The Interview: Vicky Kidd-Gallichan of Rockstars and Royalty
Fashion is an industry on a pedestal. The glitz and glamour of it all puts it out of reach for many and it’s a hard slog to climb to the top. For one Brit-turned-Canberran, the industry is very much a reality and her commitment to sustainability and ethical practices along the chain of production has placed Vicky Kidd-Gallichan of Rockstars and Royalty at the forefront of a local fashion revolution.
How would you describe your fashion label?
In one word, I would describe Rockstars and Royalty as ‘inclusive’. I say that because I want people to come to my website or come and see me, and feel like they can wear whatever they want to wear and not have to choose what I'm telling them to.
So when you go to the website you will see that I don't categorise anything by size. I want people to have the confidence to wear what they want to wear.
I also don't categorise my frocks, it’s 100% up to the client what occasion they want to wear the frock to. So I don't say this is a wedding dress or this is a ball dress, it's up to the client to come and choose.
With each design on my website, customers can come and choose the length, colour, embellishments and make it something that they want to wear.
It’s all about encouraging and inspiring people to have the confidence to be who they want to be and wear what they want to wear.
Photo credit: Lori Cicchini
How did Rockstars and Royalty come about?
I've been a designer for 20 years now. I had a label in the UK but decided to pack up everything I owned and moved over to Australia 10 years ago to start again. It was a great time to start under a new name and really focus on the design elements of my frocks.
In the UK I was doing wedding dresses and couture gowns but also found myself doing a lot of club wear and all sorts of different stuff when I started. My move to Australia was the perfect opportunity to come up with a name that says a lot about my style and what I love to create.
What would you say that you stand for as an entrepreneur?
In short, diversity and inclusion. I want to encourage people to think about how they shop and to move away from fast fashion by telling them what the consequences of fast fashion are.
This includes the impact that fast fashion has on our environment and also on the people who are making it. We’ve been told for so long that we have to shop and have the latest trends and the latest fashion – you buy it one week and it's out of style the next!
Fast fashion is not about us. It's about companies making money, the environmental impacts and the impact that this demand has on the people who are making these clothes just so we can buy it faster and cheaper.
It's just unsustainable and there needs to be a shift in how we shop and how we value our clothes.
Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s people bought things that were good quality, to last and wear over and over again. I think that there needs to be a shift back towards that and away from fast fashion - for the sake of our planet and the sake of all the people who are being exploited in the manufacturing of these garments.
Tell us about your latest collection?
Rockstars and Royalty don't do collections because of everything I've just said about fast fashion trends. I want to encourage my customers to know their own style, know who they are and buy pieces that they love, that they will keep and they will wear on a number of occasions.
I understand you have some other initiatives going on at the moment as well…
Yes, I do! Continuing against the principles of fast fashion, I've just launched a YouTube channel Rockstars and Royalty where I'm taking op-shop finds and vintage pieces and giving them a makeover and showing people that you can shop sustainably, without spending a lot of money.
Throughout my YouTube series, I'm showing people how I change a garment to suit my style, I'm also going to be doing some basics sewing tutorials to help you achieve this at home. So if people have got something in their wardrobe that they don't wear, maybe it's just the wrong length and needs a bit of tszujing to make it something completely different.
Another initiative that I have grown really passionate about is my Just Be Revolution. The idea for this came from the aim of Rockstars and Royalty being inclusive and not categorised by events, size or gender and encouraging people to be themselves and have the confidence to have their own style.
Photo credit: Lori Cicchini
I did a shoot with model, Stephania Ferrario, last year and in the images on the shoot we had two versions that defined her in one picture. On one side of the picture she's wearing one of my dresses and on the other side, she is androgynous in a suit and tie. At the time, that the idea of the picture was to show her diversity as a model and show that I was making dresses with matching ties. But the pictures were so powerful that I just kept thinking that there's a message in here about being who you want to be – you can be someone one day and a different person the next day.
Many people say to themselves, ‘If only I was younger or pretty or thinner, I'd be happy’ – but the honest truth is that you can be happy just as you are. It's just a change of mindset. And on the flip side, it's also about encouraging tolerance of others.
To get our message across we've started by storytelling. We've launched a website and a blog and we're sharing people's stories of their experiences of going through dark times, bullying and abuse and hopefully inspiring others to realise that there is a way out, a way to survive these awful things and find yourself at the other end of it.
Photo credit: Lauren Campbell