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Female Disruptors: Kaila Methven is disrupting women’s fashion by prioritizing the woman over the man

Always be all that you can be, no matter what happens or who comes into your life — I stay true to who I am, and over the years, I’ve…


Always be all that you can be, no matter what happens or who comes into your life — I stay true to who I am, and over the years, I’ve realized that I am pretty unique in the way I think, I dress, I present myself and I create my designs. I meet new people every day and the number one comment I get is “Wow! I have never met anyone quite like you” and this is great because it makes me feel like there is no one out there could even compare to what I have to offer.


I had the pleasure to interview Kaila Methven. Kaila is an American fashion designer and CEO and designer of the Madame Methven lingerie brand. Kaila was born in Santa Monica, California and was raised by her mother, Lisa Methven in Beverly Hills up until the age of 14. After the death of her mother, she moved to Paris to live with her father. Kaila’s first interest started when she was 16 when she interned as a makeup assistant at a Dior fashion show in Paris. She then decided to pursue her career in Fashion Design at Esmod Paris. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, she continued her studies at the International Fashion Academy (IFA) where she earned a master degree, as well as an MBA. She then traveled to China and Italy and attended Polymoda to finish her MBA in luxury brand management. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles to begin her own lingerie line. She opened her first atelier in downtown Los Angeles in the Fashion District at the age of 22. She had a small team working with her when she debuted her first collection, Latrodectus at Orange County Fashion Week. She then debuted her collection at LA Fashion Week. She then debuted three lines to the Madame Methven brand: Mademoiselle, Made to Adore and LBKM. Since her LA Fashion Week debut, Kaila has been featured in many magazines, including the covers of Femme Rebelle, Ellements, LA Fashion Magazine, Maxim South Africa and appeared in Contrasts, Runway, Basic, Most, Fab UK, Maxim US, Marie Claire Italy, Business Insider, and The Sun. She won two Best International Designer of the Year Awards — Haute Couture Lingerie and Haute Couture Prêt-à-Porter. Kaila’s designs have been seen on many celebrities, including Oscar winner Apollonia Kotera, Kitty Brucknell of X Factor UK, and cast members of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kaila is a member of All Saints Episcopal Church. She supports the LGBT Youth Center, the Monday Spiritual Offering Meal, the Laundry Love, and the Food Pantry at the Islamic Center in Los Angeles. Kaila’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Methven started in 1960 what became RCL Foods in South Africa, which in the 1980s partnered with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Tell us about your life Kaila, what experiences make you who you are today?

I was born in the City of Angels and grew up in Beverly Hills until I was fourteen. My mother was from South Africa living in Los Angeles and my father was from Tunisia living in Paris, France. My mother was Agnostic, and my father was Muslim — two very different extremes. My father left when I was three months old, so I didn’t really have a father figure in my life. Though I did have a stepfather for a couple years, who is old enough to be my boyfriend, disruptive enough to say. My mother was an alcoholic and diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. She then became very ill and passed away from suicide when I was 14.

I then had two options — foster care or meeting my father and moving to France. My stepdad backed out of the picture because he couldn’t support a teenager and went on with his life. Logically, I took the decision to move to France. Boy was I in for the ride of my life that completely changed me and my every perspective on life.While living in France, I grew up in a strict Muslim household were French was spoken (I didn’t speak French). We were seven people living in a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Paris, a two hour train ride from the city center. I slept on the kitchen floor for about three years and worked as many jobs as I possibly could. This Beverly hills girl had gone from a mansion on Rodeo Drive to the ghetto suburbs of France, literally in an area that would appear on BBC news due to the constant bombing and vehicles lit on fire.

This was for sure overwhelming for a fourteen-year-old teenager to take in. I couldn’t talk to anyone, I was broken, and had just lost my mother. On top of it all, I had four brothers and sisters and a stepmother with whom I did not get along. This whole situation was a pretty mentally abusive experience for me, but I believed there were better things for me out there.

As always, with hard work and discipline, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel graduated top of my classes, traveled the world studying fashion from Shanghai to Florence. After finishing my MBA at 22, I relocated to the US. I grew up knowing of my grandfather, Stanley Methven, who created Rainbow Chicken Unlimited, which were factories full of profitable money making chicken. He provided his product to all South Africa where he was the first provider of chicken for KFC. Over the years, the Methven family became the 3rd richest family in South Africa. From there they partnered with KFC and expanded globally. With the loss of family, lovers, and friends, I’ve gained an understanding of how important time and value of success is. I’ve learned to find the positive in every negative and to be all that I can be, embrace every lesson learnt throughout my life.

Madame Methven came about as a result of many inspiring factors. The Venice Carnival being one, which was created in the 13th century. During this time, you could become whoever you wanted and everybody could participate in the event. From a butler to a King, everybody had a chance to be whoever they wanted for this one night. Their costumes could be as extravagant as they wanted, and the carnival required no limits to imagination and creativity. This inspired my designs and creation of my company because my designs are extravagant and luxurious and anyone from a king to a secretary can wear my diverse lines.

Secondly, when I moved to Paris, I had the opportunity to grow up in the European culture and its history. Between Versailles’s history, Renaissance, the Moulin Rouge culture, to all these emulsions of emotions, art, and lifestyles, every detail of each those stories walked me through my designs. During my studies, I had the chance to travel all over Europe. I met amazing personalities in Italy, Greece, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, Rome, London and many more.

I loved design and history which is why I started Madame Methven, I wanted to share my talent and life experiences with the world through my clothing. These are just a few examples of some of the inspirations behind my designs and the start of my successful company. Even though my company is now up and running and receiving great recognition, I continue to gain inspiration from various experiences in my life and studies that I am extremely anxious to instill in projects currently in the works. I began filling my business documents to become legitimate a year and a half ago. I then began my design process and brought it to fruition during the summer of 2017. It took my team and myself about six months to make the entire collection.

What makes you and your line disruptive?

My lines scream disruptive! In my opinion lingerie was designed to make a woman step-out of her comfort zone and shock her lover so much his jaw drops the second he lays on her. My goal is to take that one step further and shock the woman just as much as the man. I’m disrupting my industry by thinking about and prioritizing the woman over the man. My designs are both sexy and feminine, as well as couture and flattering for every woman’s body type. My new designs are bolder, sexier, more luxurious, and more unique then ever seen in this industry before. I would probably say the another disruptive thing about my lines is my talent and imagination. It’s limitless. I never get writers block and never say it’s impossible. Just like in my collection ‘Made to Adore,’ it took me around six months to figure out how to make the most beautiful and unique thong and bra that would be completely covered in diamonds. Voila! six months later I’m on the cover of Maxim with 56,000 dollars’ worth of diamonds down my behind. Nothing is impossible, nothing is too expensive, and nothing is more unique than my designs. You just fall in love all over again. Plus, I love modeling my designs. I made it and I’m wearing it.


We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

God is my only mentor, but true success comes from courage and the heart. Listen to the silence in your life, God will answer

What is next in the world of Kaila Methven? How are you shaking it up?

I am trying to shake things up by being more involved entertainment-wise. I am nominated for Emerging Designer of the Year at the Annual Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards. I’m a judge for Miss Philippines Universe and I am also receiving the Global Designer of the Year Award at the Elite Awards. I have three luxury magazine covers coming out in September. On one of them, I am wearing a three million dollar Versace crown and five million dollars’ worth of jewelry. Last but not least, I’m throwing a gala for my birthday that is sure to be the hottest party in town.

What are 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten that have impacted your journey?

Always be all that you can be, no matter what happens or who comes into your life — I stay true to who I am, and over the years, I’ve realized that I am pretty unique in the way I think, I dress, I present myself and I create my designs. I meet new people every day and the number one comment I get is “Wow! I have never met anyone quite like you” and this is great because it makes me feel like there is no one out there could even compare to what I have to offer.

Dare to shock everyone — In an industry full of creativity and innovation, a designer must find a way to stand out and make a name for themselves. My best friend Dereck always reminds me how crazy, bold, extra and just simply inspirational I am to him. He mentions that my lines should be nothing short than just that! To just allow my designs to be as bold and crazy as I can imagine them to be and simply sit back and let the world fall in love.

Dress for love, seduce for love, live for love — I give this piece of advice to myself every day, as it’s something I’ve always believed to be true.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.

Honestly nothing, my inspiration and impact comes from experience not other’s stories.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would want to meet Donatella Versace. I feel like this designer takes risks, shows emotions, she say’s what she feels through her clothing and is simply just killing it because she is out of the ordinary, she doesn’t follow the same procedures as the other brands do. This is something I highly respect because it takes a lot of courage and determination to stand out in a crowd. My dream would be to do a collaboration with Donatella, learn her inspirations and thought process and study her techniques. Plus she is Italian and I love red wine. What could be better than designing couture gowns, over a lovely bottle and gaining inspiration together? In some way, I feel like her long lost daughter. We have too much in common. She’s my role model. She is the hottest, sexiest , CEO alive.

@madamemethven

[email protected]

www.madamemethven.com

Originally published at medium.com

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