Image by Danny North
A few weeks ago I was alerted via the Topshop blog of a brand new band making waves; well when I say band it’s a pretty big one. This is a 20 strong all female choir with a difference, Gaggle. With songs about life today as a woman and outfits far from the twinset cardies of WI choirs. After being drawn in by the design of their costumes I was lucky enough to come across the designers, Schwange. I spoke to Kathryn “Schwa” Bonnar to see what it was all really about.
So first things first what is Schwange?
We are a team, designers, makers, thinkers, lovers.
Why did you name yourselves Schwange?
Schwange is the marriage of our two names. Schwa is the name I came up with for myself when I was 17/18. I’m not quite sure why now but I think it’s the naughty side of me. Ange obviously for the beautiful Angela.
What’s it like designing clothes for Gaggle? and how did this come about?
Designing clothes for Gaggle is amazing and challenging. We both were members of Gaggle from the beginning and we are really in touch with the feeling of the project. Knowing each of the girls individually also helps with knowing what will and won’t work.
Who or what are your fashion and design influences?
Vivienne Westwood within fashion is always an inspiration. Our main influences come from outside fashion. Life experiences, characters we meet in the street, reality, smiles, music, art and hopefully nothing too plastic.
What is your favourite outfit or piece you have ever designed?
We are currently designing pieces to be shown at The vintage at Goodwood festival which is August 15th, which we are very excited about. What we are working on at present is always our favourite thing.
What else do you do other than design?
Other than design we run club nights which you can see at Freaks Tractor. We illustrate, create videos and create comedy sketches.
Do you have a work motto? If so what is it?
Don’t take anything too seriously. Never give up. Support others.
Which piece by another designer do you wish you had created?
Much of Hussein Chalayan’s work.
What advice would you give to any budding costume designers?
Keep it real.
And finally what’s next?
We currently design custom made pieces for individual customers but we are in the process of designing a collection which you will be able to buy from our website which is also in production. Keep a check on our blog for all our updates.