Conversation with a leading kids’ clothing designer

March 14, 2018

Do you ever look at a piece of kid’s clothing, and think about the process behind it? Who designed, what inspired it, when was it made, and what safety guidelines it follows?

I generally yank things off the shelf if they look good without much thought behind it, so I thought it would be cool to chat to Keedo designer Amy Visser about the process and the clothes, and who plans for months in advance, taking into consideration aesthetics and comfort.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do at Keedo, and how long have you been doing it?

I am the girls’ and baby designer at Keedo. I started in 2017 as an intern and started designing for them in July of 2017. I absolutely love my job, and feel like the luckiest girl in the world! 

Are you a mom?

I have an amazing 4-year old little boy, Louis. 

What is the Keedo ethos? 

“Where love and care is born”. At Keedo we believe all children are little miracles. We love creating garments that are of great quality, and are soft, comfortable and safe.  

What are five words you’d use to describe Keedo?

Love, family, integrity, laughter, passion.

Tell us a bit about the design process

We start each season with what we call a “Creative Day”.  The three designers spend the day at our founder and CEO Nelia Annandale’s house where we evaluate the research we’ve done, brainstorm and decide on the colours and themes for the entire season.

We then start designing each range carefully, design our prints and fabrics and, once that has been approved, we brief the styles to our pattern maker.

The styles then move through the pre-production cycle of rating, costing, cutting, sample making, fitting and approval. After this they are booked through to our factory where our lovely machinists sew the outfits up, and then send them to the stores.  

How far in advance do you design? What are you working on at the moment?

We always aim to be six months ahead of production. At the moment we are finishing off our last range for summer 2018 and starting our first ranges for winter 2019. 

How many other designers work at Keedo, and how is the design work divided, i.e. does each designer have a certain range?

Previously it was just Astrid, our boys designer and me. She did everything for boys (accessories, garments etc)  and I did everything for girls and layette (our newborn/ infant range) We recently employed an intern, Yolandie who is starting to help out on the boys’ front, since Astrid will be moving into other departments as well. We also design all of our fabrics and prints ourselves. 

What or who inspires you when designing? 

We look at international trends, but we are mostly inspired by our customer. What their needs are, what they are looking for regarding trends. But it is very important to us to stay true to our Keedo brand and what we believe in. We also always try and bring our love of animals and our country in general into our products.

How often are you designing new stuff?

Every month! We have a new drop in store in every month. 

Every year your ranges are new and fresh? How do you do it, so that not one year looks like the next?

We have to stay on top of the international trends, but we also keep in mind what works for the Keedo customer. It’s quite challenging to be innovative every season, but to me that’s where the fun lies! 

Do overseas trends set local trends here?

They do. Previously international trends would reach South Africa only a season or so later. That space is getting smaller, due to many international brands that are opening stores locally such as Zara, H&M, Cotton On etc. It definitely keeps us on our toes! 

What are you currently working on?

A million different things at a time! I am in the process of getting ready to brief our pattern maker on our December 2018 range, so I’m doing brief sheets, creating continuous prints to brief our fabric suppliers. We are also developing our colour palette for winter 2019. I’m presenting my first W19 range in two weeks, so busy, busy, busy! 

How does it feel seeing kids in the street wearing your clothes?

It is such an amazing feeling! Always a proud moment. 

What can we expect from Keedo for autumn and winter?

Beautiful, playful prints and quirky elements. The Keedo kids will definitely stand out! 

What has been your least-favourite kids’ clothing trend? 

I can’t really think of one that is horrible, but I’ve never really been a fan of faux fur on toddlers. 

What is the design ethos at Keedo, and do you design around safety primarily?

Comfort is key! Kids should be able to play and explore without restrictive clothes. It must also be easy to remove especially for our moms that need to change diapers and toddlers that are potty training. It is also very important that the fabrics are soft. We use mostly 100% cotton fabrics which is good for wash and wear and also great against their sensitive skin. 

What is the one thing you’ll never design

I don’t want to limit myself, but I strongly believe that little girls shouldn’t wear revealing clothes. So you’ll never find a very short dress in my ranges. 

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