KISSED – a new creative venue in the city
Kissed – a new fashion and food experience – opened their doors to the city a few weeks ago. During a tour of the premises Creative Dundee met the small but dedicated team of young graduates who let us know more about their new creative, social enterprise. After the tour, we chatted with Leslie Dick, one of the Directors of Kissed to learn more.
What is your vision for Kissed?
Our vision is to provide a space for local, aspiring artists and designers to showcase their work, and as a social enterprise we’re working with hospitality and retail graduates to give them the opportunity to further themselves in their preferred field. There is so much talent across the city, but it’s very challenging for young creative people to move their ideas forward in the current climate. That is why it’s so important to us that our venue provides a stepping stone for the future creative entrepreneurs within the city. We hope to bring artists together from across Dundee to showcase their work, network and exercise their ideas.
One of our key goals is to engage with other start-up creative businesses so we can help each other grow and flourish. We have an amazing building in the city centre which allows us to provide a range of different options. What has become very apparent is the amount of local designers starting their own businesses which are, to various extents, aspiring to be part of Dundee’s creative sector. We appreciate and want to connect with these collectives and individuals to help them market their most powerful selling point; individual designs which are unique, beautifully crafted, and from Dundee, but more affordable for everyone. Beth Lindsay, April Black and Kimberly Rawe are all recent graduates who are showcasing their pieces in our premises. Despite only opening a few weeks ago, we’re delighted that we’ve already been able to help young businesses connect with more established businesses. Just last week we introduced Fiona Mackay, a shoe designer who goes by the name of Heillan Shoo, to one of our best selling fashion designers – David Alexander from P. A. La Mode. They are now working together on something special for our launch event on 22 September!
Charlotte Lodge, who is a part of Dundee based Art and Craft Collective Tin Makers (an off shoot of Tin Roof Arts Collective) has her beautiful hand printed textiles upstairs on the mezzanine fashion level.
Our premises have the “wow” factor with stunning interior features and super high ceilings. The space and light in here is lovely and relaxing, which enhances the visitor experience. I think it’s this atmosphere that is one of the many benefits for our young businesses who display their work here. We’ve got an area for pop-up shops, but also individual spaces that can be matched with specific individual requirements. Kissed gives so much freedom to designers that is often missing in retail environments; allowing them to arrange their own display, which is more important than people might realise, as they’ve got the knowledge of their own products and know how they will look best. Also, the ethos and background of each business is shared with our visitors, and that’s what makes Kissed unique. We call it “Kissed and Tell” – it’s almost like a destination venue. We’re also going to have and host events, we have areas that people can hire for meetings where we provide the hospitality.
Which kind of events will you be doing?
The space offers so much potential. Although we’re open from ten to four thirty, Monday to Saturday, we can open in the evening for private events. We can offer private openings for new collections and pop ups in our mezzanine. We have a range of areas and spaces in Kissed suitable for anyone in the local creative sector who is looking for a venue to meet, organise an event, or show their work.
We’re going to have a formal launch on Thursday 22nd of September which we’re super excited about. We’re planning something really special with both Fiona and David, so our launch night is not to be missed! The event will feature a fashion show (the venue is perfect for a photo shoot!) and we’ll also involve our artists who signed up to get involved – for example some jewellery by Karen Smith will be used in the fashion show too. It will be great for the designers and artists to be there because they have their work on show and they tell the story of their work.
How do you curate the artists and designers who put their work on display in your venue?
The most important thing is that they are local! They should be a start-up or young business, which doesn’t just mean young people, but someone who is at the beginning of a business venture. It’s really down to individual’s, we do not look for certain themes. What we’ve done so far, as we are a new business ourselves, is ask our current artists for their recommendations, and to recommend us to their contacts. This is really important for us to listen and hear from our artists and designers, we could outreach more people, but they know the local creative sector.
Why did you choose to be based in Dundee?
I’ve worked the city for thirty years and Dundee has been very good to me. I know Dundee, it’s a fantastic place and there’s so much talent and potential here. I think that the Creative talent in the city should get the best opportunity to remain here. When you look at what’s happening for Glasgow and Edinburgh, the same is just waiting to happen here.
The designers and artists that have their work on show at the moment are:
- Beth Lindsay – textile and fashion designer, 2016 graduate from DJCAD. Her graduate collection ‘JUXTA’ was inspired by the city where she has grown up.
- Charlie Gray – multi media artist, a veteran who has taken his art from a therapy to a new business.
- Karen Smith – jewellery and metal designer, DJCAD alumni.
- David Alexander Blainey – P.A La Mode Studios founder, and young fashion designer.
- Charlotte Lodge – multi-disciplined designer & textile artist.
- Elena Lam – printmaker and illustrator post graduate MA student at DJCAD.
- Kimberely Rawe – illustrator, 2016 graduate from Gray’s School of Art, University Aberdeen.
- April Black – jeweller who works in silver & wood, 2016 graduate from DJCAD.
Tell us more about your ethical fashion and food vision.
Kissed is listed in the Dundee Business Fair Trade Guide as a coffee house. We’re also working with Caroline Gomes aka Clean Little Eats – an aspiring business woman who makes natural, nutritious, tasty baking. So if you pop into Kissed during the next few weeks you can try these delicious treats. Like us, she’s just starting her business so it’s great to work together and this benefits both businesses.
Another example is Charlotte Lodge‘s handmade designs, she prints on materials that are ethically sourced and produced. She’s working here and displays her work so it’s great for her to learn what products sell, and allows her to chat with potential customers to explain her business.
We have a pre-loved fashion section which has been much welcomed by our customers. Wearing pre-loved fashion nowadays is now very much the way and provides a unique individual style. We offer something different and special, and you know who it helps, it’s contributing to the environment, socially and to the local artistic and creative development.
31 Albert Square
Dundee DD1 1DJ