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Portrait of Kenneth D. King

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Kenneth D. King

  • School of Art and Design
  • Apparel Design

Doll Couture
Creating Custom Clothes Featuring the Story of Lola

Couturier to the stars and famed designer Kenneth D. King brings his Belle Epoque sensibilities to the world of custom doll clothing construction in Doll Couture. Inspired by his viral social media stories of Crazy Bella and her high-fashion friends, Doll Couture showcases King’s one-of-a-kind designs for clothes that fit 11-1/2 inch fashion dolls.

Doll fashion has a long history within the tableau of clothing construction as the first way many people who sew started their sewing journeys. What sewing-crazy kid doesn’t remember creating outfits for a favorite doll? Doll clothing was the entry point for so many, and it remains a craft that speaks to the intricacies of detail work that go into all clothing construction.

The recently renewed interest in doll culture, nostalgic focus on collectibles, and renewed interest in the fiber arts make this the perfect time to step into this space. Guided by King, an expert in couture sewing who threads the needle between the mechanics of garment construction and the visual feast of rich fabrics and design, Doll Couture will be a one-of-a-kind project that both delights and inspires.

Cover of Doll Couture

How did you first come up with the idea for this work?
I have always played with dolls, and that’s how I got my interest in fashion. During the pandemic, I came up with a doll story for Instagram about a character Crazy Bella being the victim of a blackmail attempt.

What was your research process like?
I’ve made doll clothes all my life, so experimenting with the construction of 1/6 scale clothes was natural.

How long did you work on this before it was published?
Six months to write the manuscript and do all of the photos.

Does this work relate to your role at FIT? If so, how?
I tell my students that if you know your craft you will always have work. Sometimes the work doesn’t look like the traditional path in the fashion industry.

What was your biggest challenge? What was most rewarding?
The timeline for the manuscript was extremely tight (January 1 to June 1) so that was a challenge. The most rewarding thing was seeing this story of Lola (she was a showgirl) come to life.

Is there other information we should know?
This book is a piece of a larger puzzle, that of a business involved in making things: making things, researching things, writing about making things, and teaching about making things.

Have you published any other books or have any upcoming publications?
I have 5 books published (6 if you count the French edition). I am a contributing editor for Threads Magazine, so publish articles four times a year.

  • Started teaching at FIT in 2005
  • Book published in 2023