Canadian Designer Erin Kleinberg On Her Fall 2015 Collection


Photo: Erin Kleinberg

Toronto based rising designer Erin Kleinberg may be just 29 years old, but she’s already known for her eponymous ready-to-wear label. Kleinberg began her fashion journey as the co-founder of Canadian fashion website The Coveteur, but switched her focus to design when she launched her label in the fall of 2009. Real Style caught up with Kleinberg, who describes her personal style as “shlumpy-chic”, about her new Fall 2015 collection, style inspiration and career in the Canadian fashion industry.

Real Style: What made you want to pursue fashion as a career?

Erin: I have always had a passion for fashion ever since I was a little girl. When I realized I could turn this passion into a job was when it really all came together.  I was always the girl to be one step ahead of the trends; wearing the craziest outfits then seeing them in a magazine a few months later. In high school I met with the editor of Canadian Living magazine. She marched me over to the newsstand and taught me what a masthead was… It totally inspired me and made me realize that I could actually pursue fashion as more than just my hobby.

Real Style: As an emerging designer, who are your favourite influencers in the fashion industry?

Erin: I really admire Ulla Johnson, who has grown at a nice steady pace. I also find Vanessa Traina’s style to be very influential for me – she was actually in my lookbook a bunch of years back too.

Real Style: What are the unique challenges of being a young Canadian designer?

Erin: Manufacturing in Canada has a bit of a hefty price tag, but I love supporting the local talent. There are so many amazing artisans in this country and I am very proud that EKI is made 100 per cent in Canada. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Real Style: What do you enjoy most about being a designer?

Erin: Seeing a random woman on the street rocking an EKI piece is really what keeps me going. No better feeling on earth.

Real Style: What is the inspiration behind your latest collection?

Erin: My latest collection was inspired by a mishmash of sportswear, military 70s chic, and of course, my ultimate fashion icon Hugh Hefner. I wanted to make a collection that the EK girl can wear from day to night, and still be comfortable. There is an ease and flirtiness to this collection, which I love. The pieces range from tux-inspired bottoms, quilted grey sweaters and sweatpants, easy slip dresses, and sportswear with exaggerated mesh details.

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Photos: Erin Kleinberg Fall 2015 Lookbook

Real Style: What are your favourite pieces from your new collection?

Erin: I have a feeling I will be living in the “Pj Tux” pant. They are an awesome black pant with a gorgeous navy blue ribbon trim down the side. They could be worn with sneakers or totally dressed up with a pair of dope heels. The best part about them is that you literally feel like you are wearing pajamas; the perfect pant for my hectic life! I also love the “Night With Hef,” it’s the ultimate LBD. It’s sophisticated, but the mesh detailing at the bottom adds a touch of sass. My pal Lena Dunham recently wore it on Dave Letterman, which floored me with excitement.

Real Style: Do you have a favourite fabric?

Erin: I always gravitate towards anything that is heather grey, soft, and vintage-y. The more comfortable, the better. I want to make clothes that my EK gals feel like they can live in and never want to take off.

Real Style: What is your favourite Fall 2015 trend?

Erin: Buffalo plaid of course!  It shows up a whole bunch in my collection in great true Canuck colours.

Real Style: Describe your essentials for the upcoming season.

Erin: I am obsessed with leather, can’t wait to get my leather Balenciaga moto jacket back on. I also love a good chunky knit. You will see me running around in a pair of Vans or Converse.

Real Style: Are there any trends specifically that you don’t like and why?

Erin: I never really felt the whole overall trend. But that’s just me!

Real Style: Who would be your dream celebrity to style?

Erin: A posthumous Jimi Hendrix or one of the Gainsbourg girls.

Real Style: Last but not least, what is your best fashion memory?

Erin: My fave fashion memory was Jared Leto wearing the Theo caftan on Ellen. It was so cool to see how he took my dress and totally made it his own. I ended up making 10 more caftans for him to wear on tour.

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