We talked to Kayla Jurlina, COOP designer, and one of the judges at this year’s Brother Design Stars competition.
About the Brother Design Stars Competition
Brother Design Stars is an annual competition giving young Kiwi, budding fashion designers and creative artists the chance to showcase their talent and creativity to the nation. Now in its second year, the awards encourage youth in school years 7 to 13 to enter one of two categories (fashion and craft) for a chance to win a share of $30,000 in prizes.
This year’s judging panel includes top Kiwi fashion and craft names such as Kristina Webb, Erin Simpson, Eve Palmer, Celine Chapman and Kayla.
Kalya on her Creative Work
1. How do you avoid dry spells and boost creative thinking?
A dry spell may happen between collections, especially the transition from winter to summer. I make sure I have some time away from the city and responsibilities, so I can clear my head, sleep in and come back well rested to take on another season. Usually, I will have sooo many ideas that I want to produce but we can’t do everything so I’ll save ideas for the next range. I have started traveling more which boosts my creativity by getting inspired by cultures, the cities I visit and the people I meet.
2. The gadget you cannot live without at the moment?
The iPad. I use it nearly every day whether it’s catching up on my favourite TV series or seeing the latest collections. I use it for online shopping, learning French or emailing. It is so handy while traveling. On my last trip, I felt a little bit like a tourist walking around taking photos with my iPad. My friends all thought it was pretty funny.
3. What do you wish you knew when you were starting out in your design career?
You can’t do everything. You need to trust people around you and use their strengths. When I came into my role, I wanted to be the best I could be and tried to do everything. From helping style fashion shows and shoots to helping organise events and coming up with marketing ideas around social media. It just burnt me out trying to do everything. I still give my input into these areas and care about it all as they are each an important part of the business. But my focus is getting the ranges designed and helping Trelise [Cooper] as that is my role as Design Assistant.
4. How do you beat deadlines without compromising your creative process?
A lot of love and attention goes into every detail of every garment, as a design is always the priority. Trelise and I take care to make sure that each piece looks, sits and feels the way we envisioned. This often means prioritising projects, staying late or coming in over a quiet weekend. After a deadline, I think it is important to re-group, collect your thoughts and celebrate the achievement.
5. Where do you go to (website) if you need some instant inspiration?
Instagram is usually my go-to from when I wake up to when I fall asleep. I like the fact that if anything is happening from around the world it is instantly accessible on platforms like Instagram.
Shine by three is my favourite blog at the moment as the styling is aspirational and incorporates travel as well.
5 inches and up I have been following since high school mainly for the styling.
Style.com is a website I will check in on when there is a fashion week on to see the latest collections.
6. Best advice you have received so far?
My Dida (Croation word for Grandfather) would whisper in my ear while I was growing up, “You will be something special one day”. You need to believe in yourself and what you want; cause if you truly believe it, you will make it happen.
7. Who’s your mentor? If you don’t have one, who do you look up to?
I would say I look up to Trelise as a mentor. As I work nearly every day with her and she has been doing this for 20 years, and I am still learning. She is the most intelligent, fashionable, business savvy, down to earth person I know with a great sense of humour. Trelise has shown me she is not afraid of hard work or trying something new, she is always pushing boundaries and wanting to do better each time. It is aspirational to be around.
8. Advice you would like to give to the aspiring design stars?
Believe that you can do it. Use your strengths and focus on what you can do with them to have the confidence in your work you have produced. But look at it as a learning curve and you will know what to do better next time. I still do this every day and every collection – how I can improve. We never stop learning.