Kate Anderson, the former Head Designer of Finders Keepers, is to go her own way after parting ways with Finders Keepers’ parent company Australian Fashion Labels.
With four fashion labels and more than 3000 stockists worldwide, a soon to be released high-end contemporary women’s label and the flagship BNKR store in Adelaide – with another store opening in Downtown LA in the next few months – Australian Fashion Labels (AFL) is arguably one of the fastest growing fashion companies in Australia. When it was announced that Kate Anderson was no longer the head designer of Finders Keepers (the first label AFL launched in 2007), it was one of the biggest shocks the local fashion scene had witnessed in some time. For Anderson, the move was the right decision at the right time. “I wanted a fresh start, needed a change and now was as good a time as ever,” she says. “It was a hard decision but you want to leave at a time when you are still relevant.” Looking back at the last five years with Finders Keepers, Anderson says it was “one amazing ride”, as she was an integral part of seeing the label develop and grow into one of the country’s most sought-after fashion brands. “I’ve met some phenomenal people, and have been constantly inspired and blown away at watching it all grow around me. A major highlight was winning the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Female Designer of the Year last year – it was really nice to be recognised, and know that people appreciate and acknowledge what you are doing,” she says. Working with AFL since the beginning, Anderson describes how she has seen the company grow significantly over the last five years. “I started working for the company when it was still in its infancy – seven of us worked out of a home base and over the past five years the company has now grown to over 120 people thanks to the collective vision and motivation of some talented creatives. There were always challenges but I think this helped the teams develop and grow the brands to what they are today.” Finders Keepers is often seen on celebrities such as the Kardashians, Jessica Alba and more, but for Anderson, seeing Taylor Swift wearing her designs was a highlight. “I’m a huge Swifty fan! But in saying that, I still get a kick from seeing someone walking down the street in one of my designs, it never gets old.” Over the last five years, Anderson has seen a number of opportunities arise through her position as head designer. “I’m so fortunate that my job extended into other areas like media, which I really enjoy – including my role as resident fashion expert on HIT107 and being the Yellowglen ambassador at this year’s Adelaide Cup.” Anderson is also proud of her achievement with FKxFIT – a smart move for the brand, taking some of the well-known Finders Keepers printsand branching out into fitness wear. Anderson explains, “FKxFIT was my baby from idea though to inception, so to see it get such a positive response early on was definitely exciting.” With future plans to release smaller capsule collections under her own name, the designs will be influenced by her style. “At this stage it will be on a much smaller scale to what I was doing before. My style is quite relaxed and casual, so my ranges will be based along those lines with the introduction of beautiful fabrics like linens, cottons and some leather.” Anderson is looking at menswear as well. “I’ve promised my guy friends I’ll finally cater for them too. I’m looking at a small range of unisex/men’s pieces too. I’ve been watching a lot of old surf movies like Point Break and Big Wednesday for inspiration,” she says. Life certainly hasn’t slowed down for Anderson since leaving AFL. “I actually can’t believe how busy I’ve been!” As for the rest of 2015, Anderson has a few collaborations in the works with a few brands and friends, that will be announced soon on her new website. She will also continue as an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia, a cause that is important to her. With a new workspace in the city with fellow Adelaide designer Georgie Solomon, she’s hoping to turn it into a creative hub with likeminded people. Adelaide will always be home for Anderson, who has no plans leaving just yet. “I’ve got a great network here and such good support. The beauty of working for myself is that I can really work from anywhere so I do plan to do a bit of travel, but my home will always be Adelaide.” Photos: Jonathan van der Knaap