An idea ten years in the making, Krome Kids is the brainchild of 30 year old designer Heidi Andrews. Turning the tragic loss of her oldest brother into a beautiful homage in his memory and honour, Heidi reincarnated her brother’s Krome Entertainment business into her own brand. In fact it is the special men in her life who have served as the base for much of her inspiration. She confesses, “my husband is obsessed with wearing anything with a hood on it so I think that has filtered into influencing what I think looks good on guys. I’m not a big fan of kid’s clothes that look cutesy so my look is more “mini man” fashion.”
Mum to her own mini man, Heidi cites that soon to be two years old Riley is her definitive muse. “My son is my constant source of inspiration,” she says. “Everything I do and create is really for him.”
The men in Heidi’s life may hold the key to her present success but there’s no discounting the maternal touch that set the designer on her creative path. “My mum used to make all my clothes,” she says, undoubtedly serving to spark six year old Heidi’s imagination and talent which saw her collect scraps of fabric to make clothes for her Barbies. “I absolutely loved making clothes and knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.”
From dressing Barbie to bridal couture, Heidi initially tested out her Fashion degree on those set to walk down the aisle however her passion for creating childrenswear soon took precedence and with the arrival of Riley the notion of Krome Kids began to take shape. Disappointed with the lack of “funky” options for boys clothing on the general retail market, Heidi turned her hand to creating a limited number of hoodies and jumpers exclusively for her son. Friends took notice of her distinctive style and the orders started piling in; before she knew it, the designer had a business on her hands. “I don’t think I ever really set out for it to become a full time job,” she admits, “but I’m glad it has been growing as well as it has so far!”
Every creative individual has his or her own process when it comes to transforming an idea into a tangible product and Heidi reveals that her designs come from all sorts of places. “Sometimes the fabric print is the influence, sometimes I dream designs and have to get up in the middle of the night to sketch them, and sometimes they are variations on older designs that have evolved.” In lieu of an inanimate dress form, Riley is his mum’s loyal product tester for fit, functionality and durability. She says, “After sketching I draft a pattern, cut a sample and try it on my son.”
From a secret little hole in the wall to American suppliers and applying her own designs to some of the fabric prints she uses for her pieces, Heidi’s eye for the unique sets Krome Kids apart from other brands. “I really like using fabrics I don’t see used elsewhere so we have a definite point of difference.” Heidi’s design ethos is steeped in her experience of haute couture and crafting something not only of the utmost quality but a piece that was made to be different. Citing fashion maestro Christian Dior as a huge inspiration in her early designing days, Heidi says, “I love that he was bold enough to take clothing where it hadn’t gone before as well as his design aesthetic and attention to detail. I’ve always loved and been inspired by those who work in couture and handmade and create quality items that will last a lifetime.”
As far as materials and prints go, what can we expect from the Krome Kids aesthetic in the near future? “At the moment I’m being drawn towards a lot of monochrome and geometric prints,” says Heidi. “I think there is a bit of a denim thing happening as well so I hope to incorporate a bit of that in my own way too.” A veritable fashion feast it would appear and one not out of place when it comes to the designer’s personal work space, which she admits is currently the dining room. “I’m slowly growing out of that though so not sure what part of the house is next?!!”
A self-confessed workaholic, the designer acknowledges the struggle that evolves between dividing the right amount of attention between business and family life. “Generally I try to keep at least Sundays off work and one day a week to catch up with friends,” she says. “Working from home is hard as work is always just there in the other room and when you love what you do and have so many plans to make it bigger and better, I get a little carried away in there!” Heidi’s passion for her business is evident, “I love being able to create what I love and that other people love it too,” she says.
Immune to superstition, the designer does however share the fear of her fellow creatives of those who set out to copy her original aesthetic and stamp their name on it. However, the dark side to business aside Heidi asserts, “I don’t have any rules that I live by other than to stay true to myself and keep creating original designs.” On this note, I must ask which of her beautiful pieces stands out as a favourite of hers. “It would have to be the Max zipped hoodie. Sometimes a design just comes together and works and I look at it and think yep that’s pretty awesome!” The designer is quick to point out too that her designs are unisex with plenty of girls rocking her threads in addition to their male counterparts.
One can expect the personal touch from Heidi whose attention to detail and love for her craft is sewn into her brand with every stitch and flourish of sewing needle. With the potential for collaboration as her business continues to thrive and grow, we may see footwear taking the Krome Kids aesthetic in a new direction but for now I’ll leave you with Heidi’s parting advice to those for whom doubts and peer pressure intervene with destiny, “Ignore the ones who say ‘sewing is a hobby and to get a real job’!”
Heidi’s ‘ones to watch’ on the mum-made front…