JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kiki Kitty

Introducing Kiki Kitty, owner, and designer of K. Milele, as one of our new JUKI Designer Ambassadors! A member of the fashion industry since the ’90s, where she started off with FUBU’s womenswear, Kiki Kitty is a force to be reckoned with.

One of five siblings, Kiki grew up in a home where she and her family would focus on creating everyday items to stay entertained. Creating projects like ragdolls, pillows, and slippers, she was inspired by her mother, who found art in everything. Taught by her mother, Kiki would create using natural pieces like pinecones and other found items to create projects like home décor whenever inspiration struck. Through these small projects that Kiki learned how to build her creative eye, assisting her for years to come when it was time for her to design fashion.

Finding sewing as another art medium, her first lesson was thanks to her mother. A fun activity for her and her siblings, Kiki would complete little projects to train herself on the machine and work her way up on project size and complexity. One of her favorite parts about sewing has been the freedom to explore new techniques and concepts. Through her excitement to learn, she sees each mistake as an opportunity to learn something new.

“I love when a mistake turns into the greatest thing about a garment because it forced me to have to look at it in a new way.”

Kiki’s love for the hobby has grown, leading her into the fashion industry in the ’90s as a designer for FUBU, a women’s streetwear fashion line. Motivated by her need to artistically express herself, she finds the process to be therapeutic. Seeing this as a way to express her thoughts was her first step in learning to express herself. “It took me a very long time to find my voice, to verbally express myself, and to stand up for myself. Expression through art was always my outlet. And even now that I’ve discovered my voice, creating remains to be my most powerful expression.”

While her time at FUBU led to her first brand K.A.Kitties, a venture she’s proud and fond of, her most tremendous success was only recently accomplished in her latest fashion collection K.Milele, “This is My Protest.” Using her JUKI machines, our MO-20000QVP, and HZL-NX7, she states she was finally able to create a collection that is 100% her self-expression. With the opportunity to explore prints, patterns, and textures, she hopes to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces representing her and those she designs for.

Her newest collection has trends like gathering, a favorite of Kiki’s since the ’90s. Loving how the final product looks, she finds it’s a simple technique that elevates the simple styles into sexy numbers, something her line embodies. Loving anything that creates fabric manipulation is her favorite trend in sewing. A must-have tool she keeps on hand for these projects is her tweezers. Allowing her told the fabric in place and keeping her fingers away from the machine after one terrible accident in her time at Pratt University when she first began sewing on industrial machines, she finds this tool to be a finger saver.

From FUBU to her current collection, Kiki’s journey in sewing is far from over. We hope you enjoyed getting to know our ambassador today and that you keep up with her future projects! Kiki’s new collection can be found on her socials here, and we’re so excited to see her projects come to life! Kiki’s final note to you JUKI lovers is this, “When you’re trying it [sewing] out, don’t get frustrated about making mistakes. Often mistakes make way for the opportunity to be creative and discover that there’s more than one way to achieve a great outcome. Even if it’s not the idea, you started with. Be flexible. See the beauty in what’s in front of you.”

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kovid Kapoor

Today we’re introducing a new addition to the JUKI team, Kovid Kapoor, one of our new JUKI Designer Ambassadors! Based in Brooklyn, New York, Kapoor is an Indian fashion designer that focuses on the luxury and high-end fashion market. Holding an impressive background in fashion, Kapoor has won the National Textile Corporation’s Young Designer Hunt competition in India, completed his master’s in fashion design from the Academy of Art University, and was a contestant on the 17th season of Project Runway. So it’s no surprise his work has gone on to be featured in well-known fashion titles like Elle USA, Elle India, and Vogue Italia. Follow along as we share more about Kovid and his life in fashion below!

Photo Credit: Kovid Kapoor

Starting at a very young age, Kovid learned how to hand sew from his grandmother. Finding love for art, he continued to be passionate about the hobby through his teenage years and adult life. During the foundation years of his bachelor’s degree, Kovid started using sewing machines in his work. As Kovid shares, “It was one of the most crucial subjects and essential skills to develop a successful garment.”

Kovid’s brand is a small-scale brand that believes in creating dynamic clothing to find a healthy balance between art and viable commercial product. Inspired by tales and stories that celebrate feminine and LGBTQ stories, he believes fashion should represent an individual’s identity and be used as a form of self-expression. Focusing on contemporized pieces with a traditional twist, his line is relaxed yet helps buyers feel confident in their look. His motivation for creating his pieces is a therapeutic process, “What motivates me to create is to project and express my thoughts and creative aspirations through fashion and clothing. It’s a therapeutic process of self-reflection, and every collection helps me evolve not just in my creative space but also my emotional space.”

Besides his fashion brand, Kovid has accomplished great success in the art world of fashion. His favorite art piece to date was a conceptual art wear garment inspired by the Mask Project Series, in collaboration-with Akshit Bhardwaj. This art piece was an enlarged garment version of a mask, designed with three-dimensional details. Enjoying the organic process of the garment creation and the carefree approach with which they followed, the final pieces reflected their experience in the creative process. Another art piece, one he claims as his greatest success, was for an installation in the Asian Art Museum vault. A 12-foot tall saree dress tent made for art directors Adrienne Pao and Robin Lasser, designed with bright colors and traditional style. Click here to view the art piece!

Photo Credit: Kovid Kapoor

Currently, Kovid is working on his upcoming collection all constructed on his trusted Juki machine. A must-have tool, Kovid shares a good sewing machine is worth the investment because of its importance in elevating the speed and efficiency of his work. Describing the upcoming collection as something new and fresh, he’s beyond thrilled to showcase the new line once completed. With a passion for his work, Kovid’s love for sewing comes from the process of creating. “There is something very rewarding about constructing something yourself. It adds a personal touch to an otherwise store-bought world.”

As we finished getting to know Kovid, he had one final tidbit of advice for new sewers in the community, “The key to success in sewing is consistency and practice. Sewing is a skill that is finessed with practice and time so it’s completely fine if the initial projects don’t work the important thing is to keep practicing.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Kovid Kapoor! Follow along as we continue to join Kovid in his fashion journey, and visit us here to learn more about Kovid and our other designers!