FASHION DESIGNERS OF GRETA/EZRA CONSTANTINE
Stephen are two talented
designers with individual success. Kirk has a
background in fashion design earning himself a degree at
one of the prestigious fashion schools 'ISTITUTO
MARANGONI' and has worked for designers Dsquared2 and
Neil Barrett. Stephen is a costume designer
working on films such as CHICAGO and Hairspray.
The two met in Toronto and soon became great friends and
decided to start a clothing line together; Greta
Constantine and Ezra Constantine.
Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
Can you both tell me how your careers as
I started my career working for a Toronto based fashion
company Comrags. I did a coop course in the last
year of high school and they hired me on when I
finished. From there I traveled across Europe then
settled in Milan and worked with designer and best
friends Dean & Dan Caten of Dsquared2. For me that
was like going to fashion school. They taught me
so much. I learned how to fine tune styling and to
always think outside the box in the most creative way
possible. I learned about designing when I worked
with Neil Barrett. He was/is the master of a true
designer. He used to be the menswear designer for
'Prada'. I learned how to choose beautiful fabric
and what to look for when working with knits. I
have to say that I have been very fortunate!!
I've always had a great interest
in fashion. In fact, it was because of that common
interest that Kirk and I became such good friends.
The topic of having our own line of clothes was
something that we talked about on occasion, but it never
felt like the right time to do it until around 4 years
ago. We had each gained a lot of experience from
our separate careers within the industry, and felt that
if we didn’t move ahead and start something, we wouldn’t
ever do it. We started out with a small capsule
collection to “test the waters”, and we received very
favorable feedback from industry insiders. I’m not the
kind of person to be sure of anything, but we were both
sure that GRETA CONSTANTINE would do well. We
share a very clear vision of where the brand is headed.
EFM: You met your designing partner
Stephen in Canada, when did you both decide that you
wanted to collaborate together
as a duo?
We've known each other
for years and from the very beginning we always
promised each other that one day we would design a
label together. The day finally came in 2005.
Stephen has there been any time where you just didn't
the most part, Kirk and I have very similar tastes.
We share much of the same references to fashion, so it’s
easy for us to communicate ideas to each other
accurately. Certainly on occasion, we’ll see
things differently, but we have enough respect for each
others tastes to keep our minds open to each others
opinions. In a partnership that is a must!
it be difficult to combine your ideas for a collection?
Fortunately we think alike we
both like the same things and always on the same page.
We second guess ourselves all the time but then end
results seems to work.
EFM: What gives Constantine
We get inspiration from many
sources,,,,,each other, other people, the street.
Sometimes we stumble upon a great idea by mistake.
The key is to keep ones mind open which enables you to
see things in a new way.
Editor in Chief of Canadian Fashion Magazine
of Flare; Lisa Tant was spotted wearing one of your designs. It
was a deep plum dress with a rope across the shoulder;
what gave you the inspiration of the design?
Yes, that's one of
her favorite dresses! And mine too. We call
it knotting and we did a version of it on a smaller
scale a few seasons earlier. We were looking to do
something bolder, stronger while keeping with out DNA.
EFM: Can we briefly speak
about the Film 'CHICAGO'; how did you get the
opportunity to design for the movie?
I was never the designer for
“Chicago”. I worked on the wardrobe, but not in
the capacity of designer. The designer was Colleen
EFM: Kirk, what gives you inspiration?
friends, stylish women, conversation, movies music,
traveling, the internet, books, photographers, and each
EFM: What's the difference between a
costume designer and a fashion designer?
Costume design is to realize a
specific character or period in time. Fashion
design is to create clothes with a direction/viewpoint.
EFM: What is your favorite thing
that you like to see a women wear?
A Greta Constantine piece of
course. It's the best feeling seeing someone in
EFM: What do you think that makes a
In this day and age to be a
successful designer, is to be many things. Aside from
the obvious of knowing how to decipher trends, knowing
how to accurately and properly translate ideas into
garments, knowing who your customer is, and having a
creative view which is also mindful of the customer.
A designer must also nowadays have the skills/presence
to deal with media. Have a great business mind(or have a
great business mind working with them). And last,
to be able to research/develop ideas to fruition.
EFM: Kirk, can you describe your
My personal style is an edgy prep. Now I'm
feeling 60's Mod. Want to create a modern Mod.
It's all about the Beatles.
EFM: What advice can you give to
the aspiring fashion designers?
Learn everything you
can about the industry. Not just about the
clothes, but also about the slew of other aspects that
the fashion industry encompasses. i.e., models,
photographers, agents, bookers, editors, writers,
stylists, make-up/hair stylists, magazine/media,
retailers, buyers. The fashion industry is every bit as
much business, and politically driven, as it is
creative. It’s not as easy or glamorous as most people
think. Mind you, great moments do occur, but they
pale in numbers compared to the difficult, stressful,
and trying ones. A dear friend once told me (when
we started the company) that in order to survive, I’d
have to live, breathe, and sleep fashion!!! As
true as it is, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything
stay true to yourself, work hard and never give up!!
Interview by Rochell “E” James