Kaelen Haworth: Intelligent Design

Originally published on Visionary Artistry Mag with photos here: http://www.visionaryartistrymag.com/2016/05/kaelen-haworth-intelligent-design/

In a market as oversaturated as some of the hues found in the fabrics they choose, designers are at a  rush to create the next biggest thing. With voices saying, “It’s all been done before,” there is a necessity for intelligence and creativity more so now than ever before. This is where Kaelen Haworth stands her ground as a designer.
“As I’m growing, I’m thinking of experimenting more with the way things are made. Fabric exploration is going to keep things changing and keep things special, with my own underlying aesthetic,” Haworth explained to fashion journal modaCYCLE, foreshadowing the work she would design for her 2013 line.

As if right on the spot, Haworth’s 2013 follows that belief to a T. The designer pairs billowy and flowing fabrics with edgy, tailored jackets and shorts. The flowy fabrics are left just as they were meant to be – flowing behind the models as they glide down the runway. However, these fabrics are also masterfully manipulated: the same fabric of a flowing dress is effortlessly tailored to be a more fitted blouse. Lighter blues and purples are paired with blacks and burgundies. There’s a blend of masculine and feminine in the fabrics, tailoring and colors.

“I tried to do an icy pink with the neoprene, so it would feel really different. I wanted it to feel both natural and organic but also have a weird, sort of artificial element to it,” the designer told Elle.com in regards to her 2013 line.

Before any of this all started, Haworth had already earned her degree in English literature. The Toronto native left for New York and began studying at Parsons School of Design. While she was studying, she continued to work with fashion designers Stella McCartney and Jenni Kayne. Ever since then, growth and experimentation have been the buzz words that become synonymous with Kaelen.

“My design aesthetic is definitely modern and I focus a lot on fabrics and textures, so it has a lot of depth in that regard. I like to experiment with asymmetry, proportion etc., so the silhouettes are often a little ‘off’ or different. I like to keep things on the cleaner side so that the pieces can be very personal to the wearer. I want the person who wears my clothes to feel as though it was effortless to get dressed,” the designer told fashion blog Young Sophisticates.

Versatility is another key component to Haworth’s clothes. She likes to create garments that someone can pair with other pieces. It’s all about dressing smart. Because of this demand to couple pieces, the designer likes to be a part of every step of the design process, especially when making the prints. “I like being there, being able to participate, creating your own prints,” Haworth said with modaCYCLE.

However, three years later, Haworth continues to prove her relevance in the fashion industry. Her 2016 line features the favorites from her signature style – free-flowing fabrics that look so soft and comfortable – but we also see bold colors, like a bright red blouse, and high-waisted sleek black pants with a statement stripe running down the leg. We see the masculine to feminine conversion that we loved in 2013, but we also see how Haworth is playing with color and silhouettes.

Of course, fashion isn’t just about the clothes. Designers like Haworth are typically self-employed, which means you call the shots and have to live with the consequences. “At the start it was like, this is fun – I want to show people my stuff! But now it’s like I am creating a brand and an identity, and I want to make something that will grow with me. The reality is, when you’re young and you start a business, you don’t get the experience from other jobs; it all comes from yourself. It’s hard because you are making mistakes at your own expense, and there’s no safety net. It’s intimidating,” Haworth explained to online mag Fashionista.

With the emphasis placed on mixing and matching, Haworth has made a name for herself based on the flexibility and practicality of each of her pieces. That flexibility is what continues to keep Haworth in the fashion game. She grows and fluctuates, but always finds the perfect mix of chic and ready-to-wear. As intimidating as it may be, the designer has shown us she’s got the chops to be a solid designer and businesswoman. Haworth creates simple staples for every closet, but also gives us pieces that make a statement: I am here and I look fantastic.

-Geneva Toddy


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