Soul Chats with Kelly (Feather Drum)

19 Jun Soul Chats with Kelly (Feather Drum)

Name: Kelly-Lee Wright
Company: Feather Drum
Instagram: @featherdrum


Tell us about your business story. How did you come into creation?

The abridged version is that prior to creating FD, I was a corporate lawyer in the heart of London. I took a chance on love in another land… Australia. We had a child that I was told I would never have. It caused me to re-evaluate what I wanted to do. And here we are…….
I had a very clear vision of what Feather Drum was to be. I drew lots, and wrote copious notes and ideas, and ultimately breathed life into something that now has a life of its own.

Describe the aesthetic of Feather Drum’s signature style?

Feather Drum is always evolving. Season after season you will always find an array of new designs. It moves with the times but at its heart there is an underlying bohemia that can’t be denied.

Do you have any special qualifications that gave you a head start in the children’s clothing industry?

Nope, none at all. I started completely from scratch without any support or advice and I can’t lie it was a struggle…and a very steep learning curve! Manufacturing is not for the faint hearted.

What was your inspiration this season?

Folklore is inspired by the beauty & darkness, magic and mysticism of 19th Century folk tales, which is vey much reflected in the lookbook campaign.

Your designs are timeless keepsakes for children. What’s the one piece in your wardrobe you treasure?

It’s hard to pick just one. For Winter season I can’t get passed the Gitana Dress. It’s such a lovely shape on my daughter and can be layered with tights and skivvy if its super cold. Oh and of course our luxe faux fur coats!

For Summer I love my signature harem jumpsuit on Willow. She never fails to get compliments when she’s out wearing it, which is always a proud moment for Mum! I love her in maxi skirts too.

When I first launched a maxi skirt for kids back in 2014 they just weren’t seen in the marketplace. I was anxious to see how the public reacted to it, but it turned out to be our hands down best seller. Maxi skirts for kids are now quite commonplace.

Give us your #hottip for those business’ still in the design & development stage or about to launch

Good marketing is everything and starts way beyond launch date. It doesn’t matter how good your product is if people don’t know you are there!

Who is your fashion icon? Or Who is your role model?

I can roll off quite a few, all so different…Alexa Chung, Iris Barrell Apfel, Kate Moss, Audrey Tautou, I appreciate so many fashion genres from the avant-garde to rock chic, its too hard to pick one icon, but right up there is Jane Birkin without doubt.

How would you describe your journey into motherhood

Motherhood was never on the cards for me. I was a career woman through and through, so when I did fall pregnant, by surprise and against the odds, I found it all a bit intimidating to be honest. I didn’t have any close friends that had had babies and mentally I just didn’t…and couldn’t… picture myself as a ‘mother’ at all!

I think for many women a first pregnancy is so full of unknowns that it does create a level of anxiety. In some women a lot more than others. One of my fears was losing my sense of self, that nobody would see me as just Kel anymore.

Motherhood was a slow burn for me. I found the baby years quite hard, mostly due to the lack of sleep and constant feeds. I also had mild post-natal depression, amongst having to go back to work in a demanding corporate role in the city two days per week, but which really demanded 5 days.

But the love for my child just grew and grew and grew. It got soooo much easier as she got older and also making the decision to leave the corporate world behind helped a lot with that. Watching her grow, learn and develop is the most precious gift I’ve ever been given. I can’t believe she starts big school next year and we’re making the most of these days we have together whilst we can.

What tradition have you continued with your children that was passed on from your parents?

I grew up in England so a lot of traditions like visiting family on certain days, going on holiday to specific places etc just haven’t been able to continue. I’ve inherited all the Christmas decorations from when I was a little girl so dressing the tree always reminds me of my own childhood (minus the hot weather…I’ll never get used to a Christmas in Summer!)

A tradition from my childhood that I would love to continue is having all the family sit around the dining table for dinner together. Ummmmm, not quite happening just yet but something to aim for when Willow is older!

What’s your saving grace on a ‘mama off day’

It’s hard to switch off entirely from your own business…but I do try.

Nothing beats leaving the phone at home and catching up with a girlfriend over a cup of chai. Lately, however, every spare minute has been spent on a reno project down the Coast with my partner (@the_coal_shack). It was awesome to see it in Real Living magazine this month, which made us feel it was well worth the hard work!

What’s your mantra in life?

‘Everything happens for a reason’. It gives me an immense level of comfort, even when times are not so good, especially now that I understand I don’t have to know what that ‘reason’ is.

I’ve become a lot more chilled in all aspects of my life since finding Vedic meditation. It’s the single most important life tool I’ve discovered in the last couple of years.

Last but not least, tell us about Pilgrim!

Pilgrim is a personal journey to become more responsible in the way that I manufacture the clothing I design.

The first Pilgrim collection was entirely inspired by a visit to Japan in March 2016. I’ve always been a fan of the influential work of Rei Kawabuko, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake, but actually being in Tokyo took that love affair to another level. I fell in love with the clean lines and bold minimalist style I was seeing everywhere. Feather Drum has always been about it’s custom prints and knowing my intentions for Pilgrim, which was to develop a design focused eco-brand, it was an opportunity to experiment with keeping things clean and streamlined, to create a line that was modern, edgy, yet still very wearable. Japanese inspired silhouettes, natural fabrics, oversized, bold and subtle designs will continue to be at the core of future collections. Pilgrim also marks the introduction of a carefully curated womens line.

The lessons I’ve learnt (and continue to learn) from this pilgrimage are to be passed down and incorporated across the Feather Drum brand. I’m pleased to say that Feather Drum’s SS18 Collection has been sustainably made from organic fabrics.

Photography by Steph Brown (@_stephbrown_)