New Kid is a super-cool fashion label based in Florence under the helm of Rachel "Rach" Beagley. The company produces an astonishing number of items that range from footwear to accessories to women's and men's wear. With a small but powerful team and a network of local family-run artisan businesses, New Kid sources and produces everything in Tuscany. Which is not surprising that Italian design tradition is engrained in every piece they conceive, but always with little twists, drawing inspiration from pop culture.
We asked Rachel to answer five questions for us to get a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes insight into New Kid:
Tell us about your journey to Florence. How did you end up here and why did you decide to start New Kid?
As a young traveller I fell in love with Italy... the old folks are so amusing and the majority dress incredibly well. After working with China for many years I was unhappy with not only the quality of production but the entire process. I wanted to be apart of every step. To start anything you need connections and I was super fortunate to have some here.
Describe your experience of producing clothing in Italy.
We have only just started the clothing side of New Kid. We have made footwear since 2004 and since 2009 production has been based here. The key is to be present everywhere, the more the different factories see you the more likely they will get things done. This is very true for Italy, most the time an email or a call won't do anything.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Collecting the components... like leathers and fabrics is always fun. I really enjoy seeing shoes come off the line, it is nerve-racking as random things can go wrong at any point.
What is your current inspiration?
For me inspiration questions are weird. I just get ideas doing mundane things like driving and walking my dogs or cleaning. I don't really have a process and really don't look at many things to find ideas. The collections just evolve, I try to keep moving forward and be a bit innovative when developing materials. For example, we have been flocking suede for the last two collections... you can get some pretty rad colour combos!
What's new with New Kid (no pun intended) this month and what should we expect later this year?
Currently, right this very second we are dying fabric... this is new to me, but Leti ["the youngest and fairest of all the New Kids"] is helping us realise our gross colour desires. It is a lot of fun, and it means we will have many varying shades this summer as we learn how to replicate colours we like.
We will also hopefully have more retail events in Firenze and maybe other cities in Italy over the rest of the year.
Finally, we are shooting images for another zine, called 'pausa pranzo'. As factories close for lunch we tend to have a couple of lunches a week in the countryside, we want to celebrate these places for the specialities they have.