From Madonna to Adam Ant, The Face to Kylie Minogue, Kim West’s shop in Kensington Market was at the heart of 80s pop culture.
The following is Kim's story in her own words:
It began in 1984 when I discovered latex.
I made a dress for myself which caused quite a stir.
Only this strap survives from that dress. My glueing has improved since then!
I asked a friend to display my dress in the window of The Great Gear Market in the King’s Road.
The first day a woman ordered ten dresses for her shop in Switzerland and Kim West Clothing was born.
I changed my name to Kim West after the David Bowie album cover.
I knew Brian Ward who took that iconic photo. He promised to take a photo of me underneath the sign but sadly died before we got chance.
I was the model for the first Kim West catalogue.
One of the images appeared on the front cover of Skin Two magazine, issue 4.
My next design was the cowgirl outfit.
The jacket was displayed in the window of my favorite shop, Western Styling.
It was spotted by photographer David Todd and appeared in the July ’85 issue of The Face.
Western Styling were inundated with orders.
Tony James of Sigue Sigue Sputnik wore one on Top of the Pops.
May 1985 Skin Two held a fashion show at the Embassy Club.
Photos of my dresses made Penthouse and The Guardian.
When the Telegraph magazine ran this photo on the cover, they received a record number of complaints from ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’.
In February 1987 I opened my shop in Kensington Market.
I was experimenting with patterns and colours and was the first designer to print onto latex.
I sold hand made shoes with my partner, Jessamy Calkin, by Roger and Sarah Adams.
We sold to Madonna
Kim West encountered controversy when Tatler used the shoes in the infamous
‘Twixt B cup and Lip’ spread in the May 1988 issue.
We received a complaint from Archbishop House.
1991 saw the third and ground breaking catalogue from Kim West.
It was photographed by Kevin Davies and designed by Phil Bicker (then art director of THE FACE).
In 1993 I was asked by Vivienne Westwood to make a pair of white rubber stockings for her collection to be worn by Naomi Campbell.
Unfortunately, combined with a pair of 10 inch heels, they may have contributed to her spectacular and infamous fall.
I also made this dress for a later collection;
The next collection featured this controversial advertisement. It was only allowed to be published when I explained that it was a bra. At the launch party, the front of house girls were make-up artist, Ciona Johnson-King and Davina McCall.
In 2009 , after taking time out to raise my boys, I relaunched Kim West Latex.
We immediately caught the eye of a new wave of brilliant stylists and our designs were worn by Crystal Renn for the S/S2011 Jimmy Choo campaign.
Vogue Olympic issue. Styled by Charlotte Pilcher, set design by Shona Heath and photographed by Tim Gutt.
In 2011, a graduate of The London College of Fashion came to join me. Sasha Louise quickly went from making clothing to designing her own range. She developed her own unique latex net which proved to be hugely successful.
In September 2013, a Kim West shop opened for the first time since 1992!
I've lived in Camberwell for many years and love the area, so it was an easy choice when a suitable shop became available. It’s been a very exciting first few months. We’ve met many wonderful people and made lots of new friends.
UPDATE! Our shop is now closed but we still sell online and stylists can contact our PR company, Pop PR for press and celebrity wear.
Perrie Edwards (Little Mix)
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