Designer Kayla Jurlina from COOP.
Kayla Jurlina grew up wanting to be in fashion and is currently living her dream as designer of COOP and design assistant to Trelise Cooper. Kayla's youthful, energetic style has seen COOP's popularity rise as she creates fun, high-fashion collections with travel as a constant muse.
We caught up with Kayla to find out more about her label, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Winter 2016 is about to drop into stores in the first week of February which I am very excited about. This is because it was my Tokyo initiation that inspired the collection from the streets of Harajuku to the lantern-lit streets of Drunken Alley. I used Jacquard faces and traditional koi to represent a pop culture gone Mod. I wanted to play that against a new Baroque-hippie of floating chiffon dresses in in paisley swirls of crushed cardamom and spicy turmeric. Neckties, culottes and bell flares in velvet finds a new Bohemian COOP girl.
What made you become a designer?
I filled sketchbooks with drawings my whole life and was inspired by my Grandmother who was a self-taught seamstress and my mother who is an impeccable drawer. At the age of 13 my cousin Mala Brajkovich was designing her own label which inspired me to become a designer.
During Year 13 I started to intern at Trelise Cooper and assisted stylists through the Gateway programme. I loved every moment. After that first taste of the industry I wanted to learn about the technical side of fashion too, so I began a Bachelor of Design in Fashion at AUT University. When I started working at Trelise Cooper I began in quality control, quickly moving on to help set up photo shoots and the online store. When I started uni I would work in Trelise’s stores during holidays and weekends. I helped at Fashion Week and spent a couple of days leading up to the show hand sewing and design room assisting. This made me a regular face around the office so, after four years of working Trelise asked me to be her design assistant.
What inspires you?
Travel is my biggest inspiration as I love to immerse myself in the culture and cities I visit. I look at street art, architecture, fabrics and the style of the people in the cities. Once I have taken away my experiences I see what the fabrics are telling me and go from there.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your products and brand?
I would describe my personal style as polished, styled and current. I am designing for a similar target market to myself so I feel like I have a good sense of what I am looking for and what is lacking in the market. I am a lover of high fashion so I want to give the younger market a chance to buy and wear reasonably priced fashionable clothing. I have a rule if I won’t personally wear it then I won’t design it.
Looks from COOP's WInter 2016 collection.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
I went to New York for the first time last year in September to visit friends. I was wandering the streets in Soho after lunch and popped into the Acne store which had grey fluffy carpet and marble walls. There was a new season pair of blush pink leather heels with a metal plaque. I tried them on for fun but then my boyfriend Andrew said ‘why don’t you get them – you deserve it’. That was it for me. I am head over heels for my heels, literally.
What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
I think if you have a few staple pieces you will be fine any day of the week: a black blazer, skinny jeans, a summers dress, grey marl tee and the classic black pant. These items are essential to me. If I’m ever having a day where I don’t know what to wear or traveling, I know I can through on any of these items and feel comfortable and styled. Having these 5 items in your wardrobe means you can style 10 outfits.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
No rules! I used to say I’d never wear that or I hate that colour but as you grow and mature just like with food your taste buds expand. This year my quote is – expect the unexpected.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Getting off the plane in China and walking through the arrivals door I was looking for a Trelise Cooper sign. I found it, being held by a driver and next to this was a Dolce & Gabbana sign. I thought that was pretty cool.
What can’t you live without?
Mascara, lipstick and shoes! If I ever need a pick me up I always wear a bright lipstick and a pair of heels to feel better.
You would never catch me wearing… Crocs! They would be my only no-no. I try to never say never, as fashion is a constant revolution and a redesigning of ideas and movements. I used to say I would never wear bohemian but in my last couple of COOP collections I have touched on the 70s/hippy feel.
Images from COOP