Meet the Maker: Kat Maconie
6 Nov 2015
Kat Maconie started up her brand of design-driven yet versatile shoes after taking a series of evening classes in London College of Fashion. Since launching in 2009 with a small range of ballerina pumps, Kat Maconie's brand has grown remarkably. Her signature block heels and gold detailed shoes have been seen on the likes of Keira Knightly and Jessie J. And are often found gracing the pages of Vogue and Elle. Looking to test a new location for her brand, Kat Maconie launched a pop-up shop in Old Street Station. True to style, this store is no wallflower. Decked out in attention-grabbing colours and bold motifs, the space embodies the mood of her most recent collection. The design was inspired by 70s glamour and underground parties, nodding to the likes Studio 54 and Danceteria. We caught up with the founder Kat Maconie and creative director Amy Cox to find out more...
What was the inspiration behind the design of the store?
We wanted to create a space that doesn’t just go with our designs, but something that also feels really fun. Lots of different things drive us and our designs, but the glamour of the 70s disco scene has always been a huge part of our inspirations… Studio 54 became a huge influence when dreaming up the space. Decadent parties, flowing bubbles, iridescent glows and neon lights bouncing off mirrored surfaces - the combinations of hedonism, luxury and lavishness. Unfortunately we couldn’t get Bianca Jagger to ride through the shop on a white pony, but we’ll definitely have a bit of Donna Summer playing in the shop!
When you say 70s disco, Old Street Underground isn't the first place that comes to mind. What was it that appealed to you about the location?
It’s such a cool spot that really brings together all the different sides of London in a way. Dazed and Vice have their offices just minutes way, lots of creative types working in the area. There’s the tech companies and the financial district just around the corner, not to mention the multicultural locals that live nearby. It’s bursting with life, which is a great representation of London.
From a marketing point of view, there’s obviously loads of traffic going past the shop, which is really beneficial in getting the brand name more out there. Ultimately we want to introduce Kat Maconie to as many people as possible, so it’s the perfect spot for us to be at.
We love what you've done to the space, where did you source the fit out from?
A real mix of things! We knew we wanted something Studio 54 inspired, but to make sure we nail it, we got a really talented interior designer Emily May to help us out. She’s done an incredible job conveying our message! The equally skilled set designer James Phillips got busy working on furniture and fixtures, so there’s been a lot of DIY involved. Some materials were found online, other bits and pieces we sourced from our favourite Kempton Market. We also worked with creative director Josh Neville from Original Creative Design on decals - definitely someone we’ll be going back to.
There are some big windows in this space, what tactics are you using to make the most of them?
The window space is really big, so it was the case of making the shop stand out as a whole. Our designs involve a lot of bright colours and bold prints, and the style is very graphic and architectural, so we’ve gone all out to emulate that feel in the shop. People are already coming in because of how the shop looks, so that’s great! We did get some decals from OCD for the windows, as ultimately we want to get our name more out there as well.
Social media is obviously a great way of doing that, so we added our official pop-up hashtag #KatMaconieGoesPop on the window too. As of next week we’ll start a little in-store promotion too, where we’ll pick one person who posts about the shop on Instagram to win store credit.
Are you doing any collaborations with local residents or suppliers?
The shop is all us, though we did work with some (kind of) locals like Emily and James on putting it all together. More than anything the pop-up is about making new friends in the local area - pop-up shops are almost an oddly great way to meet new people, and we’re hoping we’ll come across people we could do something exciting together with in the future.
What's your favourite part of the store?
Is it a complete cop-out if we said all of it? We love how the geometric shapes come together with the mirrored and iridescent surfaces. It’s fun, and it really nails what Kat Maconie is about.
Do you have any tips or advice for young brands looking to kit out a shop on a budget?
Never let the lack of a huge budget get in the way - vintage markets, eBay and DIY are the BFFs of a decorator on a shoestring budget. Think through what you want your shop to say and then start working around that. Obviously there are things you would need a never-ending bank account for, but it’s about getting creative and coming up with alternatives that can be just as effective, just without the price tag. If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and possibly be covered in a lot of paint, budgets can always be overcome.
Kat Maconie will be appearing in Unit 2, Old Street Underground Station until December 23rd.