Today I am thrilled to spotlight on Kate Slater Lace, designer maker of original contemporary lace for bridal wear or accessories.
I hand you over to Kate to tell you all about her blossoming Business…
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, I am Kate Slater and I am a designer maker of original and contemporary lace for bridal wear and accessories, based in the West Midlands.
Using machine embroidery techniques alongside a wealth of yarns and fibres I create bespoke lace pieces for brides – either directly or via my stockist My Little Wedding Shop in Shropshire.
From shawls and head pieces to ring cushions and lace panel inserts, each piece is designed to the bride’s specific colour palette and theme – or they can select from my existing designs, and adapt them.
I offer brides (and bridesmaids) the opportunity to create something that is very personal to them, sometimes when they have been unsuccessful in finding pieces on the high street.
If the bride is having her gown custom-made I can also work alongside the bridal boutiques and/or designer to create decorative lace back inserts and trimmings to set pattern pieces.
All enquiries can be made through the contacts page on my website www.kateslater.co.uk and I am happy to informally discuss ideas and take it from there.
When and why did you start your Company?
I set up my first studio Kate Slater Textiles in 2010 after receiving support from The Princes Trust.
I had dreamt of becoming a self employed fashion designer since I was a young girl, but it was a very nerve wracking prospect.
The Princes Trust were amazing at building my skills in book keeping and marketing and helping me prepare for running a creative business.
My initial collections included various products ranging from printed and embroidered soft furnishings to fashion accessories, which I sold through various galleries and exhibitions.
Since University (2005) my passion had always centred around embroidery and creating delicate and feminine lace-like textiles, where I had created several large scale lace pieces.
After receiving several commissions for lace head pieces I decided to focus on developing that side of my business and found there was a gap in the market.
I re-branded as Kate Slater Lace in 2012 and established my first stockist.
In January 2013 I had another baby (I am now a proud mum to 3 boys!) and took an extended maternity leave.
When I returned to designing in 2014 I felt revived and incredibly focused on my business – since then I have been caught up in a bit of a creative whirlwind.
Taking on new commissions, collaborating on a wedding gown and designing a new collection of lace head pieces, you could say I threw myself straight in at the deep end.
What inspires you?
I have always been heavily influenced by natural forms and a lot of my work features flowers and butterflies – these generally seem to be the most popular within the wedding industry.
I have always had an interest in theatre, costume and classic vintage design and can often be found in antique shops sifting through buttons and trims to add to my ever-growing collection.
I always have a small sketchbook nearby where I note down and sketch ideas along with any vintage finds that inspire me.
I am a bit of a magpie – drawing ideas from past decades whilst being very interested in new technologies and cutting edge design.
Do trends influence your work?
I think as a designer it is always useful to keep an eye on what is happening in the wider arena, but I don’t generally work to specific trends – It’s more important to maintain design integrity especially as my lace has a distinctive style.
There has to be a good level of flexibility though when you work bespoke and to commission – as you never quite know what you will be asked for. Variety is one of my favourite parts of the job.
Plus, I enjoy experimenting and sampling new ideas, and brides find it quite liberating to share their own ideas as it gives them ownership and feel part of the process.
What is your greatest achievement?
After working alongside My Little Wedding Shop on several commissions I was thrilled to be asked to collaborate on a piece for their new collection.
I was given complete freedom, and as the dress was a simple elegant style I decided to experiment with more detail and colour, and drew inspiration from the Art Deco era – working with more geometric forms was different to my previous work.
The beautiful “Violet” wedding dress features a lace back panel depicting fan-like shapes in blush pink, sage green, grey/blue and soft white.
There’s also complimentary delicate cap sleeves and a decorative waistband.
The dress was recently exhibited at The National Wedding Show in Birmingham (October 2014) where we received amazing feedback and interest.
What do you see as the future of your Company?
I am going through a very exciting creative phase in at the moment. I have been working on some new lace hair accessories which I have recently started to market.
Aimed at brides and bridesmaids, I have also adapted designs for very young flower girls so they are very comfortable on little heads – so now the whole bridal party can wear similar pieces.
I am now also thinking about how my lace could be adapted for a wider range of products – from lingerie to full bridal gowns.
Whilst I create all the lace myself, I do love working alongside other creatives so I am keen to collaborate with more fashion designers and bridal boutiques to continue to create original designs, and expanding on my stockists.
I will also be polishing up my pattern cutting skills next year.
Long term ambitions include designing a collection of bridal gowns.
Thank you so much to Kate for sharing her exquisite contemporary lace accessories.
Such detail and skill used to make beautiful pieces that would make such an elegant style statement.
To Contact Kate Slater Lace
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/kateslaterlace
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/kateslaterlace
“Violet” dress photography by Seven Wedding Photography
Photographs of flower girls headpieces by Kate Jade’s Photography
Photograph of Wheel Lace shawl with black flowers (Emma Case Photography, courtesy of Designer Vintage Wedding Show 2012)
Photographs of head pieces by Raynor Parker
Photograph of Leather Spray headpiece and Wheel Lace Collar by Alison Barton Photography