Sunday, November 21, 2010

My interview with clothing designer/ screen printer, store owner Kingi Carpenter ...

About 7 years ago I took a 1 day screen printing work shop at A woman's clothing store called PEACH BERSERK on Queen St. in Toronto.
I always wanted to design and make my own shirts for years so here was my chance.
I felt a little uncomfortable because, I was the only guy, it was all woman's clothing and I did not know what to expect.
With in minutes I was having the time of my life, and having Kingi as the teacher made things extremely fun and interesting.
She is a true entrepreneur, I have seen clothing lines come and go with in the city. Her clothing and store does not look like it is slowing down any time soon.  She was also featured in the Jeanne Bekers Canada's first lady of fashion  "TOP 100 SHOPS LIST" 
 She quoted “This place is all about fun, whimsical, bright colours and silkscreen prints that just exude personality."   I could not have said it better, you could look in the store from the outside and say the same thing.
Kingi is also runs circles around a lot of screen printers in my opinion. Over the years I have met several screen printers, with shops, clothing lines, studios, but they lack in drive.
Kingi builds her own wooden frames, stretches the screen, and she's not on a computer perfecting some image. She might be cannibalizing old department store magazines or using a old photo of the Eiffel tower , shooting it on  screen and making a dress.
She has a punk rock attitude mixed with A  guerrillia marketing strategy  which has made her unstoppable.  Where others have made a few shirts, and had some moderate success with their state of the art equipment. Kingi has a store, employees who work for her, and clothing worn by celebrities ... 
To get a general idea of who she is what she is all about check the video... very cool!

KEEF- How did you get into the clothing / screen printing business and what is your secrete to your success?

Kingi -I just started printing and sewing clothes in my one room apt in the 80's and piling them into garbage bags, and taking them on my bike to stores
My secret is having a different and original idea, and doing the idea in a different original way!! And working hard and a lot of lipstick and beer!!

Keef-Your clothing is extremely original and loved by many. I can remember my Mom calling me to the television and saying  "Look its that girl who taught you how to screen print!" I believe the show was on CityTV, where else has your product been showcased, and who are some famous people who wear it?

Kingi -I have worked hard to be in magazines and newspapers and tv shows.  Peach Berserk has been in Chatelaine, Flare, Canadian Living Maclean's Elle Teen Vogue  IN Style Magazine British Elle and all of canada's national papers. 
Famous Peachy wears are Paula Abdul, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Patricia Field, Ally Sheedy, Portia de Rossi and more!!

Keef -I took your screen printing class and got the screen printing bug after that. Of all the screen printing places I have been to, you have been the most informative, the most fun and the most punk rock.
(These are some shirts I made at her coarse!)

Here is this girl building her own screens, hand bombing images on to fabric, no adobe photo shop... manually cutting out images! I could see some of the guys I have worked with cringing at the idea of that, but you are extreamly successful!
What can a person expect when they take this class, and what can they get out of it?

Kingi -Our students can expect to have an AMAZING day, being creative and learning a ton.  It is a great break from regular life, because you totally immerse yourself in learning a new artform AND using your imagination.
At the end of the day we expect our students to really understand the process of silkscreening from a technical AND creative point of view, and know enough to set up and operate their OWN studio, if they want to.

Keef- Where did the name PEACH BERSERK come from?

Kingi -Peach Berserk is the name of a nail polish colour from a book from the 60's
Peach Berserk Photo Shoot (Spring 2010) from Kirk Best on Vimeo.

Keef- I mention in my other question that you are a success, you have a constant flow of people taking your screen printing coarse, your clothing is worn by celebrities, its featured in magazines. Queen street is also a very expensive place to run a business. I have seen clothing lines come and go in this city, you dont seem to be slowing down... what is your secret? 

Kingi -My secret is that I am obsessive and I love what I do, and there is always another idea that I have to try out.  Peach Berserk is an art project that I never can seem to finish, and hopefully I never will!!

Be sure to visit when you are in Toronto...

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