AW Fahion: Karlene's KZK

All Woman

The buzz was palpable last week as word got out that MoBay, Kingston and London chicster Karlene Kellond was opening a boutique. Within hours KZK, the name of the 10 Argyle Road establishment, was teeming with customers. Inside, the leggy Kellond was kept busy on her uber-high stilettos outfitting the many who came in search of something to add a little spark to their festive wardrobe.

Thankfully, things are a tad calmer — complete with calming scents — 24 hours later, when All Woman Fashion (AWF) returns. KZK is a spacious boutique with vignettes of must-haves at every turn. “I wanted to create a shopping experience that was not only unique but comfortable for my customers,” Kellond informs. Mission accomplished! The décor of the store features both modern white and traditional wooden furniture; a balance that reflects the eccentric style of the vintage pieces it houses. In fact, KZK is some distance away from the main road, and although still very accessible because of its New Kingston address, the boutique is intentionally away from the hustle and bustle of the Corporate area.

Kellond explains, “I wanted to make sure that [KZK] had a boutique vibe. People can come relax, have a drink and shop.” And shop they will! From the perfect flats, to that must-have jeans jacket, to handbags that beg to be taken home.

“I would say it's an eclectic collection that you can style to suit whatever you have in your own closet,” she explains, describing the pieces as ageless, offering something for everyone. She takes pride in stocking items “that everyone can connect to their unique style”.

Making a fashion statement herself in a sequinned, loose-fitting dress paired with red booties, Kellond's style is unquestionably unique. “I go for bold” is her response when asked about how her fashion sense is reflected in what she provides for her customers. Of course, going for bold won't always be in sync with what's trending in the fast-paced world of fashion. However, Kellond advises against being slaves to trends. “Trends come and trends go, but your personal style will always remain,” she says.

Eschew all thoughts of KZK being a typical boutique. Indeed, be prepared for your personal style to shift a tad. In Kellond's world moulds are made to be broken. This would be her competitive advantage in the highly competitive world of fashion. Kellond sees this as the blueprint for her longevity in the industry.

The Montego Bay raised Kellond's foray into fashion traces back to her childhood when she would often test out her styling skills on her siblings. “I just knew I had to do something in fashion,” she says.

With her sights sets on becoming a regional and international name, she is looking forward to expanding into becoming a stylist and seeing her name in lights or in her case, sequins (which she lauds as a fashion must)! Other fashion musts? Kellond praises the versatility of the classic LBD. Little black dresses, she explains, should be a staple of every woman's closet as its versatility can take it from everyday to elegant, depending on how you style it. Especially for the Christmas season, she recommends “chic long dresses and gowns with embellishments [because they] depict the Christmas season and make you feel good”.

Feeling good, Kellond says, is one of the most important tenets of developing personal style, noting the power of fashion to empower women on personal, social and business levels. Her advice to those hoping to get into the business of fashion is to ensure that you do proper research about what it is you want to do, be confident in your abilities and “just do it”.

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