11 Questions with Kirsty Irwin of Boskemper

BY SOPHIE CHUNG

Kirsty proves that positivity and a go-getter attitude is all you need to make your dreams come true.

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24 AUG - 2021

“Honestly, I am an extremely positive person and I don’t really think about what could go wrong all that much.”

Australian fashion designer Kirsty Boskemper-Irwin first caught my eye at the beginning of the year. Feminine yet powerful, trendy but timeless; you can immediately pick up on its empowering demeanour. The silhouettes are unique, stylish and you can tell it somewhat adheres to modern day trends but at the same time, they’re pieces that will be ‘in’ for years to come. It’s for the #BOSwomen who are serious about what they do but have the capability to leave their egos behind.

Over the course of the year, it was exceptional to watch Kirsty’s brand grow and witness the mania over select pieces that would sell out before it even launched. Modelling for Boskemper on her personal Instagram channel, Kirsty demonstrates how to run a business on social media with an injection of personality. Unlike other fashion brands, Kirsty herself gets in front of the camera to showcase all the outfits via numerous reels and photographs. This adds a layer of connection between the customer and the brand and there’s something so wholesome about the way she communicates with her audience and customer base.

We usually like to shed light on real-life struggles to inject a dose of relatable reality into an otherwise false facade portrayed by social media, but always looking on the bright side of life is Kirsty’s mantra. She’s a doer and tries things out without hesitation or anxiety and I think it’s rather refreshing to hear the perspective of an entrepreneur with relentless positivity.

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Where did you study?

I didn’t - I am actually self taught. I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I finished school so I decided to just dive in while I was young and told myself I could always study fashion if it didn’t work out later in life… Luckily for me, it worked out!

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When was the moment you knew you wanted to have a fashion brand?

I absolutely loved drawing and painting as a kid. My parents were always very supportive creatively so I was lucky I could really explore that side of my personality.
From a ridiculously young age, I started to draw the female form and would always ask myself “if I could wear anything this weekend/casual day/etc. what would I wear?" - and then I would draw it. I had no idea what this meant at such a young age but it naturally developed into a love for fashion and design. I started a t-shirt brand with a friend when I was 18, so I was very ambitious from the get go.

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What is Boskemper’s point of difference?

Firstly, we are a completely female run company, which I believe is pretty kickass. We celebrate the diversity of women throughout the world. Each collection draws its inspiration from a point on the map which I have travelled to. With each collection being based on a destination, we use my captures from these journeys as the mood board, colour palette, print, etc. Sometimes we have even used pictures I have taken on my trips and turned them directly into prints. I find travelling so inspiring and love learning about different ways of life and encapsulating my experience in every range.

BOSKEMPER is more than just a label, we thrive to inspire women in all aspects of life, which is why we recently started our #BOSwomen community. At the moment we offer styling, travel guides and interview #BOSwomen from all around the world on our journal. As we grow this community, we are branching out into multiple lifestyle aspects and this year, we will collaborate with some non for profit women’s health organisation also.

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How would you describe your designs?

My collections are a melody of flowing softness and tailored structured forms. My pieces are very “designed”; they emulate high-end fashion, without the card-cutting price. I use vibrant colours contrasted with rich neutrals because I believe as a modern woman, you want to be able to create looks every day based on how you feel. I want women to feel strong, sexy and empowered in any piece that I create.

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For all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, can you shed some light on the gritty aspects of starting your own business and how you pushed through those moments?

This has not happened overnight for me, so I think just know for most it doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. Any creative industry is tough and I myself have struggled in the past with big fashion companies going under and making me redundant and not knowing where to go from there. It will not always be easy! I have had horrendous lows and tears and all the rest of that fun stuff. But honestly, if you love it, you push through. In my experience, once you push through the shit, you usually are rewarded with an incredible high! It is always worth it!

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How did you overcome those scary feelings to take that first leap? Did you have any doubts?

Honestly, I am an extremely positive person and I don’t really think about what could go wrong all that much. We all have down moments but I would rather just go for it than regret not trying. If I do have a moment of doubt - wine and pizza usually does the trick.

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At the beginning, who was your support network?

I have been extremely fortunate that I have always had an amazingly supportive network of friends and family.

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What are you most grateful for during your journey to success?

I am so grateful for all the people that have been so willing to help me throughout my journey. From the angel at my first job that gave me a 10 minute lesson on how to sketch in Illustrator (I had never even used the program before) to the little pattern maker down the street from my house who let me just hang out in her studio so I could learn, and all the people along the way willing to gave me their time (and continue to) - THANK YOU!

Oh, and also Google… the amount of things I didn’t know that I could quickly Google to stop me looking like an idiot in those meetings… Thank you almighty G.

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What was the best advice you’ve been given?

Don’t ever be afraid to say you don’t know something and ask for help.

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Where to from now?

Fashion world domination!

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Any last pieces of advice for female entrepreneurs who are in their first year business or for those just starting out?

Celebrate every single win, no matter how big or small. Every order, follower, DM, mailing list sign up…It all counts and I think it’s pretty amazing that this person you’ve never met before wants to embrace what you’re doing. I think that’s pretty damn cool!

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