‘SUNDAY LIFE’ INTERVIEW
Model & TV Presenter Katie Larmour Launches New Textiles & Lifestyle Brand
by Tina Calder,
published in Ireland’s Sunday Life newspaper Autumn 2015
BELFAST beauty Katie Larmour is well known on the local social scene, for years she’s been the face of corporate and fashion campaigns across the country. As a teenager her petite figure and gorgeous looks made her one of the most sought after models in the province.
From Belfast City Council and the Pretty ’n’ Pink charity to Belfast Fashionweek billboards, Katie’s look became synonymous with many other people’s brands.
But now the 29-year-old art and antiquities dealer has developed a brand of her own.
Later this month she will launch her luxury homewares brand KL Design Ireland having travelled across the globe in the last year. Although she’s taking inspiration from the various countries she’s been to Katie said she’s keen to establish her home-made Northern Ireland brand.
She said: “In the last year I’ve travelled quite a bit from South America, Venice, Milan, Rome and France to Tel Aviv, New York, Switzerland and Spain. Although I’ve spent quite a bit of this time with my boyfriend I’m always researching wherever I am and I've always got my eye open looking for some fantastic pieces that I can incorporate into my new collection. I’ve been creating luxury artisan made cushions using vintage designer silk scarves backed in pure Irish linen and filled with plush duck feathers. The scarves I am using include designers such as Balenciaga, Pucci, Liberty of London, Valentino and Lanvin ranging from retro 15 year old vintage prints to beautiful antique 80 year old ones. It means that every single cushion will be one-of-a-kind and unique. I’ve spent the last year sourcing these beautiful fabrics from around the world.
“My favourite place so far has to be the huge markets in Paris where I’ve found some amazing pieces.
“Now that I have the designs and fabrics ready I’m working on getting the brand set up. I will be launching an ecommerce website soon. Up until now I’ve been selling privately through word of mouth but I feel I’m ready to take it a step further.
“When I was in New York I had some interest from a few upmarket interior design stores which was really exciting and a real boost of confidence.
“Although I have been travelling a lot one of the things that is really important to me is that the cushions are actually made in Northern Ireland.”
Katie feels the launch of her new business is a natural progression and expansion in an industry she’s very passionate about.
The entrepreneur, designer, presenter and model explained: “I’ve always been creative and loved art, in fact I paid my way through my Art College Degree in my early 20s by modelling for local PR companies promoting products and events in Northern Ireland which I absolutely loved, that’s when I started.
“Although it was a lot of fun at the time I feel that I’ve slightly grown out of a lot of the things I was doing.
“One of the other things I would do is sell antiques on ebay for years, sometimes even buying them on the site itself, identifying and describing them properly and then moving them on for a bigger profit.”
Katie searches for fabrics and inspiration everywhere from high end designer stores to artisan and exclusive markets. Katie, who can add art gallery curator to her impressive CV, set up and still curates the art gallery in the prestigious Marine Court Hotel in Bangor Marina. She is also a presenter with Belfast Fashion Week TV.
Despite moving more towards the business world she admitted she’s not ready to give up her fashion industry commitments just yet.
“There is a correlation between fashion and art and it’s all about aesthetics and the way people react to things they see and take in everyday” said Katie, adding: “I am visually stimulated by the world around me whether it’s architecture, people watching, or perhaps more specifically clothes watching, visiting art galleries and knowing your own taste and style.
“One of my most useful subjects from school has been A level History of Art as it triggered an enthusiasm for visiting museums and art galleries every time I’ve travelled to a foreign city, and there have been a lot.
“Recently I’ve become fascinated and drawn towards textiles and patterns and it’s been a natural progression to sourcing, buying and restructuring vintage and antique cloth.
“I’ve been presenting Belfast Fashion Week TV since its inception, I did the stage hosting for a couple of seasons which was a lot more daunting, but I’m in my element when I’m having one to one conversations in our interviews.
“There’s a real buzz and vibrancy behind the scenes and it’s a pleasure to get to chat to Northern Ireland’s top fashion designers – we have some wonderful talent.”
(Photographed by Jamie Trimble)
Posted by Katie Larmour, KL Design Ireland