Photos: Courtesy of Selkie
Los Angeles is a city built on dreams, a concept that Kimberley Gordon perfectly encapsulated in her incredibly successful whimsical label, Wildfox. The cool creative director moved to LA to pursue a career in film; along the way, she channeled her talents into fashion and wound up founding the brand in 2007.
Gordon left Wildfox in 2015 and has since spun her signature sherbet-infused aesthetic into campaigns for Planet Blue, Frankie's Bikinis, Quay Australia, and other stylish companies — but creating ethereal lookbooks wasn't enough for the insanely talented designer (who's also a photographer, illustrator, and set and prop designer, to name a few titles), and that's where her latest fashionable venture comes in.
Meet Selkie, Gordon's new brand that isn't just Wildfox 2.0: It's a feminist label that hopes to help further the size inclusivity movement in the fashion industry and unapologetically address women's issues. While speaking her mind has always been second nature for Gordon, it was completely different story when it came to her previous company. "I was always afraid of being me at Wildfox, as it was not about 'me,' it was about 'Wildfox'," the LA-based designer tells us. "So I learned to hide behind a brand."
Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale "The Little Mermaid" and named after the Scottish mythological sea creature, Selkie's debut collection shines a light on Gordon's romantic sense of style. Priced from $64 to $298 and available in sizes XS to XXXL (with plans to offer even more sizing options), the pastel-powered fall line is comprised of clever pieces made with Gen Z and millennials in mind (like this Dial Up Generation baby tee), statement making basics (like this Riots Not Diets cropped top) ruffle dresses in baby blue and dusty rose hues, and flowy dungarees that play with proportion.
Here, we caught up with Gordon to learn more about what inspired her to create Selkie, how the brand has given her voice back as a designer, and more. Read on below, and shop the new label online here.
Compared to Wildfox, Selkie is clearly more willing to get political and promote body positivity — what inspired you to create an unapologetic fashion brand?
I've never been afraid of speaking my mind or getting involved. At my last brand I had partners, one of them — a majority owner — was an older man. He and I didn't share the same views. I partially needed to move on just to be able to finally be myself.
My mother is very outspoken and an environmentalist. She pushes me to be as ethical as possible; she's gonna kill me for using a poly jersey in my next collection. You pick and choose your battles I suppose!
Size diversity and options for sizes is something that's always made me super angry. I can't believe as a size 12 I can't shop my favorite brands. It's disgusting — what's their excuse?
How long has creating Selkie been on your mind, and what sparked the decision to make it a reality?
I had wanted to start a line again after losing Wildfox, but to start I needed A) the funds, and B) a name! I came up with Selkie on an evening walk with my boyfriend. He had never heard of the Selkie before. We were speaking about folklore, and I had always compared what was happening to me (and so many women) to Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid." Young women are often tricked into giving up their voices, and often we can't escape the grip of the proverbial man. I felt as if I was a mermaid without a voice after Wildfox, like my identity had been pulled out of me.
It was so much grief at first! I felt that I too, had become sea foam. I thought about what would come next if it were a series — back to the ocean — a Selkie! She is a woman searching for her skin. Well maybe this could be my skin, a way to find myself, and encourage other women to as well.
What lessons did you learn from your previous brand that helped form the concept for Selkie?
I learned how hard the industry is and to be ready to cry a lot (it is now way harder the second time), and I learned how your customer/fan is the best part of everything. It's a feeling I can't describe, like each time I sell an item to a customer I feel a connection to her — as if building a sisterhood or a club.
When girls used to approach me about Wildfox it was like we had this secret thing in common; I loved to hear their stories of how the clothes and brand made them feel. It's very rewarding. It makes me emotional.
Who were some of the muses that inspired the first collection?
The first collection was really inspired by my friends, it will always be like that for me. Same with Wildfox! It's just that feeling you get when you're all together, talking about the important things, sharing your life, laughing hard, eating cake, and drinking wine. I like designing clothing made for those situations — clothes to get philosophical in.
As a designer, how have you grown since creating Wildfox?
Oh so much! First thing you learn is a thick thick skin. You can't get attached to any of your work because your customer dictates what you make them. You better be ready to drop something at the flick of a hat.
I've also learned that people like when you get personal. It's been hard for me to do, but putting your heart into designing really is what they want to see, at least in my case… Now I have a difficult time taking ownership for something, or attaching my name to things. I was taught to keep pretty anonymous as the years went by, I've learned this is actually a bad thing for my brand and my photo business and am training myself to own my work now.