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KMK Designs

Misfit of the Month May 2018

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We have had a rummage in our directory of alternative wedding suppliers and plucked out KMK Designs to feature as our Misfit of the Month this month! So without further ado, let's get to know KMK Designs a little better...

Galaxy Gown

Photo by CC Photo Arts

Can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Kaitlyn McClain I am from St. Paul, MN and I specialize in custom bridal, clothing and costuming.

Fairy Wedding Dress

Photo by Jen Montgomery

How long have you been doing this, where did it all begin?

This is KMK Designs 8th year. My mom and I started it as a modest custom costume business in Stillwater, MN. In the beginning, we had a small studio in Downtown Stillwater, and we later moved to a custom build studio in her basement.

My mom's name it Sheriydn McClain she has been sewing since she was 10 years old. She is now retired but comes in for consults and events. I (Kaitlyn) started sewing 10 years ago, but have been drawing and sculpting since I could remember so this was an outlet for my creativity.

What sort of items can people order from KMK Designs?

We do all sorts of custom work from leather corsets to custom cosplay, to tulle overlayed and sequin wedding dresses.

Sweeney Todd Wedding Gown

Photo by Gas Oven Photography

We even do day dresses and men's punk wear. We have a catalog that offers casual to not so casual costume pieces and alternative clothing as well as bridal gowns, but our niche is custom work.

Which of your styles/designs are most popular at the moment?

We do a lot of mix styles right now. At the moment gothic mermaid wedding dresses are really popular, we have 4 of them in the works.

Gothic Mermaid Dress

Photo by Jen Montgomery

Last year it was our ombre wedding dress, which is cream silk with a pink to purple ombre and a crystal encrusted corset.

Ombre Fairytale Bridal Gown

Photo by Jen Montgomery

Do you have a favourite style/material/design?

I love silk dupioni I am never unhappy how it makes up and it is pretty simple to work with. With this new line, we just designed "Ethereal Dreams" which was based on elements connected to the sky and water, we ended up doing a lot of sparkle and trains. Not sure if that is exactly a style, but I find I tend to get obsessed with exploring one element in every way I can and right now it is sparkle and trains.

Tropical Sea Dress

Photo by Jen Montgomery

Are there any subcultures or wedding themes you feel your work is particularly suited to?

For sure Steampunk and Gothic. I really do feel like anything fantastical or abnormal, we can design in. I love a challenge and working with new styles and materials we haven't explored before. We have definitely made our name with the steampunk and gothic looks.

Steampunk Fairytale Gown

Photo by Jen Montgomery

Lately, it has been more of fairy and ombre dresses I feel are getting the attention though.

Silver Ombre Wedding Dress

Photo by Laura Dark Photography

Without giving away your secrets, can you tell us a bit about your work process?

We have a lot of help haha. These kinds of looks are difficult without a team. We are super grateful and happy to employ a local group of talented women who work with us in our studio in St. Paul, MN. Everyone has there own specialty in the shop, it helps us be able to take on a variety of projects and have a better turn around time. More custom shops have a long wait time because custom takes so much time and initial research, it is impossible to do it quickly on your own.

Two Toned Tulle Skirt

Photo by Winter Wolf

Time frames for custom are between 3 months to a year, it depends on the project. Materials can be something we have on hand, we have a lot on hand, or take hours to find, even months rechecking places to get the perfect look.

Steampunk Wedding Gown

Photo by Fairshadow Photography

You mentioned you take custom orders, what sort of customisations can be requested?

We love custom! We can do it from someone's from scratch idea or work with someone to design a perfect unique look for them. This year we added a custom sketch consult to our Etsy shop that lets someone get a custom sketch consult for $35, so they work one on one with us to create a look before committing to the whole process.

Have you had any unusual/weird requests?

Yes, but that happens. I don't mind weird requests as long as people are polite and respectful.

Tim Burton Gothic Wedding Dress

Photo by Laura Dark Photography

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Being able to create, and create meaningful enjoyable careers for creative individuals.

I very much believe to make a better world, business needs to be done differently, more ethically and less about the numbers and more about the people who purchase from us and the people who work for us. That is what really keeps me going. Creating something better. I'm not super happy with how the fashion world operates. I could go into it, but I feel like it would turn into a rant haha!

Sparkly Mermaid

Photo by Jen Montgomery

Can you talk us through what you feel makes KMK Designs stand out from the crowd?

We love doing custom. I know a lot of other creators that hate custom. Which I can totally understand, but we have really built ourselves to take on the cons and the pros of custom. It can be more expensive because making something from the beginning is always 10 times more time consuming, but we follow through from beginning to end to create something beautiful and unique to that person.

Beauty and the Beast Wedding Dress

Photo by Jen Montgomery

We also cater to any size and make sure to show that in our promotional material. Every person deserves a fabulous gown or costume. I don't believe in excluding anyone.

Renaissance Wedding Gown

Photo by CC Photo Arts

What can customers expect from you and your work?

Quality and the flexibility in working with us. Generally, we can also do most things as long as it is made from fabric and we also do some leather work.

Fish Leather Corset

Photo by Jen Montgomery

Do you have any tips or advice for brides/couples planning an alternative wedding?

Go look online. I have heard a lot of unpleasant stories from couples trying to get alternative things from local traditional shops and it's just not necessary when there are so many awesome vendors online.

Purple Gothic Mermaid Wedding Dress

Photo by Laura Dark Photography

Make sure you do research those vendors though. Also, give yourself plenty of time if you are doing anything custom ;) Also you are not silly or weird for wanting alternative you are awesome and unique!

Rainbow Tulle Skirt

Photo by Photosynthetique

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that we love alternative brides, grooms and all in-between and plan to be catering to them for many more years to come!

Cinderella Wedding Dress

Photo by Nic Abrego

Thanks for that insight into what KMK Designs is all about, long may you continue to create beautiful garments for alternative weddings!

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