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On Tuesday, September 12th, hundreds of people gathered outside VFiles, 12 Mercer location patiently awaiting Love, Kelly’s debut Ready-To-Wear show— waiting as long as two or more hours to be let in. As the crowds grew larger, it was announced that the collections would walk indoors first, and then continue outside so those who didn’t receive a seat could experience the collections too.

With lots of anticipation and buzz around the Love, Kelly brand, Kelly Butts-Spirito, the Designer and Founder, opened the show with some intriguing introductory remarks about the journey we were going to embark on together. Butts-Spirito, directed and acted in 3 short films that were meant to reflect three crucial moments in his life: heartbreak, sobriety, and his home state of Vermont.

In an exclusive interview with Issued Magazine, he elaborated more on each of these pivotal moments in his life, their connection to the shorts film, and inspiration for the three part collection— which was entirely sourced in New York, and created in just 40 days. All 43 pieces were handsewn and co-created by Milo Rubin, who Butts-Spirito met a year prior on Instagram.

The Dear Love line featured a lot of neutral tones: browns, whites and purples. It also displayed the collection’s tagline, ‘dear love’ across the oversized and well tailored silhouettes.

Photos Shot & Edited by Owen Hammel

“The "Dear love, should I wait forever?" line was a love letter I wrote to love after I went through my last breakup— asking the question about if real love was something I should wait forever for or if I should give up.” said Butts-Spirito.

“The second collection was influenced by the lyrics ‘Take these broken wings and learn to fly.’ This collection was directly tied into my sobriety because that lyric helped me make sense of the things I went through at a young age. For a long time I thought I either had to ‘get over’ the experiences and challenges I faced in my life to move on and I would fall back into addiction; but eventually I realized that what makes me special is that I carry these experiences with me… and because of them I can move with a deeper level of compassion and understanding for the suffering in the world and hopefully can be an inspiration for sobriety for others and a beacon of hope for those still struggling.”

With these lyrics in mind, this collection was filled with flying birds, symbolizing Butts-Spirito learning how to fly, and the carrying on these experiences with him. Portrayed mostly in black, the garments were closely fitted to the body— which directly correlates to the raw feelings and closeness Butts-Spirito was openly sharing through the films about his struggle with addiction.

Photos Shot & Edited by Owen Hammel

Lastly, he continued “The third collection is directly inspired by my home state of Vermont because my home has influenced so much of who I am and my career. It only felt right to dedicate one of my first collections to the moments I spent growing up in Vermont… I started out making music videos in Vermont so my first real creative community was artists in Vermont. After I had been working on videos for about a year I threw a concert and that was the spark that created my brand, Love, Kelly”

Photos Shot & Edited by Owen Hammel

Inspired by Vermont's open land atmosphere, the looks were very utilitarian, exuding a strong love for American culture, camo, gingham, denim, and country living. The perfect culmination of how Butts-Spirito has grown as a person and the many creative avenues his brand will continue to represent in the future.

The full collection will be available this week to shop on , see the full lookbook below.

Photos Shot & Edited by Owen Hammel


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