How did you become interested in fashion? Who are some of your inspirations and mentors?
Since before I could even talk, I knew what I wanted to wear. It didn’t take me long to start sketching and designing the clothes that I dreamt of wearing and dressing celebrities in one day. I was only about seven years old! Fashion had always been a part of me, and my passion for it only grew as I got older. My first fashion muse was my grandmother, who was the only person in my family that shared my love for fashion. My grandma had about five closets... two just for accessories! I would spend hours in her closets as a little girl. She sparked my interest in style and fashion at such a young age, and still continues to influence my work to this very day.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as extremely eclectic. I am inspired by a wide variety of things, as well as different eras. However, my absolute favorite style era is the 1950s. Some days I feel super girly and go for a “Pink Lady” look, and the next day I feel edgy and go for a “Greaser” look. With that being said, my wardrobe can take a drastic change from one day to the next. Regardless of my dynamic personal style, you can definitely see a constant retro influence throughout my designs.
How have concerns about gender and sexuality impacted your work?
At the center of my values is equality, acceptance, and kindness. It is very important for Eileen Kelly to empower all gender’s confidence in themselves and in their sexuality. Eileen Kelly’s culture centers around being true to yourself, not just after you receive your custom garment but after you take the garment off as well. As a designer, when I dress musicians for the stage, I am not only empowering the music artist themselves with confidence, but I am assisting them in empowering their fan base as well. I play a huge role in creating an environment that can be a safe haven for the musician’s fans. The LGBT community is heavily represented in my customers’ fan base, and I strive to pass along my brand’s main values to them.
Who are some Nashville-based fashion and entertainment leaders who have been influential in your work?
Since 2015, I have had the honor of studying and working under legendary local designer, Manuel. To say that Manuel has helped me develop my design, tailoring, and sewing skills is an understatement. I would not be the designer that I am today without him, and his constant support and belief in me. I am beyond grateful for his influence on my career, and it has been such a privilege to play a small part in creating one of a kind fashion pieces for the Nashville community while working under him.
Social media / web links
· Website: www.eileenkellydesigns.com
· Twitter: @_eileenkelly_
· Instagram: @eileenkellydesigns