UK designer Bethany Éowyn Kelman is the creative mind behind the new label Look Street, and together with her Tokyo based brother Aleister, this duo is creating beautiful, feminine pieces with Japanese fabrics as their focus. TFJ had the chance to chat to Bethany about her life, how Look Street came about and the inspiration behind the latest collection.
Bethany studied Fine Art, specialising in Fibre Arts and spent her university years creating sculptural dresses from unusual materials. While always having a passion for creating her own clothing, it wasn’t until after she graduated university that her creative flair really kicked in.
“I began making dresses for myself using vintage patterns and unusual fabrics. People often asked where they could buy them, so in 2008 I started my first clothing label Jezebelles Boutique selling handmade clothing and accessories.
“I offered a custom dressmaking service, making bespoke clothing for happy customers all over the world. My designs were stocked by a variety of shops in the UK, Italy and the United States.”
After four years of designing and creating clothing, Bethany fell into some luck when her brother decided to relocate his life.
“Just over 18 months ago, my brother Aleister moved to Tokyo, Japan, to work as a graphic designer. My first reaction was ‘you can send me fabric!’ I adore Japanese fabric and lace, and I knew from the few beautiful bits of fabric that friends had bought me back from trips to Tokyo that the range of designs and prints available was incredible.
“Aleister sent me some gorgeous fabric which I used to make handmade clothing and accessories. Last summer I was lucky enough to travel to Tokyo to visit him. Together we sourced exquisitely beautiful Japanese fabric and lace which became the inspiration for our new clothing label Look Street.”
It was in Tokyo where Bethany’s spring/summer collection was born, inspired by the Japanese summer, culture and street style.
“It was really wonderful to see people wearing traditional Japanese kimono and yukata to attend summer fireworks festivals in Tokyo. I was inspired to use these beautiful, luxurious fabrics in a new way to create elegant modern designs.
“Japanese street style was also a big influence. I love vintage glamour and rockabilly style and I think this comes across in the sailor dresses in the collection! I am inspired by fairy tales and I feel that clothing can transform the wearer and make life a little more magical.
“I love the carousel horses and Alice in wonderland imagery in Kayo Horaguchi’s beautiful fabric designs, they really inspired the delicate princess dresses in the collection. I’d say my designs were inspired by both old & new Japan.”
So what kind of woman would wear Look Street?
“Someone who loves to be unique, and appreciates classic style and elegance.”