t).  In essence, could you send a message to someone out there who like you is also aspiring to be a successful fashion designer but facing challenges or obstacles and consequently thinking of throwing in the towel.

To be honest I¹ve never thought of quitting! This is my love and life. I
believe I was born to do this! This said ,there have been quite a few moments where
I¹ve been driven up the wall and stressed beyond belief…this usually
happens a week before a fashion show…deadlines running late, people
letting you down etc.
Some advice to aspiring designers who feel like throwing in the towel…..
You know the fashion industry is an extremely difficult one to crack!  So
hang in there, apply yourself and continue to push forward and work hard BUT
REMEMBER never let go of your passion or faith in your talent, as it is this
that will lead you through many difficult times and take you to the top; AND
Always stay true to your design style, no matter how hard it gets as
this will allow you to create something unique and special that will
undoubtedly be a success.

7. What are some of the mistakes that you’ve made in the course of getting to where you are now that you would advise other young fashion designers such as yourself to avoid?
I have made many mistakes up to this point, things like: not leaving enough
time for projects and thus creating so much unnecessary stress;
underestimating the time spent on the business side of fashion and the
importance of fabric testing etc.! But at the end of the day remember making
mistakes is an important part of the learning process!  Without mistakes
there is no lesson to be learnt and thus no progression and growth! So my
advice is embrace your mistakes! There is no use crying over spilt milk!

8.  What other fashion projects have you been working on?

These are excerpts from publicity on some of the other projects that have been keeping me busy:
-Sandton to Shanghai – Young South African designer stakes her claim in high-end retail fashion market.
Abigail Keats officially opens her exclusive flagship boutique in Sandton at the new Nedbank Building on 29th June 2010

-AFI Cape Town Fashion Week and Boutique
The Heart of the Mother City is set to come alive over Cape Town Fashion Week, running from the 12th to 14th of August 2010

-Abigail Keats – Fashion for ‘Real’ Women, August 19th, 2010

9. How and where can one view your past and present collections?
My past and current collections can be viewed on my website:
Well, faithful readers, there you are: Abigail Keats, a very talented, “Proudly African” fashion designer.  Thank you Abigail for taking time from your busy schedule to do this interview.  We wish you all the best in your fashion future.

“Thank you.”

Lorena says:

Very nice interview!!
Love her words of advice.

fuyume says:

i love interviews more blogs should have them xx

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