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DRIVE CHANGE WITH KERRY WILDE

Courtesy of Kerry Wilde

January, 8th 2021

An eye-opening experience within the fast fashion industry led Kerry Wilde to abandon a promising career and stable job at a large company to pursue a more balanced and ethical lifestyle as a ‘personal soul stylist’ and help other women to do the same.

Words By José M. Sainz-Maza

Kerry Wilde transmits good vibes. This is something that I had already perceived the first time we spoke, months ago, and I can confirm it as the interview begins. We are just a few days away from Christmas by the time of our reunion and time is at a premium these days, especially for a mother of two and a freelancer like Kerry, so I appreciate the time she has taken to speak with Staiy Edit. 

She warmly welcomes me to her home in Northampton, UK. Kerry smiles, I smile, some small talk, and I shoot: ‘What is a ¨soul stylist¨?’ The question does not catch her off guard, since she may hear it often. ‘Have you ever wondered how many of your decisions when it comes to dressing are actually made by you?’ Kerry replies. ‘Every new collection, every season, every new type of pants that is in fashion this year… all this is imposed on us by the brands, and it is very easy to end up accumulating large amounts of clothes that we then discard and stop using after a while.’

“I relieve women of that burden and guide them to discover what beauty truly means to them and what they feel good with. I help them develop a more nourishing relationship with clothing and live in a more sustainable way.”

Kerry knows well what she is talking about, her relationship with fashion is long-lasting and dates back to her childhood. She fell in love with her mother’s wardrobe, with those clothes that allowed her to imagine, create, dress up, and play pretend. That fascination for the immense possibilities of fashion to make us look different, give us wings, and even change the way others see us never left her anymore. This is how she opted for art and fashion when she finished high school and ended up studying Fashion at university. ‘It was my dream,’ she states. The following years led to her working as a garment technologist for some major British fashion brands as well as fulfilling some Styling and Designing personal projects.

‘I used to work very closely with designers, ensuring that the quality of the materials and the technical specifications through the entire production process were correct. I often had to visit the factories where the garments were produced in India, Turkey, Portugal, China, or Bangladesh,’ Kerry explains. ‘I realized that the supply chain was incredibly complex, with several intermediaries and subcontractors, and that it was an environment aggressive towards workers and with very little respect for nature. One day I met a factory worker in India, she looked sad. She was younger than me but already had 5 children, and this shocked me and made me rethink many things, as at that time I had a very different life as a single young professional in London. I felt that something wasn’t right, I needed to make a change,’ Kerry tells me.

Courtesy of Kerry Wilde

Being aware of this reality many people around her knew little about, led her to continue learning about organic materials, ethical processes, and sustainable innovation. ‘My disappointment with the fashion industry was compounded by other things. After ten years working for different companies, I realized that my job consumed all my energy and there was no purpose other than making more money and looking for the next promotion,’ Kerry shares with discontent on her face. ‘This situation increased when I had my first child and I had to continue traveling abroad often for work. At this point, it was clear to me that I needed to work in a way that renewed my soul and aligned with my values’. This drove Kerry to take a break from the corporate world and focus on training in yoga, reiki, and various holistic soul-activating practices.

“Looking inside myself and taking the time to understand the world around me made me feel better. I realized that I wanted to contribute to the circular economy instead of continuing to push myself up the career ladder.”

That is how Kerry decided to apply all this new learning to her passion for fashion and make something positive out of it. She discovered that many women, despite having money to buy the clothes they want, are dissatisfied with the result of their purchases and with how it makes them feel. It is society and the big brands that tell them how to shop, how to dress, what beauty is, and how to manage their self-perception. 

‘I help women embrace slow fashion, find their own style -one that connects with their idea of ​​beauty and their needs, and stop over-consuming,’ Kerry explains. ‘We do a lot of body-affirmation and body-image work so they feel good with their own shape and avoid body shaming. I also help them explore themselves inside through meditation and self-love exercises and later reflect this in their outfits. We put the focus on curating a wardrobe that brings them joy, using materials and textures that fit their style, always with a sustainable approach. It’s a very powerful and empowering journey.’

Courtesy of Kerry Wilde

Regarding the future of fashion, Kerry Wilde hopes that the general trend in society will move towards circular consumption patterns and more ethical practices, progressively abandoning fast fashion and the system of continuous seasons. ‘Style holds a message for the outer world. It is through the language of our clothing we can speak our values and make a bigger impact. We know that the fast fashion model is dying, we know that it creates discord in the way we feel about ourselves, humanity, and the planet. Fashion should help us dream and feel good, not be a source of stress for us and suffering for workers in the industry,’ she points out before we say goodbye.