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The 'Cupcake Society' by Katie Franklin
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The 'Cupcake Society' by Katie Franklin

What began as a career in fashion design turned into a career in cupcake making. Meet Katie Franklin, a London-based baker who creates fashionable cupcakes

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Katie Franklin started making cupcakes inspired by her friend’s catwalk shows in 2010. Dreaming to pursue a career as a fashion designer, she never thought that her hobby would draw enough attention to evolve into a proper business. So when names like Net-a-Porter, Mulberry and Lily Allen started placing orders for bespoke, fashionable treats, she had to reorganize her dreams and to set up a proper kitchen in East London.

What are you up to at the moment?
Organizing my new kitchen and studio and launching my website. I was always saying that I was going to set up my own fashion label, and then I got the job for the Mulberry Christmas windows in September and I thought: Let’s concentrate and put some effort into the cake business. It could become something very successful.

How did you first come up with the fashion cupcake idea?
It just happened, I have lots of connections inside the fashion industry because all my friends work in this field, as I did. At the beginning I was making cakes for the shows of my friends. I could sound a bit silly but they asked me to make fashion cakes and I liked the idea. It wasn’t the cooking part that fascinated me, but the process of making cakes look different: disconnecting them from the tea time ritual and transforming them into something cool.

You received enthusiastic feedbacks since the very beginning…
I think it’s because of the fact that I do something totally bespoke. Something that my customers can almost have ownership over, it’s totally designed for a collection. I guess that people get excited about having design made edible.

Do you think that fashion starts liking food?
I think that there’s a crossover at the moment. You see it with Bompass and Parr for example, who make jellies. They’re really fashionable. London is one of those very few places in the world where you have the possibility to succeed into such specific fields.

Did your background from the industry influence you?
Of course! Anyone that does sculptural work, like for example Philip Tracey, the milliner or Alexander McQueen, inspires me. Even certain photographers do. But this is non-direct inspiration, it happens without knowing what kind of influence they have on me. When it comes to direct references I like to play with the contemporary. Recently I have been to an exhibition of Grayson Perry’s works at the British Museum and this is where I came up with my next project: I’m going to make Faberge eggs styled like Grayson Perry’s ceramics.

Do you enjoy food outside from work?
I love any food that is special. But when I’ve spent the whole day experimenting in a kitchen and the moment comes to prepare dinner, I’ll probably let someone else do it! What I really enjoy is going out for dinner. Lately I have been to several pop up restaurants, they come up all the time. I just went to a restaurant where a friend who is a set designer set the tables on the ceiling. In this case it’s not all about food, but also about entertainment and getting the customer involved.

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