Nov 05, 2012 4:32PM

Meet Label Kinoak

We meet designer Amie Darragh who has previously worked with P.A.M.

Kinoak clothing is pretty damn cute. Just two seasons young, the Melbourne-based label has already started to catch on with girls who don't mind a little 'ladylike' with their streetwear. The label's good vibrations aren't that surprising — designer Amie Darragh worked with the switched-on P.A.M. duo for eight years (eight!) before going out on her own. Before that, it was Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester. She hails from New Zealand, a place producing so many great labels that its water supply must be infused with magical fashion additives. We caught up with Amie for a few quick questions. 

Tempe Nakiska: Hi Amie, congratulations on your second collection.
Amie Darragh: Hi, thanks so much!

You're from New Zealand — if you could bring one thing from home to Australia what would it be and why?
My family, I miss them!

Kinoak sounds like a tree, but I read there's a bit more to the meaning than that? 
Kinoak is something we made up. It's no big deal but we wanted a name that meant something to us. Kin means lineage, and my surname translates to Oak in Irish, so it's my family roots… and I think it's a really nice sturdy tree.

Your experience with other designers is pretty impressive. What did you take out of each place?
With Karen Walker, I was straight out of class. I was the really keen intern, willing to do anything. Working at Kate Sylvester was a priceless 'local production' experience for me. It was all hands-on, fast-paced and teamwork. I loved it and didn't mind the crazy deadlines and late nights at all. I still love working with local manufacturers, though it is getting so much harder these days. There is no encouragement from the government to produce clothing in Australia and they are making it harder. It's really sad to see it all unfolding, which makes my job a real challenge. I never know which supplier or manufacturer will be next to close its doors.

Working with P.A.M. was an amazing experience. Misha and Shauna are so creative and have been doing what they believe in for over a decade, which is not as easy as it seems. My role was for most of the eight years there was taking care of the production side of things. I experienced so much and I got to travel, which was really lucky, as I hadn’t had a chance to do that yet. We all learnt a bunch along the way and the time flew by.

Summer is well and truly here. What would be the perfect summer shindig for you? 
Sunshine, good friends and a tall, fresh G&T!

Sounds delicious! Who would be your outrageous party guest? 
An outrageous party guest can quickly turn annoying so it's very important to get it right. Richard Pryor would be my top choice.

Bomber jackets seem to be your thing. What makes them awesome?
We love a bomber jacket. You can never have too many… They are so comfy and you can wear them however you like. Too easy! We still get asked about our first bomber jacket all the time.

Why the use of flat shoes in your lookbooks?
It's a bit of a theme. For our first collection we used YSL flats. In SS13 it was a vintage Nike sneaker. We love a comfy shoe, especially on a hot day. I love wearing sneakers but don't get me wrong, I love a good heel too. I am just awful at walking in them. I must have missed that class.

Tempe Nakiska