Kate knew she always wanted to be in fashion and has been sewing ever since she was 14 years old. From gloves to bags and eventually party dresses. At the time she was unsure that fashion could only be a hobby, she went on to study journalism and soon to realise her passion was for design and turned her hobby into a career and studied fashion design at RMIT . Being inspired by the world around her, including the most delicate pieces of lace and embroidery. Taking her creative journey of her own with her passion of lingerie beyond just an idea. Showing practice makes perfect, but industry based knowledge is the golden key.
Why and how I started KAT
I studied fashion design and technology at RMIT in Brunswick for three years. It was the most intense, but amazing course; I learnt so much during my time there.
During the course, we did a unit on lingerie and I instantly fell in love with the concept. For my final assessment, I made a bodysuit, a padded bra and a bralette and it marked really well. With that positive feedback, I started making bralettes at home and posting them on Instagram, and it all sort of grew from there. People started to buy them, and it was really hard to keep up with the demand, as I was hand making everything by myself.
I sort of gave KAT a break and moved to Byron for my first industry job in Menswear design and production. It was from there I learnt the ins and outs of production and manufacturing offshore so I applied everything I had learnt from my first industry job to my own business. This is when I started manufacturing my designs over in China and it's been crazy, but so much fun ever since.
When designing a collection, how do you feel emotionally when creating, and what goes through your mind as a creative?
I am a lover of fine, beautiful fabrics. I can get so inspired by the tiniest bit of vintage lace or a beautiful lace trim so I always start my collection looking at fabrications.
As a creative some weird things excite me. Just recently I went through a basket of laces and ribbons I inherited when my great Aunt passed away and wow was she an amazing embroider- all by hand! Tiny little-embroidered swans, delicate bluebird and the most intricate mini doilies you’ve ever seen. Finding treasures like these really spark the inspiration and my designs sort of evolve from there.
What inspires you?
It’s really important to stay inspired, and hard sometimes to avoid all the other lingerie brands on Instagram and Pinterest. I prefer to stay away from areas like that for research and stick to fabrics and trims as they are the most important part of each design. I get really inspired by beautiful interiors, architecture and, of course, gorgeous fabrics.
Travelling is a big one- I went to India for a few months just after I started KAT and it was actually amazing how inspired I felt. The fabrics over there are gorgeous and a lot were embroidered so it was absolute heaven for me, I had my sketchbook in hand constantly!
What is the process of getting your lingerie manufactured?
I learnt proper sewing techniques at University, (however this does not mean I am good at sewing by any means haha. I am so messy! )
But what I do is sew the samples here in Australia myself, sourcing fabrics from local fabric stores around Melbourne. Then I send my samples and swatches to my factory in China along with the garment specs listing measurements, colours, clasps and sketches. The factory then replicates my sample for me exactly as I’ve informed them, but much neater and from there they send them back to me for approval. If necessary I make any changes and we go from there!
The funny thing about China is though you never know what you’ll get back, so sometimes it might take a couple of tries to get it how you pictured but that’s all part of the process.
What is the process that you are most passionate about, is it the final product or creating a new collection?
I am most passionate about research and designing the new range- which actually is the job I get to spend the least amount of time doing! Time is mostly spent on production, marketing, sales etc.
But I cannot deny that when the new samples come in its super exciting! You get to see your designs really come to life, and the factory finishes the sewing so beautifully, something I could never achieve on my own.
By the time a style is available for sale I am already designing and sampling the next range so I sort of forget about the current styles. It’s so lovely to see the positive feedback from customers and Instagram followers and it reminds me that I should be proud of the pieces I’ve produced so far.
What's next for your label?
I am so excited!! I only quit my full-time job in January 2016 to run KAT full time. (It's been exactly a year now since I launched, and I was excited to see that I can do this full time now, so I thought I better start taking it seriously!)
Anyway, this means I have all my time dedicated to KAT, so you’ll be seeing a lot more new designs, more matching sets, more one-off exclusive pieces and at some point I will be moving into other pieces like nighties and came too.
I’ll be going to China later this year on a big sourcing trip so I’ll be working with more intricate and unique pieces that you hopefully haven’t seen all over the market yet. Exciting things to come so stay tuned :)
I never leave the home with out my…
iPhone (Instagram never sleeps!)
If i could go on a holiday right now i'd go to…
Tote or Clutch?
Heels or Flats?
Sucker for cookies and cream ice-cream!
Special thanks to Kate xxx
Follow her instagram: kat_thelabel