In Conversation with: Fashion Designer Emma Kempton

by - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

London-based fashion designer and founder Emma Kempton has been running her newly founded British luxury women’s fashion label for the past six months. Having launched at London Fashion Week in February, A-MM-E is a label based on ‘doing its own thing in its own time’. Compared to the latest trend of fashion’s consumer market of ‘see it now, buy it now mantra.’

The label combines Italian classics with a London twist, to create timeless clothing that is easy-to-wear throughout the year regardless of the A-MM-E consumer’s lifestyle. A-MM-E’s current collection is the beginning of a story of whom A-MM-E is whilst, the inspiration behind the collection is very much a mood board of Kempton’s time as a costume designer mixed in with fashion’s own past.

“Everything Italian, contemporary fashion mixed with a bit of vintage, McQueen pattern cutting, and the Victoriana coat I designed a decade ago for circus mime. I use simple but quality fabrics - for example, camel cashmere that is soft to the touch and good to wear. I choose simple colours, at the moment there is only one Sicilian floral print, everything else is chocolate, camel, gold.” Said Kempton

Capturing the introduction if you like of a creative journey in ten carefully selected designs, which are available in an array of colour and fabric variants. The A-MM-E riding coat is the label's signature piece with a story. Back when Kempton, performed in mime magic acts in the circus, Kempton designed the coat with secret pockets, however, it's now been manipulated for everyday wear. The signature riding coat is complemented by a draped dress and top, as well as riding skirts, velvet mini skirts and leggings, and signature cashmere that you'll find in both camel and chocolate. Sicilian floral print also makes an appearance while hints of gold interlace the entire range.

Having only been at the helm of A-MM-E for six months I was intrigued to explore why Kempton had turned her hand to such a fast forward moving environment. What was the next chapter of the A-MM-E story?

“When I was living in Italy last year, my children were getting bigger so I had more time, and I saw some nice fabric, dug through my archives for the best patterns and a part-time interest started to grow. It was the natural progression after years working as a costume designer & performance artist; plus, I had designed and sold clothing earlier on in my career.”

Kempton’s career has been surrounded by the process of making clothes, and the creative journey that has allowed her to find her feet into becoming a designer.

Back in the early ‘90s, Kempton graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA in European Studies (Literature & Philosophy) after funding her course by making clothes under an ethical fashion label, which sold to independent shops and on stalls at Portobello Market, Camden Market, and Kensington Indoor Market.

“I always see the artist in the design, but I am enjoying a more direct, simple and minimal channel for my creativity!”

After university, Kempton went on to work as a costume designer for theatres, as well as a performance artist with various street theatre groups. In 2003, Emma joined Giffords Circus as a costumier but also ended up devising pre-show and interval mime magic acts, which were later choreographed into the main show.

In terms of developing her career in design Kempton added more to her portfolio in 2006. Kempton produced a 40-piece fashion collection titled Clowns and Unicorns, which previewed at Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week using a fashion film – a rare medium at the time – titled The Crinoline & the Rose that was shown on a loop on a box television. Emma went on to win several film awards (Phoenix Film, Media Innovations Award, Two Short Nights Best Film 2007) and, not long after, she met a British conceptual artist, who she explored Italy and the UK with.

Having had an early insight into the process of design at such a creative level. Kempton’s answer to giving advice to the fashion students of today was very open yet honest.

“Be true to yourself. People think being an individual and doing your thing means being original, unique and different to others. That may be so but it's not always the case either. There's a difference between trying to stand out and being genuinely true to what is right for you. The important thing is being true to yourself, finding your thing and having the self-belief to follow it, whether that means doing something crazy or something more subtle.”

As for where Kempton is now with her portfolio, it is a new chapter after travelling to Italy and the UK. This new chapter is her being full-time working on the future of A-MM-E.
“For A-MM-E to grow gradually, perhaps bringing minimal performance art into the label in some way.” Said Kempton. I am sure this a going to be a label to watch over the coming years as the story of A-MM-E continues to be written.

Selected garments from A-MM-E are currently available in Wolf & Badger’s Notting Hill store, as well as online. A-MM-E will be present at Royal Fashion Day during London Fashion Week in September 2016. The brand will also be participating in a pop-up shop hosted by Independent Designer Fashion Week in September 2016.

Find out more about the brand and shop online at

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