Crushing on Kirsty McKenzie


Kirsty McKenzie designs imaginative clothing, which has been shown at Toronto’s Alternative Fashion week and can be found on her etsy. She also creates one of a kind costumes, favored by many creative musicians and performance artists.

What did you dress like in high school?
High school was kind of a confused time…started out in vintage tees, baggy pants with boxers and life jacket belts… then took a weird preppy/ but raver-ish style blend… then kinda 70s ghetto fab in my last year, with Fawcet hair, fur coats and distressed bell bottoms.

What are the biggest differences when you design costumes as opposed to a regular collection?
When I design costumes I try to reflect the artist(s), or band’s character/ persona, and have a very specific individual in mind. Costumes can stand alone, and aren’t always harmonizing with a group of designs. Costumes are usually more free and fun, and although my collections are somewhat cheeky at times, I usually go for a more luxurious evening feel, but often with a dark twist.

Who do you imagine to be the typical person who wears your designs?
The customer can be a musician, an eccentric, or simply someone who wants some special pieces. I have seen/dealt with customers of all ages almost – from early 20s to 60! My biggest customer of the moment is 48 and lives in Florida, and I recently made my mom’s dress and jacket for my sister’s wedding. I can totally do some more “toned down” designs, but I personally don’t believe in “dressing one’s age”.

What were some of the major influences behind your most recent collection?
Grace Jones and Siouxsie Sioux… Japan, flowers, Gothic punk, romance…it was aptly named PARADISE POISON – dripping with flowers and gems, and licked with a poisoned tongue. Music was a huge influence, and I mixed the music for my show combining Grace Jones vocals from her new album, layered over an 80s Ministry industrial beat.

What was your last Halloween costume?
Psycho Clown Nurse (nurse costume with crazy clown makeup, bloody gloves and needles!)

Kirsty’s Top Ten Fashion Designers
Issey Miyake
Zandra Rhodes
Vivienne Westwood
ThreeASFOUR
Christian Lacroix
Christian Dior
Jean Paul Gaultier
Alexander McQueen
Comme des Garcons
Yohji Yamamoto

3 thoughts on “Crushing on Kirsty McKenzie

  1. I love the patterned tights and crushed velvet…sweet and dark all at once. Finally something different.
    Good on ya Kirsty…

  2. Kirsty McKenzie is exemplifies the intrinsic creativity we are expecting and looking for in the next wave of influential up and coming designers. These care-not, heart-followers are being dubbed, ‘fashion artists.’ The fashion world is expanding to accommodate not only high fashion and mass market but also the high end indie designers, many of whom are finding a place for themselves on Etsy. This phenomenon in many ways is a return to the days of tailors and dressmakers– these designers are making a name for themselves through their work with private clients, making the average consumer into the high society princess– or in this very relevant case the princess of sound patterns, sparkling mayhem, and deviant glam rock tea parties.

    Our hats are off to Ms McKenzie.

  3. Amazing! I am really inspired by designers who are creating the boundaries of the field– its like you can almost hear the music in the designs! Thanks for being so awesome, Kirsty! Also just reading the list of references makes me want to dance sexy and bake a cake at the same time. Sarah summed it up with ‘sweet and dark’. Love it.

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