Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Midwestern take on Kevin Kramp

When Kevin Kramp first popped up in the local fashion scene, I was a bit baffled - where did this guy come from? And why haven't I heard of him already? It turns out the designer known for his avant-garde, fantastical and ground-breaking knitwear is, in fact, originally from the Twin Cities but spent the majority of his post-high school years in London and New York. Last fall, l'etoile editor-in-chief Kate Iverson and I ran across his website and were floored, and I immediately made his acquaintance and invited him to apply to be a designer in Voltage 2010 (for which I am Lead Stylist). He applied, and the rest is local fashion history.

[Photo by Stephanie Colgan for Voltage 2010]

Kramp has baffled others in the local fashion world as well, but for different reasons. You see, his designs aren't exactly prototypical Midwestern. But they are constantly featured in international publications (with upcoming features in publications in France, Italy, New York and Canada) and sold in boutiques in London and Paris.

Attempting to get into his head, longtime Pioneer Press fashion reporter Alison Kaplan has posted a new interview with the designer over at her blog. Some excerpts:

On conceptual versus wearable fashion: "'Conceptual' is not the opposite of 'wearable.' The wearability of a garment is determined by the individual, not by the degree of concept."

On going from designing his namesake line and for his job day at conservative St. Croix Knits: "I’m a schizophrenic moody freak, and a Gemini to boot. My life has consisted of nothing but extremes, opposites, contradictory coexistence, and brutal transition."

On breaking boundaries in men's fashion: "This isn’t about fashion; this is about life. I always encourage individuals, men and women, to thoroughly and severely examine their personal history, ignorant preconceptions, and bizarre rules of right, wrong, should and shouldn’t."

Visit for more from the interview, and l'etoile magazine for another great interview with Kramp by Juleana Enright.

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